Whether it’s ice cream, peanut butter, or french fries, we all have one – a trigger food that makes it almost impossible to stay on track. We generally try to avoid said food like the plague but when we are finally around it, we binge and feel super guilty afterwards (this is why I will never encourage *perfect* eating).
For so many years, this was me and almond butter, more specifically Barney Butter Smooth Almond Butter (if you haven’t tried it, you’re missing out). Whenever I had this $17 jar of almond butter around, I couldn’t stop eating it.
In college, I would go through the entire jar in a week. When I was stressed out, I’d pull out the almond butter and a spoon, sit on my bed, and binge. Of course, I would never mean to eat 1/3 cup of almond butter – I would always intend to have just one tablespoon – but it never worked out that way.
This almond butter was my trigger food.
The moment I tasted the salty goodness, I couldn’t stop. I’d eat more until I felt so guilty, I had to immediately wash and put away the spoon.
At some point, I just stopped buying the almond butter.
And that’s always our solution, isn’t it? We try to completely remove the trigger food from our environment. And that works…as long as you never have to be around the trigger food again.
Frankly, I think that’s a little unrealistic. What about when we’re visiting family and they have the food in their fridge? We’re grossly unprepared.
Instead, here’s my two step strategy to being triggered by your trigger food.
Eat protein and veggies at every meal
If we focus on taking in lots of protein and vegetables, we will fill ourselves up, leaving minimal room for processed treats. Protein, especially, will leave us feeling super satisfied for hours after our meals, and vegetables offer the micronutrients we need to be truly healthy.
-Egg whites + mushrooms + spinach
-Steak + roasted broccoli
–Mint chip protein shake
-Big ass salad with chicken (I share plenty of these over on Instagram)
Indulge in your trigger food daily
Instead of forcing ourselves to abstain from your trigger food, we’ve gotta make the food less triggering.
The goal here is to make the food available—rather than forbidden—at all times. This is central to #myconsciousindulgence framework: the idea that indulgence CAN be part of every single day, as long as we consciously choose it (learn exactly how to implement #myconsciousindulgence here). I believe that indulgence isn’t keeping us from reaching our goals but UNconscious indulgence can be the reason for our plateaus. When we indulge without being mindful/even thinking about it, we end up eating or drinking so much more.
So, instead of restricting myself, I consciously indulge every single day, regardless of if I’m in weight loss or maintenance mode. You’ll always see me indulging in something small (like a Lenny & Larry’s cookie, Clif Bar, or some chocolate covered almonds) each day, normally before bed.
With your conscious indulgence, I recommend saving it for the evening, because this helps maximize our willpower. Eating it after dark gives us something to look forward to whenever a craving hits. In fact, I save the majority of my carbohydrates for my last meal of the day. This helps me stay on track throughout the work day, because I’ve got some good things coming later!
How to implement
Starting today, I want all of us to pick to pick our conscious indulgences. Pick something that you’ll look forward to each day, and eat it daily for a week. Note your hunger, cravings, and food obsession level. Using this simple strategy will keeps us from over-indulging or binge eating when we’re around foods we enjoy. Real talk, I used to not be able to keep almond butter in the house. Then, I started having a small spoonful every day. Over time, this daily indulgence made almond butter way less stressful for me. I knew I could have just a little bit, whenever I wanted.
If you want to learn exactly how I’ve conquered my trigger foods and gotten 1000x more consistent, check out my #ConsistentNutrition Cheatsheet. I’m breaking down two of my best nutrition strategies to help us get more consistent without stressing about it. Grab all the details and get your copy here.