Cope with your eating triggers: Part 2

blogWritten by: Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Kim Feinstein, Tucson Medical Weight Loss’s Behavioral Weight Loss Specialist

The “5 D’s” of Coping with Triggers

1. Delay

As the intensity of a craving builds, it feels like it will last forever. However, research indicates a craving typically lasts for about 25-30 minutes before subsiding. So, before you give in to your craving, I encourage you to delay as long as possible. If 25-30 minutes seems like eternity, start with 5-minute intervals and work your way up to 30 minutes. It gets easier the more you practice this!

2. Distract

While you are delaying, it is important to distract yourself with something pleasurable other than food! Try to do something that evokes an opposite emotion from the one that is triggering you. Some examples include reading a book or magazine, playing an enjoyable game on your computer, tablet, or phone, calling a friend.

3. Distance

While you are “delaying” and “distracting”, it is best to distance yourself from any food source. This will help minimize the likelihood of giving into the craving.

4. Determine

If the craving is still intense and the previous “3 D’s” are not helping, I encourage you to determine, “How will eating make me feel in the LONG TERM?” We know that it will give you relief for only 20 minutes, before needing another “dose.” So ask yourself, “Is emotional eating in line with my goals?”  “Why is weight loss and weight management so important to me?” See if you can self-talk your way to success.

5. Decide

If all of the above D’s are still not helping and you must indulge in your craving, decide:

1.    How much am I going to eat? Will I eat the entire bag of chips? Or will I have some?

2.    Where am I going to eat the food? Am I going to eat it in my pantry, car, standing up, etc.? Or, am I going to eat at a table and enjoy the experience?

3.    How fast am I going to eat? Will I stuff the food in my mouth rapidly? Or, will I chew slowly and savor each bite?

4.    With what hand will I eat? I encourage you to eat with your non-dominant hand (i.e., if you are right-handed, eat with your left hand and visa versa). This will slow you down and prompt you to respond to your craving rather than react to it with old habits.

Give the “5 D’s” test a try! What do you have to lose?

*Individual results may vary. Seek medical advice before starting any service including a weight loss program or med spa treatment. Contact us to make sure this is the right solution for you.

Dr. Kim: Cope with your eating triggers: Part 1


Written by: Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Kim Feinstein, Tucson Medical Weight Loss’s Behavioral Weight Loss Specialist


The 1,2,3 method for coping with triggers:


1.    Recognize the trigger

2.    If possible, avoid or eliminate it

3.    If it’s not avoidable, adapt (change the way you respond)


1. Recognize: As previously mentioned, the first step to change your behavior is to recognize the trigger. Therefore, in order to create a new healthier habit you need to identify your personal triggers. What situations, places, senses, or emotions make you reach for the comfort of food? Make a comprehensive list so you can tackle them one by one.


2. Avoid or Eliminate: Next, look at your list and see what triggers you can eliminate or avoid. For example, if you struggle with social cues, can you move to a different room when someone is eating a tempting food? Or, are you able to spend time with people in ways that do not involve eating? If you struggle with sensory cues, are you able to have someone else prepare dinner? Can you avoid watching television commercials? Think of ways you can avoid or eliminate the cue.


3. Adapt: Unfortunately, cue elimination is not always possible, particularly with emotional eating. We cannot avoid or eliminate our feelings. As such, we can try adapting to the cue, which means changing the way we respond to it. So, when a powerful feeling arises (i.e., loneliness, boredom, sadness, anger, etc.) we need to find alternative behaviors to emotional eating. For example, if you are lonely, what other ways can you fill that void? Can you call a good friend or family member who makes you feel better? Do you have a pet that you can snuggle with? Think of alternatives to eating before the trigger occurs so you have a plan in place.


Below are some additional helpful alternatives to emotional eating:


TMWL_Stress Eating

*Individual results may vary. Seek medical advice before starting any service including a weight loss program or med spa treatment. Contact us to make sure this is the right solution for you.

Super charge your liver with these super detox foods


Your liver is one of the most vital organs in your body. It is responsible for cleansing the blood from all sorts of toxins and insults both from our poor diets and our environment.


Your blood is constantly pumping through your liver where toxins are eliminated and the blood is filtered and cleansed.


Our blood is fundamental to our health. When your blood is full of toxins you experience lower energy levels, more sickness and a decrease in your health and overall well-being. So for optimal health your liver needs to be performing in tip top shape! If you want to live a healthy life, you should work towards improving the condition of your liver.


Here are some foods you can add to your diet to enhance your liver for optimal performance:


Broccoli- studies have found that broccoli improves immune function, regulates blood pressure and enhances the liver and is also full of vitamins and minerals.


Grapefruit- it’s packed full with an enormous amount of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that will do good for your body.


Cabbage- cabbage stimulates enzyme production, which enhances the detox process. Cabbage has been found to speed up the detoxification process and recharge the liver


Lemon- when you consume lemon, it stimulates your liver to create more bile. Bile aids digestion and quickens the process of things passing through the liver.


Garlic- just a tiny quantity triggers liver enzymes to flush your body of toxins. Garlic also packs a nutritious punch with high quantities of allicin and selenium. These two natural compounds additionally aid liver cleansing.


Spinach- with a bunch of iron and plentiful antioxidants, spinach enhances detoxifying the liver. It speeds up the removal of toxins from the blood and increases total energy in the body. It’s perfect for a super juice detox.


