Triggers and Medifast

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So, I posted a thread about how I cheated yesterday, and a lot of people responded (thanks) and the most prominant advice I saw was to figure out why triggered me into eating the off-plan food..

The problem with me is, and this has always been my issue, is that I really don't ever have a trigger for eating, especially this particular food. And I'll admit it - it was McDonald's. A friend of mine went through the drive-thru and instead of saying, "No, I'm fine, I have bars in my purse." I said, "What the hell," and got a cheeseburger and a small fri. Grant it, I could have done my usual Double-Cheeseburger Meal, biggie-sized, plus a snack-wrap, so at least that was a good thing..

But it wasn't about any emotion ... I just wanted it. It was just, right there - fast food in general has always been my downfall. The reason it became an issue wasn't entirely my fault (my previous living situation prevented me from being able to grocery shop and cook in my own home nothing abusive or anything like that, just some circumstances) ... so I began to eat out a lot, and since I'm also on a budget, fast food was the answer. Now, I CAN shop and cook and all that jazz, but because my tastes for fast-food have been so developed over the last ...

It's a very easy slip up. Chips, candy, cookies, cake, fried chicken, ice cream, etc, I can take or leave. But I'm ALWAYS down for some fast food. But again, I don't think it stretches any deeper than that..

I wish I COULD identify myself as an emotional eater. Or as someone who confuses huger pains for other things. But with me - I just FEEL like eating it..

Is anyone else like this? How did you figure out your "trigger" if it's as simple as "I just feel like it" then I'm scared it's going to be an impossible trigger to overcome :/..

Comments (19)

It may be that there isn't an emotional trigger for you. It may be may be that the stimulus of the food was in front of you, etc.

For me, I am an emotional eater, so I can see the triggers coming. However, I think you also saw something there too. It's fast food. That's some good information. It allows you to plan ahead. You can have a whole bag of tricks ready the next time a friend goes through the drive thru.

When someone offers me fast food...what will my response be? What will my 2nd response be? Etc. It can get you already mentally prepared to win that battle the next time Mickey D's is looking you in the face.

I'll tell you, it gets easier. Pizza is my food. At first, I knew I couldn't be around it and be expected to NOT eat it. Pfft! So, maybe it might be asking your friends and loved ones not to go to fast food places with you in the car for a little bit. I had a friend offer for me to go with them to lunch at the Pizza Hut Buffet. (Ugh!) They had a salad bar...I could stay OP.

So, I said no. They pressed. I said no again. And finally, I just had to be bluntly honest and say I couldn't go there and not eat pizza...and I needed to not eat pizza. Now? 3 years later? I can go to that buffet no problem and not eat pizza.

Your habit becomes to not eat it, etc.

So, my only advice is to not worry so much about the trigger. For like and want fast food. For right now, it's as simple as that. So, make a plan...a concrete specific plan the next time fast food is put in front of that pretty face of yours!.



Comment #1

I totally can relate to this. The first month I was on Medifast I had to stop myself from swinging by drive-thrus when I was hungry or ordering off plan stuff with friends - never b/c I wanted it, but b/c it was so habitual. i've been a drive-thru person most of my adult life, so it's like second nature.

Granted, in the past I have had emotional eating situations where I was sad and used food to numb my feelings. but the biggest challenge for me on Medifast has been to create NEW habits. Now mixing up a Medifast capp and coffee is my habit on the way out the door to work, not swinging by Dunkin Donuts..

Hope that makes sense. ;0..

Comment #2

<<shelley's post>>.

I think we posted at the same time! B/c then I would've just said..."What Shelley said!" Haha!..

Comment #3

It's all about fast food for me too! Doesn't matter if I'm full if I drive by a fast food place all I can think about is how it taste. I am tempted daily to go thru the drive thru and grab something quick. I've lived a lot of time having to grab something cheap and quick and have aquired a taste for fast food. I don't crave sweets, I don't buy or binge on cookies and chips. My downfall is fast food. I could go to one and immediately drive over to another. I wish I could live someplace that doesn't have fast food!..

