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Season 46 Triggers & Red Light Foods

Monday, January 04, 2021

Each season I do this plan because my triggers change. I am easily triggered in certain situations - at night when I can't sleep, when there is a dessert or candy in my home, when there are naughty food in the pantry or freezer.

Primary Trigger Situation - when I can't sleep I feel frustrated and I wander downstairs alone (my dog is sleeping). I look in the pantry, fridge, and freezer - peanut butter, jam, cheese slice, bread, toast, candy/chocolate, cheez whiz, cereal and milk, cookies, ice cream and a cone, etc. Other than toast I don't heat food. As I see this I realize it usually carbs. I usually don't have sweets on hand, but after Christmas yes there are some. I will watch something on TV, nothing too special, but watching TV would be boring without food and the food is soothing. I can easily eat between 500 - 700 calories, more than a meal!

This happens about once a week. I don't want to be awake, I want to be sleeping, I am tired, and I can't think of anything else I want to do. In that moment I have no self control, and I even mentally calculate the calories I am eating. I know I am not truly hungry, just soothing myself because I can't sleep. With a regular meal I wouldn't be eating these food combinations, or this many calories. My meals are usually 300 - 500 calories.

Of course I know better, but in the moment I go against my true desire to lose weight and be healthier. It's a compulsion, in the moment I have to do it and can't stop myself. I tell myself don't reward yourself with food for staying up late. To 'punish myself' I brush my teeth after before going back to bed.

How can you better handle the situations to avoid the triggers and not binge or eat more than you should?

I have a problem with getting to sleep and staying asleep. I want to have a good sleep and I hate tossing and turning, or waking during the night.

My new food rule and replacement behaviors. I always go to sleep listening to an audiobook. When I wake up 1) I will lay in bed and listen to my audiobook or 2) will watch YouTube on my phone or 3) go into the guest room and get into a cold bed, curl up, shiver a bit and go to sleep or read the news. I consider it a victory if I stay in bed, even if I don't have a good sleep.

I do not want to go downstairs during the night, it triggers me to eat too many calories. This challenge when I can't sleep at night I will NOT reward myself with food for being up late. I will acknowledge that I am not truly hungry, but want to eat for a distraction.

I would like to add a new habit. Sometime soon my activity room will be repurposed and maybe I could go in there and watch TV, no food. I never feel like 'doing something' in the middle of the night.

I take sleep medications but it does not guarantee that I won't wake up or have trouble falling a sleep.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    When I wake up with but I listen to Christian Praise music. Something that soothes my chaotic thoughts and gives me something positive to focus on.

    emoticon Lynn, you always share such great insight! Thank You!
    53 days ago
    I have issues sleeping as well. I fall asleep easily, but do not stay asleep. I wake usually due to aches and pains or anxiety. I now take a mild anxiety pill and it has helped a lot. I don't get up to eat, never have done that, but I have come out to the living room to read or play on my phone and drink a warm drink...if it is close enough to wake up (2 hours or less) I will enjoy a cup of coffee.
    53 days ago
    Hmmmm for me it helps to not eat anything after 10, but I HAVE to have something before 10 or else, Oh Lynn, I could eat an ENTIRE GROCERY STORE Only on the JUNK FOOD stuff!!

    I had noticed I had started to get up more at night to pee, so I cut back on the water so heavily at night and try to ,,,, wee (LOL PUN INTENDED!) myself off water after 8 at night. Oh I can have some, but not more than 2 glasses. I'll be UP!!

    I've been taking a relaxation/destress class on ZOOM on Mondays and on Weds,, hey THANKS!! I FINALLY joined a live Laughter Yoga class!! These are helping so much to know how to turn off my mind. Normally my mind FLIES at a ZILLION Miles an hour!! GREAT for getting stuff done, not for sleeping. Also on youtube there a GREAT Video from the Honest Guys Fall Asleep in Under 20 Minutes - Guided Sleep, Insomnia,, Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hky

    I just do the nose breathing exactly as they say and POOF I am 99% of the time RIGHT back to sleep.
    54 days ago
    best thing i did was remove my phone from the bedroom , If i wake up no tv no walking around. I either recite the rosary or think about a book i want to write someday , that usually works for me Hugs sorry you are having such trouble .
    54 days ago
  • SPICY23
    emoticon This is a good plan. I think a lot of us take this approach to the obstacles we encounter: think it through, come up with a potential plan/response and give it a try. Adjust as needed.

    Peace and Care
    54 days ago
    54 days ago
    I like the idea of the audio book! And being in a cold bed puts me to sleep, too! A pile of blanket on me, cold bed, audio book . . . that would work!

