Thursday, 15 March 2012

Weight Loss Group: Triggers

My weight: last week 90kg; this week 90.6kg.

Firstly, I was going to get back to you with the group's response to the question posed last week: "What is the procedure for losing weight?"

What the group came up with was: "It's twofold. Find a supportive and educative group; and get a resource like the Calorie King website that we use to help you track your energy in and out."

All of group members agreed that the group support was the most important tool in weight loss. When I specifically asked: "What would be the first chapter in your best-selling weight loss book?" I was told they would all say don't read a book, go to a support group.

Now, on to tonight's topic: triggers.

Everyone who has ever had a problem with binge eating, will have trigger factors: those things that lead to the start of a binge. For many people it's stress, but it also be boredom, happiness, watching TV, almost anything you can think of.

I think I've overcome my big trigger: stress. I'd realised that I was over that when Mr Wonderful and I broke up, and I was able to look at a block of chocolate and decide I was not going to eat it.

I still have two other triggers: physical pain and fatigue.  Those explain my weight gain this week. Reducing my steroids has increased both my pain and my fatigue.  Why do both of these things have some sort of link in my mind with eating? Fatigue I guess makes some kind of sense - I get energy from food, I have no energy, therefore eating should help (but it doesn't.) Pain? My father had a cure-all for all kinds of pain when I was a kid - it was a Cherry Ripe. (If you're outside Australia, a Cherry Ripe is a heart attack wrapped in red foil - glace cherries and dessicated coconut in what I think is a condensed milk base, wrapped in a ton of rich dark chocolate.) I can't eat Cherry Ripes anymore, because they have lactose in them. But I still eat when I'm in pain.

I know why my triggers are triggers - what I still have to do is master the art of saying "no" and closing the fridge, just as I have done with stress.

As for the rest of the group? We did one session on stress not long ago.  This week, we're going to look at identifying what still may be triggers for all of us, and why they affect us.  And we're going to look at the art of saying "no".

Part of the art of saying "no" to trigger factors is to realise that there is no logical reason that food could help the situation. If I my shoulder, or my big toe, is hurting, no amount of food is going to stop it hurting. If I'm worried because a kid is late home, no amount of food will get them home any faster.

Another part of the art of saying "no" is to look at the situation we're in. Do you know it is possible to go to a movie theatre and not have popcorn and softdrink? I do it regularly now - but the first few times it felt very strange.

Sometimes our trigger is just habit. And habits can be changed - either just stopped, or substituted for something else. If you always have a big snack to relax when you get home from work, but are not actually hungry then, a piece of fruit or even a glass of mineral water will do just the same for you. The point isn't what you eat, it's that you sit down and relax at the end of the day. Alternately, you could go for a walk.

If you have a binge eating problem, what are your triggers? Perhaps there are creative ways you could defuse them.

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