Comment #4

I am not, nor have I ever been, an emotional eater, but certain white starchy foods lead me to crave, so they are my trigers. Those fries and that hamburger bun would have definately sent me on a craving run, even after all these years in maintenance. My triggers have never changed,,i can never ever enjoy bunches of 'whtite' carbs. You will figure this out as you go, just focus on how you feel after eating certain things. Did they satisfy?? Or did it only leave you wanting more of the same in a few hours?..

Comment #5

Don't wish that! According to Dr. A's Habits of Health, emotional eaters have it much harder than situational eaters. Here's a quote from page 25 of the book:.

Researchers at the Miriam Hospital's Weight Control and Diabetes Research Center compared a group of overweight individuals who reported eating due to internal factors (such as lonliness, for self-comfort, or as a reward) to those motivated to eat for external factors (such as a party or holiday gathering). The so-called emotional eaters lost less weight over time and experienced more weight regain.

So, if I am reading this correctly, it will be easier for you to learn to resist that it will be for the emotional eater. As others have said, all you need is strategy...a plan...

Comment #6

And this....


I am your constant companion..

I am your greatest helper or heaviest burden..

I will push you onward or drag you down to failure..

I am completely at your command..

Half the things you do might just as well be turned over to me,.

And I will be able to do them quickly and correctly..

I am easily managed-you must merely be firm with me..

Show me exactly how you want something done,.

And after a few lessons I will do it automatically..

I am the servant of all great people and, alas,.

Of all failures, as well..

Those who are great, I have made great..

Those who are failures, I have made failures..

I am not a machine, though I work.

With all the precision of a machine.

Plus the intelligence of a person..

You may run me for profit or run me for ruin-.

It makes no difference to me..

Take me, train me, be firm with me,.

And I will place the world at your feet..

Be easy with me and I will destroy you..

Who am I? I am HABIT!.

Author Unknown..

Comment #7

I'll toss out some suggestions and see if anything sticks..


Maybe there are some lingering memories of that situation, either good or bad, that you're trying to work through? When you think back to that time and eating fast food, what emotions come up? Did you feel deprived? Did you feel special? Did you feel frustrated, and fast food was a comfort?.

One reason I would eat fast food is because it was, well, fast. As with take-out, I didn't have to prepare it. when I thought about it, I realized that it sort of made me feel taken care of because I wasn't being taken care of in other areas of my life..

Did you maybe want it because your friend was having it? To feel like you're not different or that you're not being deprived or that you're not being social?.

What about writing a letter to yourself and then answering yourself? Dear Self, I'm trying to eat healthy, but you want fast food when you know it's really unhealthy. Why do you do that? Write down whatever comes to mind after that, as if you're writing a response to a good friend, and keep writing for at least 10 minutes. Just let yourself write. It may sound goofy, but it has been a helpful technique to gain insight into motivations...

Comment #8

IMHO: Okay, but at some level doesn't it go back to emotions? Bad habits are one thing but if you are willing to value the momentary gratification of eating junk food over how much you value being at a healthy weight aren't you making an emotional decision? Even in that second you make a choice. I certainly don't think there has to be some big life event in your past that needs to be uncovered and dissected and solved in some way. I do think you have to choose to replace the bad habit and you have to accept that you have to choose it. Maybe I am just thinking out loud about what I know and feel but we live in a time and place of food abundance with corporations who have mastered over coming our common sense with smells and tastes that cause us to overeat against our better judgement no one canjust eat what he or she wants to eat without the danger of gaining weight...

Comment #9

Feeling thinner is a trigger for me!.

Whenever I am feeling thinner I start feeling really happy. I start feeling good about myself and more playful and carefree..

Well, need I say more??..

Comment #10

I have lots of trigger foods... I am not really an emotional eater.... when I get stressed I do not eat more than other times. I am more of a person that always celebrated with food... my childhood was like that... food was around ALL of the time for every reason.

