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

Do you eat certain foods because they give you a feeling of euphoria? Do you have a certain food item in which you indulge when you feel sorry for yourself? Are there certain foods you like to eat only when you are alone? Finally, are there certain foods that once you start eating them, it is almost impossible to stop?

These could be your substance triggers. A trigger is any person, place, thing, situation — or food that has a tendency to cause one to overeat.

Some people consider their substance triggers to be "comfort foods." When something emotional is going on and they seek comfort, they run to their substance triggers for their solution.

I want to talk about this "comfort" for a moment. First of all, food is not capable of rendering comfort. In fact, if you are to indulge in any food for the sake of receiving comfort, you will be less than comforted after consuming vast quantities of it.

Why? Because if you started off feeling emotionally vulnerable and needing comfort, then what you really needed was to talk with a loved one, to receive a hug from someone, to write in your journal or simply to go to bed after a rough day.

But what you did instead of directly meeting your needs was to eat your substance triggers, with the unconscious presumption that this food was going to relieve your emotional pain. As a result, you got overly full and passed out from an overburdened digestive system.

You felt worse after indulging. You felt fat. You had once again deviated from your goal to take better care of your body. And worse yet, you reinforced an unhealthy, unwanted behavioral pattern in your life.

How do we break this cycle? How do we stop indulging in our substance triggers and start to really meet our needs? One who doesn't understand might say, "Just stop eating that thing!" But one who does understand knows just how difficult it is to break this unhealthy pattern.

If you know what your substance triggers are, do you want to rid yourself of them and no longer be a slave to them? Do you want to recapture control over your life and not let any kind of food control you? Can you imagine what this freedom would feel like?

It won't do you any good to rely on circumstance or luck to see progress here. You are going to be the source of your own success in this matter. You are going to have to choose each meal exactly how and what you will and will not eat. And you are going to have to plan how this might be done each day.

Most people who struggle with their weight don't ever know about their substance triggers. They go through life confused as to why they can't seem to get control over the food and their weight denying any emotional connection to their excess weight.

It is time to be catapulted into the next dimension of life. Take control over those things you are able to take control over and experience the freedom you long to have. Make the decision now, and stick with it. If you do, then weight loss is in your future. Next time, we will talk about situational triggers.