My previous post was about why triggers don’t cause your overeating. I explained that there are potentially thousands if not millions of triggers – and you would drive yourself nuts if you tried to isolate and resolve each one. It would keep you trapped in thinking about food and your body forever.
In this post, however, I want to propose another reason why triggers aren’t really important when it comes to managing your eating in a more empowered way.
You see, triggers are all in the past (bar one, which I talked about in the previous post – the urge itself). Even if it’s a thought, like ‘That chocolate brownie looks nice.’ That thought, which passed through just a second ago, is already in the past. But your urge to eat is in the present!
And this is the gift that is beyond your triggers: it’s the present. It’s this moment, right now. This experience; this breath; this feeling that can be felt in your body: whether it’s an urge to eat when you’re not hungry, or an emotion. The present is what’s real.
When you can cultivate mindful awareness and develop your capacity to be the Witness or Observer of your own experience, it really doesn’t matter what the triggers are.
Because when you’re being present, you are aware, for example, that:
- you’re feeling sad, angry, hurt, or anything else
- you are experiencing an urge to eat, even though you’re not hungry
- your thoughts are ‘she’s a narcissistic cow,’ ‘I can’t cope,’ ‘this isn’t fair,’ or ‘Oh yes, there are cupcakes in the tin!’
That is all the information you need.
When you can identify what you are experiencing in the moment, you have some say over how you will respond. For example, you can:
- accept the feeling of sadness, anger, hurt, or anything else, knowing that it will pass.
- be with the urge to eat, if you’re not hungry.
- challenge your thoughts. At the very least, you can remind yourself that just because you thought it, does not make it true, and it does not mean you need to act on it.
So is there a value in working with triggers?
I think so. In this next post, I address how we can use triggers to reconnect with ourselves.
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