Triggers

Triggers in Eating Disorder RecoveryEating disorder triggers are important to identify. Have you identified what drives you to food-related behaviors? What have you done to avoid those triggers?

Triggers may suck you into the eating disorder and yet you may not even realize it yet. The eating disorder becomes such a part of us that we don’t always see what drives into behaviors more on one day than another.

Eating disorder triggers may be emotions such as fear or sadness. Feeling anxious or lonely could lead you to eating disorder behaviors. Perhaps spending time with certain people drives you to practice food-related behaviors in an attempt to cope with the relational conflict you feel with them. Things like clothes shopping, stress or eating with others can also trip you up. These are just some examples to help you examine your emotions, relationships and activities to find what triggers you.

It’s important to discuss these matters with your counselor or someone else in your support system. Identify your triggers, then make a plan to avoid them if that’s possible. When that isn’t possible, find ways to distract yourself from engaging in food-related behaviors. Make a list or write on note cards some things you can do instead of engaging in eating disorder behaviors. It will help to have a plan in place because when you’re in the moment, it’s hard to think of anything except for the food-related behavior you are drawn to at the time.

Even if a trigger gets the best of you, that doesn’t mean you can’t learn from the experience. A slip doesn’t mean you can’t recover. It just means there’s something more to learn that can strengthen you to move forward. The next time you face what tripped you up, you can face it stronger.

In time, you can also learn other ways to work through your emotions related to the triggers that you can’t avoid. You can get help with this by talking to your counselor or others in your support system. You may also want to pray and write in your journal.

Eating disorder triggers may be difficult to identify, to avoid and to overcome, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t possible. Working with your counselor, asking God to help you and learning healthy coping skills are all things that can keep you on track in your recovery. Put those triggers in their place; turn your back on them and walk away. They don’t deserve to keep you stuck in the eating disorder. You can break free of their influence.

By Laurie Glass