Food and Alcohol triggers – Social, Cultural and Emotional triggers and how to avoid them

Food and Drink have been part of the human progress from our journey from caves to capsule hotels. Eat, drink and make merry after a hard days work. We follow this norm even today. Weekends are reserved to let our hair down or a quiet get together with friends. Either way, all these activities have to include food and drinks. In this article we shall discuss the various triggers to help us understand how they function and how to avoid them. But first why would you like to avoid them.

The reason to avoid too much of food and even little bit of drinks

Eating anything triggers the release of insulin in our body. Insulin helps the glucose to enter into the body cells to be used as energy. But it is also the signal to the body to store resources in the form of body fat. Till the time there is insulin hormone in our body, fat burning will never begin. We have been told to keep eating often so that we provide our body with constant source of energy. This behavior also results in high insulin levels throughout the day and night.

For fat burning to begin there has to be a gap between two meals for the following action to commence.

  • Digestion and absorption of food (5 to 6 hours or more)
  • Bringing blood sugar levels to normal (5 hours or more)
  • Empty the liver of stored fat (4 hours)
  • Fat burning begins

Any kind of alcohol is send to the liver in a two stage cleanup process. Depending on the type, alcohol also contains calories which are converted to glucose and later converted to body fat.

Meal times are important

If we match our meal times with the sun timings, then your breakfast should be light at around 10 am which is roughly four hours after sunrise and a heavy lunch at 2 pm giving a sufficient gap of four hours followed by a light meal before 5 pm.

But modern lifestyle meal times begin with a bed tea or coffee at 6 am followed by a heavy breakfast by 8 am. Lunch is at noon while evening tea or snacks are at 5 pm. Dinner is usually between 9 to 10 pm or even late if there is a get together.

Melatonin is secreted four hours after sunset which puts the digestive system to sleep which is why a late dinner means that the digestive system is shut down with food still in the stomach.

Social triggers for food and drinks – the path of fun by bad choices

When social events are planned around eating, there is definitely going to be a social trigger. Such events are carefully organized around abundant food options. These activities are also easy to organize, choose a restaurant and send location to all. If it is organized during odd hours like say 5 pm, then you will definitely end up overeating and eating an extra meal. If you are attending such an event for the purpose of meeting friends after a long time, then it is not possible to say no for food or drinks.

The worst kind of get together is the late night ones with family or friends. Dinner is usually served only at 11 pm after a long round of drinks and snacks. By the time you reach home, it would be around 1 am or 2 am till you hit the bed on a full stomach. You have already lost five hours of sleep and your digestive system is loaded by unprocessed food while the melatonin is putting you to sleep. Such a massive strain on the body.

Get togethers are impossible to avoid. So what is the remedy.

  • Try for a picnic spot get together. Purana Qila in New Delhi with its lush green lawns is the perfect picnic spot for people in smaller group. The Deer Park however is the most popular picnic place in Delhi for families and even larger groups.
  • Get togethers with activities. Delhi Street Art organizes activities centered around art and artists at exotic locations within Delhi. If you are an artist, this is the best group to be. Try to find out a group which matches your interests and go out there to enjoy an activity.
  • Fasting is the best way to undo the damage caused by late night get togethers with drinks. At least try out a 18 hour fast the next day and allow the body to de toxify itself. Keep yourself hydrated. If you are the extreme adventure types, you can even go for a hard dry fast.
  • Avoid get togethers involving cheap street food and carb heavy meals. Accepting the fact that some social get togethers will be based on the income capabilities of the ones who are organizing and attending.

Cultural Triggers – Feeding at functions

To understand this trigger imagine the Big Fat Indian wedding. The occasion where you find the maximum number of people gathered around the food counters. Food is served between late evening to well into the night. Food swimming in low grade refined oil and cheap spices.

Religious events, ceremonies, weddings, congregations, landmark events, etc come under cultural triggers for eating and drinking. Worst are the ones which serve alcohol too.

Unlike social events, in case of cultural events you can skip eating and drinking without anyone noticing or objecting. In contrast try to make any excuse for not consuming alcohol in a friends get together. You will be gheraoed and pressurized to death.

Keep this in mind however that it takes a lot of self control to reach the vicinity of a food counter and yet not pick up a plate of eat. Such are the nature of Cultural triggers.

Emotional Trigger – the most dangerous of them all

While social and cultural triggers are still within our control, emotional is exactly opposite. Humans do not have control over their emotions. Any kind of emotion can trigger overeating and the urge to consume alcohol. Feeling low or sad is the most common trigger to eat sweet and savoury food items. Sugar hits the right pleasure centres in the brain and gives you instant gratification and relief. Alcohol gives a feeling of relaxation and euphoria at the same time. It encourages you to drop inhibitions.

You need a solid support system to overcome the iron grip of an emotional trigger. Finding the right person is a matter of chance with a low probability. Once found, rest is smooth sailing.

The most important step to take however is to stay away from toxic people. Unfollow them on social media.

Emotional trigger causes massive release of cortisol in the system causing excess body fat.

A workable plan of action

It all begins with an aim or purpose. If your intent is clear, then to achieve that you need to set targets or goals. To help reach those goals, you now need a routine.

Targets need to be measurable so that they can be achievable.

Intent has to be clear and precise. Do you know how you reply to an invitation by saying that you will try to come. That means that you are never going to try. An intent has to sound like “Yes, this will be done.”

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