How to overcome your triggers

Your Triggers and How to Overcome Them

Have you ever started a diet on a Monday morning? All ready to go, groceries in the fridge for the week. Gym clothes packed. But by 3:00pm that same Monday, you get confronted with a powerful craving? 

Now what?

Triggers for food cravings can come in many forms. 

People, places, times of day, and specific situations all tempt us to eat in large quantities, and present us with important choices to make. 

Listed below are a series of some of the most common craving triggers and 5 strategies for overcoming them.

Visual temptation at the grocery store

  • avoid certain sections like the bakery or the potato chip aisle 
  • write out an actual grocery list with only healthy items specified
  • order your groceries online where sights and smells will not tempt you
  • shop at health food stores that do not carry items that trigger intense cravings 
  • do your shopping right before work in the morning so you have less time to be tempted

Menu items at a restaurant

  • research the menu online and make healthy selections in advance 
  • confide in someone at the table beforehand about your plan to order healthy and get them to help you stay on track
  • go to restaurants with vegan and gluten-free options 
  • decline when asked if you would like to see the dessert menu
  • have a snack of vegetables before going out to eat so that you feel less hungry at the restaurant 
  • feel confident to ask for modifications to the dish you order to make it as healthy as possible for you

When on vacation

  • stay somewhere that offers your own kitchen so you can limit high-calorie hotel food
  • avoid room service and buffets 
  • take some time and identify the healthier food options in your hotel/resort/new destination
  • pack your luggage strategically to include healthy snacks 
  • visit local grocery stores and stock your room with healthy options


  • skip the dinner portion and only attend the reception
  • have a substantial, healthy snack before the wedding to induce fullness and prevent mindless eating
  • if the menu is not set, order protein and vegetable options
  • be sure to stay on the dance floor when the dessert table is unveiled 
  • vegetarian meal options are usually unhealthy (pasta, carbohydrates, etc.)

Emergency situations
(i.e. stuck at the hospital)

  • make a basic rule of no sugar or flour
  • avoid vending machines or carefully examine them for healthy options
  • only eat the protein in the middle of sandwiches
  • find the healthier menu items at food chains instead of ordering your regular choice
  • pack a meal in advance if you are aware that you will be confined to one location for a significant period of time

Dealing with family and friends who try to push food on you, i.e. “food pushers”

  • mentally prepare a script for these people in your life, and guide them to respect your decisions
  • the broken record approach works best with a short sentence prepared (i.e. “I’m too full, no thank you.”)
  • don’t feel the need to explain yourself 
  • never change your answer, even if the “food pusher” changes their tactic

Time of day

  • have an accountability buddy you can call at this time or plan a walk with 
  • join a community support group you can attend at this time 
  • take a class you’ve always wanted to
  • devote this time to chores that keep your hands busy (ironing, gardening, exercise, etc.)