Binge Eating Triggers: Why Can’t I Stop Eating Chocolate Once I Start?

Binge Eating Triggers

Binge Eating Triggers are an interesting thing. Haven’t we all experienced moments when all we wanted is a piece of chocolate. But once we start, it’s like something takes over and we can’t stop.


Why is that?


For instance, have you ever driven past KFC and out of a sudden felt hungry.  Or walked past a fish and chips shop, inhaling the deep-fried aroma, suddenly feeling an intense wave of hunger?  But before this, you were not even thinking about food!  Or, you have one crisp, and suddenly you want to eat more and find it difficult to stop? 


What happens in these scenarios?

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Sensory Binge Eating Triggers

Simply put, these are triggers.  To be specific, these are Sensory Triggers. From my experience and research, there are 8 binge eating triggers that cause us to binge or overeat.  This blog will specifically look at the 4 sensory triggers that create binge eating urges.


The 4 sensory triggers – activated by the senses

  1. We see food and are hungry for it (For example, seeing the delectable chocolate cake in a cafe cabinet)
  2. We hear someone talking about food (An advertisement for pizza and we think, yes we would like to eat it).
  3. Smelling food (Walking past a bakery and suddenly craving bread)
  4. Taste. You have a little bit and want more. Many people say ‘Once I start eating chocolate, I can’t stop
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Strategies for mindful eating when confronted with Binge Eating Triggers


1. Create awareness around the craving

When we are confronted with one of these triggers, we need to STOP and PAUSE. This gives us an opportunity to ask ourselves, ‘Why are we now suddenly thinking about food?’.  Essentially, this creates awareness around this sensation of craving.  And, if you were not thinking about food prior, you are probably not hungry and your body does not require it. In THIS video I am talking where to start when addressing Binge Eating Triggers.


This is not about restriction

Now, the restriction mentality is certainly not what I am advocating, as this causes deprivation (and more binging).  So,  you can still decide to consciously eat the food. But, we want to eat mindfully and not on autopilot.  So, pause and ask yourself the following; 


  • Am I hungry for this right now?’ (if you are, eat it!)
  • Do I want it later?
  • ‘Does this particular food align with my health goals?


Ultimately, after acknowledging the trigger and asking these critical questions,  you can decide to eat the food or not.  Or, you might make a different more aligned food choice.  Remember, what you choose to eat needs to be delicious and satisfying.  This is critical as there is no point in eating food we do not enjoy!

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Triggers activate endorphins

Further, certain foods trigger endorphins in the brain even by just looking at it.  The brain remembers the prior pleasure of eating that particular food.  Simply put, your brain might be urging you to eat something because we naturally seek pleasure.  This is our psychological design, making it more challenging to resist.  So again, be aware this is just a trigger, you might not actually be hungry for the food.  


2. Imagine and tap into the sensation

After you identify and create awareness around the trigger, imagine having the flavor of the food in your mouth.   For example, imagine biting into the chocolate cake and chewing it.  Then, imagine it in your stomach and the feeling of eating it all.  Then ask, do you want this right now? Do you want this sensation? Interestingly, sometimes your decision to eat it changes.   


This is not a guilt-trip

To be clear, this process is not to make you feel guilty or bad.  It’s about acknowledging the sensation and tapping into mindful eating practices.  Some days you will eat it, and others you will not.   So, these steps are very powerful to cultivate conscious eating decisions around our food choices. 


What are you really craving?

Finally, these strategies might shine a light on another need you might be craving at a deeper level (such as an emotional need)  Perhaps not, maybe you just want to eat it. And this is great too! 

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Understand what triggers you

Sensory triggers are 1 of the 8 triggers that lead to binge eating and overeating.  I have created a free workbook so you can look through all of the triggers and identify what might be driving your own food choices.  In particular, the workbook has strategies about what you can do.  Importantly, these are practical tools you can apply immediately – so you can really change how you respond to food and ultimately feel in control around food. 


Finally, download the free workbook HERE and find out what works for you.

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Regain power over food!


Binge eating and emotional eating is not a food problem, it is an emotional problem.


Ultimately, we can’t rely on will-power to stop binge eating. In this e-book I am addressing the underlying reasons why we use food as a drug and what our body is trying to tell us.



Do you want to feel in control with food?