Physical Vs. Emotional Hunger

When you reach for the cookie jar, are you responding to a physical hunger or are you responding to emotional hunger?  In otherwords, is your body telling you, “Feed me, I’m starving!” or did you just have a bad day and are thinking, “I could really use a hug right now, oh well…these cookies should make me feel better.”

Let’s take a look at the characteristics of both physical hunger & emotional hunger…

Physical Hunger

  • Builds gradually
  • Strikes below the neck (growling stomach)
  • Occurs several hours after a meal
  • Goes away when full
  • Eating leads to a feeling of satisfaction

Emotional Hunger

  • Develops suddenly
  • Occurs above the neck (you have a “taste” for ice-cream)
  • Unrelated to time
  • Persists despite fullness
  • Eating leads to guilt & shame

Think about this next time you reach for the bowl of miniature snickers you have sitting on your desk. Is your body actually telling you your’re hungry or is it all in your head?

(P.S If you actually do have a bowl of miniature snickers sitting at your desk, GET RID OF THEM! Seeing them right there in front of you is only going to tempt you to eat them.  Although you may deny yourself once or even twice,  eventually you’ll give in since self-control is an exhaustable resource (if you haven’t read my post on the science of self-control, read it & you’ll understand what I mean).

Therefore, terms of eating habits, here’s my advice to you…

  1. Think before you eat.
  2. Eat to live, don’t live to eat.

*Reference: Mindless Eating by Dr. Brian Wansink


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