There are two types of hunger. These are physical and emotional.
Physical hunger is a biological urge telling you to replenish nutrients. Such hunger builds up gradually and can cause symptoms like a growling stomach, fatigue, and irritability. Eating makes it go away.
Emotional hunger, on the other hand, is driven by emotions. It’s triggered by situations such as stress, anxiety, frustration, fear, sadness, boredom, depression, and fatigue.
The problem is that emotional eating can cause us to consume much more food than we need. After all, it doesn’t function to restock nutrients but rather to help you cope with an unpleasant situation.
That – alongside the fact that emotional eating tends to pair with junk food – is why it’s linked to weight gain.
Now, to lose weight, keep the pounds off, and support your health and well-being, it’s crucial to avoid emotional eating. To do this, there are a few things you must know.
First, physical hunger builds up gradually; emotional hunger appears all of a sudden, typically in response to a specific event.
Second, almost all foods can solve physical hunger; emotional hunger is tied to particular comfort foods such as pizza, chocolate, or doughnuts and high sugar content foods.
Third, physical hunger resides in your stomach; emotional hunger in your head.
And fourth, physical hunger tends to pair with mindful eating; emotional hunger with mindless eating (before you realised it, you’ve eaten an entire pack of Oreos.
Occasionally using food as a reward, or a reason to celebrate is okay. However, when your eating is your primary emotional coping mechanism when your first thought is to open the refrigerator whenever you’re stressed, upset, angry, lonely, exhausted, or bored—you will get stuck in an unhealthy cycle where the real feeling or problem is never addressed.
Taking some time out to understand your emotional triggers and then learning how to either avoid them or react to them in a different way will really help you in your efforts to avoid emotional eating.
Now you know the difference between physical and emotional hunger, I want you to check what kind of hunger it is every time cravings rear their head.
If you feel hungry and you consider t’s physical hunger eat but if you feel it’s emotional hunger don’t. (be honest with yourself here!).
If you’re struck by emotional hunger, one of the best things you can do is focus your mind on something else. For instance, go for a brisk walk or focus on your breath for two minutes.
You’ll notice that the cravings will fade in strength, or that you’re forgetting them altogether.