And I do not believe I ever had a lunch without a Little Debbie... and my snack choices were almost always junk food... and so from an early age my habit began... and many kids did not gain weight because of this, but I did. And my mom never made a single batch of chocolate chip cookies...

And I am not saying that I am fat because of her, but I am not exactly skinny because of her either. So.... as a young adult I tried to change habits and was semi-successful.... but now that I have my own family and I just feel ready... I am doing this and changing this for me...

They are already eating so differently because of the choices I am making for them. They still get their supply of junkies... but I am changing slowly.... and so far, no complaints. =).

And as far as triggers go... these are mine........ pizza, ranch doritos, anything with peanut butter. Not had a bite of any one of those in 5 weeks! Living without them is better for me... but I am hoping to to be able to eat them again... not much of them...

Best wishes to everyone Sara..

Comment #11

Like you said Sam at that point, it wasn't a trigger, it was a decision....

Today I am 175 Days OP or as I refer to it Food Sobriety Day 175 and 38 lbs lost...!!.

At this point, I don't have triggers...we are always a decision away from saying.....

"What the heck...".

Wow...that is sobering!!..

Comment #12

Another thought.... with Thanksgiving coming up, I will travel to my brother's house to be with family...he is an awesome cook / griller / bbq...I can have the Lean he cooks, but I will have to be strong and not get into all the other stuff he cooks!! I don't want to give up my 175 days OP I have earned and the 38 lbs I hae lost... if I say "What the Heck.." I don't know if one of the Bites, Licks, and Tastes will become THE trigger that sends me down the drain...cause that is what happens to me...once I get started I'm afraid I will not be able to stop... I am so close to goal that any food Off Plan scares me!!.

Just my thoughts......

Comment #13

I was actually just thinking about my love for certain fast food today and what I could do differently in the future (when on maintenance) that would hinder me. The answer I came up with was to keep my purse/wallet in the trunk No ready money no fast food lines!!!.

As far as triggers don't know for sure just know I ate because food tasted good and it numbed me...

Comment #14

Keep an open mind and keep observing yourself. I have learned profound things about myself and my relationship with food every month on this journey. Asking the questions and finding your truth will get you halfway to changing your patterns!..

Comment #15

I read something recently that said that when we have adopted a diet heavy in salt, sugar and fat, our brains become wired to seek foods heavy with those things. They produce feel good hormones and our brains like that. So, when we are exposed to visual or smell stimuli surrounding those foods, our brains WANT them. When we eat them, we have reinforced our brain's wanting more and more and more. We respond as addicts. I imagine that is why Medifast works so well when it is followed. We withdraw those foods from our diets and help our brain rewire...

Comment #16

Thank you all for your kind words - they mean a lot and gave me a lot of things to think about, and I'm very glad I'm not alone..

I'm afraid I'm too exhausted to write a better post right now, but I wanted to give a quick thank you before bed. LOVE YOU ALL!..

Comment #17

As for triggers, everything is a trigger for me. Any of you have Bruster's ice cream in your area? The staff wears these "treat yourself" t-shirts that are a little too close to home in regards to my own attitudes towards food..

Had a bad day? Treat yourself!.

Had a good day? Treat yourself!.

On your period? Treat yourself!.

Colleague snapped at you? Treat yourself!.

It's the weekend! Treat yourself!.

Tired? Treat yourself!.

Got the laundry done? Treat yourself!.

... to infinity and beyond! .....

Comment #18

I think your trigger is Fast Food. And also habit.

Find something else there (salad or for me, a big icy diet coke) that you love and make that your "treat" when you go to a fast food place.

I totally agree with many of the things the previous posters said. Fast food places pipe those yummy smells out to draw people in. It works! Just like it worked on you. I was leaving the grocery store the other night and there was a wonderful smell coming from the chinese place next door. Right at dinner time. My 8 year old son said "what is that yummy chicken smell?! I want some!" He's EIGHT YEARS OLD.

It's really hard to combat that experience when you're with a friend. Now that you know that is a trigger for you, maybe tell the friend that you can't go to McD's unless she makes sure you don't go off plan!.



Comment #19

This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.


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