    HUGS and good luck.
    54 days ago
    I was doing pretty good not eating at night but lately it has been so cold in the house I make hot tea and if I make tea I need a cookie but one cookie won't do so that leads to two or maybe three and......on and on.
    Good idea having a plan to avoid going downstairs. emoticon
    54 days ago
  • KATIE5668
    Good insights ..you will get this figured out. Each of us must stumble thru and keep trying till we find what works for us. Indeed a cup of mint tea and a zone bar that I nibble on are often my "night time snacks".
    You have done so well and I know you will continue to move on that path!
    54 days ago
    My food trigger is around 10 o'clock when I'm watching my favorite show on TV. I just have to have that bag of Lays potato chips on the table so I can snack. They say dark chocolate is good for you, so instead of eating chips, I will eat a small piece of dark chocolate which should curb my appetite for chips.
    54 days ago
    Waking up or not getting to sleep can be a problem. I've used reading and Chamomile tea mainly but can also turn to listening to podcasts with my headphones to help lull me to sleep. I always headed for the whole wheat crackers to go with my tea, because if I'm awake at night I'm often hungry too, but could easily overindulge on them. Now if I'm hungry I have a protein bar (180 or 200 calories) and eat it slowly and that controls the calorie count and usually satisfies my hunger allowing me to return to sleep.
    Good luck with your plan!
    54 days ago
  • LINDA!
    I am happy to say that I am with the 5% challenge. Food triggers are often difficult for me to figure out. However, I know that if I have a lot of carbs, I crave more food. Believe me, I really LOVE carbs. I stop eating by 7pm (normally before 5pm. It just gives me a cut-off that I focus on daily. I know how tough this is.
    54 days ago
    I have the same trouble if I do any sort of exercise after 6pm., they always say that exercise in the evening can cause a bad night of sleep.
    54 days ago
    That is a tough one! I have trouble getting and staying asleep also. I do melatonin and a half sleep aid but drink chamomile tea w/cranberry juice to quiet my muscles. Otherwise, I'm restless and toss and turn. I already get up a lot to pee so the tea doesn't add to the number of trips, just quantity.

    Carbs is my downfall also and try not to have pasta and chips in the apartment. I do allow myself a sliver of non-dairy cheese if I have the munchies. (Nothing wrong with toast and a dab of PB--just leave out the jelly.)
    Part of it is breaking the habit of what you're eating now. Find some substitutes that you like and then get back to bed.

    It may take a while to find what works for you--getting to sleep and not eating in the middle of the night.

    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    54 days ago
  • WILDKAT781
    54 days ago
    I have the same problem. Right now it is not an issue because my medication changed in November and I am sleeping good almost every night because of that. But I know that side effect will wear off eventually and I will be a less-than-good sleeper again. I do the same thing-- stay in bed and listen to music on Pandora or an audio book until I drop off. DO NOT GET UP AT ALL. I will eat if I get up, usually because I am so tired I make bad choices. I live in a small house, so I only have one TV in the living room so getting up and watching it isn't an option. If I hit 4 am with no sleep, I simply get up and start my day with a walk and breakfast.
    54 days ago
    So interesting how different people have such different triggers. I have sleep issues too, but they don’t trigger eating. My eating triggers are during the day....boredom, work stress, frustration, etc.

    Keep working on strategies for distraction if you wake. For me, usually getting out of bed for a little while, having a small glass of water and reading something on the dull side work to get me sleepy enough to return to bed.
    54 days ago
    Good luck with your sleep problem.
    54 days ago
    Have you tried a white noise machine?
    54 days ago
    There is research that using electronics in bed disrupt your sleep. Have you tried listening to meditation music or nature sounds? I go to bed every night listening to nature sounds, it's soothing and my mind knows that when I hear that, it is time to sleep.

    Writing before bed to get all your thoughts, feelings, worries and to dos before bed helps, and/or when you wake up try writing with paper and pen, not typing. Don't judge what you write, just write grammar doesn't matter, it's getting it out of your head that does.

    I hope you find what works for you soon and that you sleep well.
    54 days ago
    I need to try the staying upstairs trick. Downstairs holds the biscuits and sweets. May eve report back at the weekend on whether I’ve succeeded
    54 days ago
    I too, have difficulty staying asleep at night. Since I’ve retired, it’s not been as big an issue...I just get up, make my coffee, and get on my tablet. I know I can take a nap later in the day if I get tired. Have you tried drinking something warm when you can’t sleep? My cravings typically go away w coffee or a cup of tea. Identifying your triggers is a step in the right direction!
    54 days ago
    I have problems in the afternoon, and so I don’t keep any sweets around. I hate the feeling of being awake in the middle of the night and not being able to go back to sleep.
    54 days ago
  • LIS193
    54 days ago
  • JIBBIE49
    I had night cravings that ruined my weight loss efforts, but once I got on Metformin and a weekly shot of Bydureon, I dropped 50# and have no cravings to deal with. My blood sugar is a 100 and that helps me.
    54 days ago

    Comment edited on: 1/4/2021 1:04:06 AM
    It's so important to figure out your food triggers! I don't eat in the evenings (I wasn't allowed to growing up and that habit stuck!) but I graze in the afternoons when I'm bored... I picked up crocheting last year and that helps me resist!
    54 days ago
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