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

How do you react to sudden, unexpected events in your life? For some individuals, these events — whether good or bad can trigger an impulse in us to eat. A trigger is any person, place, thing, situation or food that has a tendency to cause one to overeat.

For example, if your boss gave you an unexpected bad review, you could take that home with you and overeat because of it, not even realizing why you are indulging. Or maybe you got stuck in a traffic jam and were late for an important meeting.

The frustration with this has the potential to stay with us all day, unless we have tools to deal with these types of frustrations. Or what if you had a fight with your spouse that morning, or experienced any other unexpected unpleasant situation out of our control? Is the food a stress-reliever for you in any of these situations?

Unexpected positive events also have the potential to drive some to overindulge: a huge surprise bonus at the end of the year, a promotion or an income spike after a long financial drought, or perhaps even the relief that comes from good news that we have been patiently waiting for.

When we are caught off-guard with unexpected events and respond by abusing food using it as if it were a drug to calm us then this is a circumstantial trigger.

If you believe you are a victim of a circumstantial trigger, then take a moment to list one or more that you have had recently, especially the one(s) that you ate over. You may be surprised to find that you abuse the food more than you realize.

Listing these triggers will become red flags for you to recognize, so that in the future, you can use healthier tools to avoid getting into trouble with food. You will be on you way toward permanent weight loss.

To summarize this four-part series, triggers can cause overeating of specific foods (substance triggers that cause cravings) or any type of foods. In addition, abusing the food as a result of a trigger can be more of a behavioral issue rather than a substance one or, it can be both, depending on what food is consumed. In either case, if we are prone to reacting to life by overeating, then what we really need to do here is recognize our emotion preceding the first bite and then deal with the situation differently.

If you are prone to any triggers, then make an honest effort to become aware of the persons, places, things or foods that trigger you. This will be your first phase in overcoming the tendency to eat over them.

Next, utilize behavioral tools to replace your unhealthy tendencies. It may be difficult at first to break these patterns, but you will feel empowered as you see progress, knowing you are fully equipped to handle any situation that comes your way.