This is the third article of a four-part series on weight-loss triggers: Substance | Situational | Behavioral | Circumstantial

After a long, stressful day at work you arrive home and change clothes. You grab a sleeve of crackers, a slab of cheese and a knife, a family-sized bag of M&M's, fruit-and-nut trail mix and a diet drink. You bring them to the sofa, turn the TV on, plop down — and munch.

Before you know it, 10 p.m. has arrived, and there are no leftovers of those things you ate. On the way to bed, you think, "Wow, I ate a lot of food."

A trigger is any person, place, thing, situation or food that has a tendency to cause one to overeat. Behavioral triggers are behaviors that cause and encourage unconscious eating — eating without realizing how much is being consumed.

Behavioral triggers involve the act of eating with a specific kind of activity simultaneously. You can eat and eat, but not realize how much you are eating. You might not care either about how much you are eating. Your mind is elsewhere while eating. Hence, the amount you consume winds up being more than what you need.

Now sometimes, a person might want to engage in unconscious eating. This might be an escape or a stress reliever. But the problems begin when the weight piles on, and some decision must be made to deal with it.

Another type of behavioral trigger is doing computer work while eating, eating during a long business meeting where there is an endless supply of food or reading a book and eating at the same time.

If you engage in behavioral triggers, you have two choices:

  1. Continue on the way you have been going, continue to gain weight and stay in denial that there is a problem. Note here, that this is a decision — a decision to ignore the problem.
  2. Change the behavior in some way. You can cut back, you can change the food or the activity, or you can stop doing them together. However, if one attempts to stop the food, but continue the activity, there will be a void. There will still be that urge to eat while engaging in the activity. Something will have to replace the food.

Regardless what you change, you will notice that something is different at first, and there will be some discomfort. Move through the discomfort and know that it will dissipate with time.

The time has arrived to begin changing. Don't wait any longer. Visualize yourself the way you want to begin and start where you stand. If you fall, pick yourself up and begin again. You will make progress, slowly at first, and then it will gain momentum.