When it comes to trigger foods, everyone has their own. There is never any hesitation when I’m asked that question. For me, it’s pistachio nuts. The difference between a trigger food and one that you simply like a lot is that, with a trigger food, it ’ s too tough to eat just a little. As most people describe it, “Once I start eating, I can’t stop.” If c03.indd 41 10/22/09 10:13:36 AM 42 The Real You Diet it ’ s so easy to identify your trigger foods, why is it so hard to avoid them?
Because we don’t establish substitutes for these foods, as a compromise. We think of these foods as all or nothing. Step one is easy: recognize your trigger foods. Step two is the challenge: fi nd substitutes that provide the same emotional support, with fewer calories and less temptation to overeat them. Forget about whether that temptation is due to behavior (yes!) or biology (no!), and just learn to manage it.
Remember that you’re not a better person because you can conquer your food triggers. Sometimes you just need to avoid your potential triggers. You can revisit these foods periodically, to see if you’ve developed better strategies for control. All you need is to have one alternative to satisfy, and to know which other options need to be avoided. Using myself as an example, with pistachio nuts being my personal trigger, I’ve found that buying the single – serve 120 – calorie pack of pistachios in their shells works for me.
I only found this solution recently, after months (years?) of struggling, when the individual packs became available. I can visualize the whole portion in its lovely package, and I can eat the whole thing. On the other hand, I do recognize that I must avoid pistachios in bulk baskets — I feel like diving head – first into the giant displays sometimes found in supermarkets — large bags, or the worst for me, already shelled, ready – to – eat kernels.