Emotional Hunger vs. Physical Hunger

emotional eating

When following a diet to lose weight, it’s important to be mindful of what you eat. In today’s society, though, people often eat simply to relieve stress or to deal with unpleasant emotions. It’s easy to eat simply because you’re sad, lonely, or bored. By identifying what makes you feel hungry, you give yourself an edge in sticking to your diet. Here’s what you can do to be more mindful of the food you eat and how hungry you really are.

What Is Emotional Eating?

Emotional eating is when you eat food to relieve a negative feeling rather than to gain nutrients. For instance, you might reach for the pint of ice cream when you’re bored or order a pizza when you’re feeling down. This kind of hunger tends to start suddenly and is felt mostly in your head. Generally, it dissipates as quickly as it comes. The next time you experience this kind of craving, try waiting 30 minutes.

Eating may feel good at the moment, but the feelings that made you want to eat are still there. It’s important to identify these emotions and find a healthy way to address them. If you’re struggling with this, try therapy or mindful eating.

What Is Physical Hunger?

Physical hunger is your body telling you that it needs nutrition. It starts gradually and is often felt from within your stomach. Instead of being fixated on only one type, as you would with emotional eating, you’re usually open to a variety of foods. Eating a normal amount of food is often enough to take care of your physical hunger.

Stop Stress Eating

Do you eat when you’re full or not hungry? Do you eat to feel better? Do you feel powerless around food? If the answer to any of these is yes, then you emotionally eat sometimes. Once you acknowledge this, you can find other ways to feed those feelings instead of using food. This can include exercising when you feel anxious, reading a book when you’re bored, or calling someone dear to you when you feel lonely.

Eat More Mindfully

Better eating habits start with mindfulness, both when you’re eating and when you’re shopping. Eat slowly and refrain from doing other activities, like watching TV, while you eat. Doing so can cause you to overeat.

Mindfulness is also important when you’re shopping. It’s easier to say no to a pint of ice cream when you don’t buy it in the first place. It’s also easier not to buy it in the first place if you shop when you’re full rather than hungry.

Achieve Your Weight Loss Goals

Eating a balanced diet and being mindful of your eating habits can help you if you’re struggling with your weight. If you need more help, Blue Tree Health offers a variety of weight loss options for those looking to improve their lifestyle.