Celery- with an enormous stock of antioxidants and a variety of vitamins and minerals, celery will give your liver extra boost.


Green Tea- a great source of polyphenols, antioxidants that may play a role in treating and avoiding a handful of health conditions. One of the most antioxidant compounds is epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) and the possible detoxifying effects of EGCG and other polyphenols in green tea help to rid the body of free radicals.


Wheatgrass- Greens are one of the best foods that cleanse the liver and wheatgrass is no exception! It is high in chlorophyll (chlorophyll is found to actually absorb toxins from the blood stream).


So, get cleansing!


*Individual results may vary. Seek medical advice before starting any service including a weight loss program or med spa treatment. Contact us to make sure this is the right solution for you.

Dr Kim: Listening to your Brain Over your Stomach?


Written by: Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Kim Feinstein, Tucson Medical Weight Loss’s Behavioral Weight Loss Specialist


Let’s talk about psychological hunger.


What is psychological hunger?

Psychological hunger is usually characterized by a strong urge to eat without experiencing any physical symptoms. This type of hunger can occur at anytime and is usually triggered in response to your emotions, senses, cues from the environment, and/or social situations.


Answer the questions below to find out what signals you to eat:


1. Do your emotions trigger you to eat? Are you an emotional eater?

•       Do you use food as a source of comfort or relief when you’re feeling sad, anxious, angry, bored, or lonely?

•       Do you eat as a way to get through a difficult time (financial problems, relationship struggles, job loss, illness, etc.)?

•       Do you celebrate with food?

•       Do you reward yourself with food?

•       Is eating your main source of pleasure in life?


Emotional hunger can be powerful. As a result, it’s easy to mistake it for physical hunger. But there are clues you can look for that can help you tell physical and emotional hunger apart. Below is a great tool to help you differentiate the two.


Emotional Eating is one of the most common and problematic triggers for eating inappropriately. This habit often sabotages weight loss efforts and leads to weight gain. Let’s examine the common causes of emotional eating.


a.     Stress: Have you ever notice how stress makes you crave salty, sweet, or high fat foods? This is because chronic stress leads to high levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. Cortisol triggers cravings for salty, sweet, and high-fat foods. These are the foods that give you a burst of energy and pleasure. The more unmanaged stress in your life, the more likely you are to rely on food for comfort and emotional release.


b.     Stuffing emotions: Eating can be a way to temporarily silence or “stuff” uncomfortable feelings. While you are numbing yourself with food, you avoid the emotions you would rather not feel. However, the effects are temporary and only last for 20 minutes, before you need another “dose.”


c.     Childhood habits: Reflect on your childhood experiences surrounding food. Did your parents reward good behavior with sweets, take you out for fast food when you got a good report card, or give you a cookie or ice cream when you were feeling sad? These childhood eating habits often carry over into adulthood and are presently operating today!


2. Do your senses trigger you to want to eat? (Think of your 5 senses)

Psychological hunger also can occur if you feel triggered to eat just by smelling, seeing, tasting, hearing or touching food. These are powerful cues that come from your 5-senses stimulating you to eat.


•       The sight of food: Does the mere sight of food trigger you to want to eat (i.e., seeing an advertisement on television, watching someone eat, seeing the candy bowl on someone’s desk, shopping at the grocery store)?


•       The smell of food: Does the mere smell of food prompt you to want to eat (i.e., popcorn at the movie theater, food court at the mall, coffee at the coffee shop, the smell of baked goods cooking)?


•       The sound of food: Does the sound of food cue you to eat (i.e., hearing bacon sizzling in a pan, hearing a can of soda being opened, someone describing a meal to you)?


•       The taste of food: Is it difficult for you to stop eating after you taste food? (i.e., eating one bite of a cookie prompts you to eat the entire box)


•       The texture of food: Does the texture of food trigger you to want to eat inappropriately (i.e., if your mouth is craving something cold and creamy, you may crave ice cream; if your mouth is craving something crunchy, you may long for chips.)


3. Do cues from the environment signal you to eat?

•       Does the time of day signal you to eat? (i.e., late afternoon or nighttime)

•       Do special occasions or holidays trigger you to eat?

•       Do cold or rainy days prompt a desire or craving for a specific food?

•       Do portion sizes trigger you to eat more? (i.e., size of the bag, how much food you have on you plate, etc.)

•       Does watching TV or working on the computer prompt you to over eat?


4. Do social situations prompt you to over eat?

•       Do you tend to overeat when you are conducting business at a restaurant?

•       Do you mindlessly munch when you are at a social event?

•       Does the sight of other people eating and enjoying food prompt you to eat?

•       Do certain people or places trigger you to over eat? (i.e., popcorn at the movies, hotdog at the ballpark, all-you-can-eat buffets, etc.)


These are just a few of the major triggers that can cause you to overeat. The problem with triggers is they can cause a pattern of eating that can then turn into an unhealthy habit. Maybe you started snacking once a week watching your favorite television show, but now you snack each time you watch television. Or, maybe you started eating in response to feelings of loneliness and/or boredom and now you eat each time you are lonely and/or bored.


The good news is that you can you can take steps to control cravings when your emotions threaten to trigger emotional eating, To help stop emotional eating, try the skills listed below. Also, stay tuned for next month’s blog, which will focus exclusively on ending emotional eating.


*Individual results may vary. Seek medical advice before starting any service including a weight loss program or med spa treatment. Contact us to make sure this is the right solution for you.