It happens to the best of us: you’ve eaten right and exercised hard for weeks, and then one slice of cake at a party sends you into a downward spiral of eating too much and exercising too little.
It’s common to experience temporary relapses back to unhealthy ways of eating and lack of exercise, especially while a healthy, active lifestyle is still new.
But what triggers these relapses? Finding out the answer to this question will equip you to avoid future relapses altogether.
Anatomy of a Trigger Food
Trigger foods come in all flavors and sizes, but nearly all contain one (or all) of the Big Three. 1) Salt, 2) Sugar, or 3) Fat.
Processed foods are the most powerful triggers. These foods are literally made with your brain chemistry in mind, factoring in the addictive qualities of salt, sugar and fat. When the desire for sweets feels unbearable your body is literally craving more.
That’s why one slice of cake can lead to an entire weekend binge.
To avoid a relapse, steer clear of packaged foods that are high in salt, sugar and fat. See the Wholesome Cravings tip below for snacks to eat when cravings strike.
When you do fall victim to a trigger food, use the following 3 steps to get right back on your feet, and back to eating and exercising right.
1. Draw a line in the sand. Decide here and now that your relapse is over. Stop the self-destructive behavior and enlist the support from the important people in your life.
2. Remove the triggers from your home. Clean out the pantry, the freezer and the stash under your bed. Get these unhealthy foods out of your home and out of your way. See these items for what they really are—obstacles that prevent you from getting what you really want out of life.
3. Refocus your goals. Why were you eating healthy and exercising in the first place? Because you have goals. You have a vision of the healthy, fit body that you’re working to achieve. Focus your mind on your most desired goals and unleash your inner work ethic and determination.
I believe that it’s time for you to reap all the benefits of a fit and active lifestyle.