I’m having a moment of clarity and I want to be able to record it and sort through it. I’ve been thinking a lot about what a “trigger food” is.

When I first started out in Overeaters Anonymous for me a trigger food was a food that once I ate it would trigger a binge. After tasting it I wouldn’t be able to moderate my quantity and it would lead me to binge on both it as well as many many different foods. Once I identified them I quickly worked to eliminate them from my diet.

I’ve realize that now, 14 years later, my understanding of triggers foods has evolved. The straw that broke the camel’s back on this realization came from reading and responding to comments on yesterday’s post. Here I am talking about beans and nuts (things I love and have never thought of as unhealthy or a trigger food or binge food) and suddenly I can’t stop thinking about them.

I’ve just eaten breakfast and my stomach is full; I’m not hungry. But I’m imagining myself eating them and I’m sorely tempted to go to the cabinet and open a can of chickpeas and eat them straight out of the can. This is something I’ve done many times in my life and never batted an eye over.

I never considered that to be a binge because it never led to other foods, they are low fat and high protein so I thought of them as healthy, they are after all, just beans.

But I’m aware of the fact that I’m having to use willpower to not go eat them right now. Which is weird. Willpower is something I needed for pasta and bread and sugar not beans. But it’s only by force-ably changing my thoughts to work or my kids or a game or a book that I’m able to escape the call of them. (The peanut butter too.)

When I was on the Cruise Phase of the Dukan Diet, just low-carb veggies and protein I would get hungry and wonder what I had to eat on hand. Once I moved to the Consolidation Phase of the Dukan Diet I started thinking about what foods to eat and wondering if I was hungry enough to be allowed to eat.

Totally. Different.

So maybe this is my new “trigger”. Not something that once I eat it transforms me into an active food addict again. But something that once I start thinking about it requires my willpower kick in to steer clear of and not eat immediately. It’s unfamiliar, and a bit odd, but this new idea really resonates for me and  feels somehow right.

Trigger foods also seem to be foods that make me a little unstable. My emotional stability was fine for months and months and then leading up to Christmas and the weeks that have followed I have been decidedly more unbalanced. Not that much. Not like before. But enough that I haven’t felt comfortable and I haven’t liked it one bit. Of course, that corresponds perfectly to when I moved to consolidation and started slowly reintegrating “healthy” carbs.

It occurs to be that I went back to just protein and low-carb veggies on Wednesday after my higher weigh-in and in the days since I’ve been feeling markedly better. Back to the summer’s levels of emotional stability. Can it really be this simple? Is the answer really that straight forward?

On the one hand this feels like a relief. Stability = protein, low-carb veggies, and an occasional piece of fruit.

But, on the other hand it feels a bit sad. There really is a lot of food out there that I had wanted to be able eat again. Restaurants are far less interesting now.

But, being carb free makes me feel:

Emotionally balanced.

Anxiety free.

Accepting of my body.

Accepting of my feelings.

Confident in myself.

Comfortable in my own skin.

Beans and carbs can’t be worth giving those things up. They just can’t.