Hunger comes with the desired to eat. To eat or not to eat, that is a difficult question for most of the girls. Nevertheless, we do not always eat just to satisfy our hunger. Some of us use food to satisfy our feelings instead.
What is food having to do with feelings? Well, it might sound crazy but some of us are actually experiencing emotional hunger without even realizing it ourselves. Eating can give a sense of temporary comfort.
Do you ever wonder what type of hunger you are experiencing? There are two types of hunger - emotional hunger and physical hunger.
Physical hunger is defined as the hunger that we experienced when our bodies need fuel to provide energy to our body. For physical hunger, we are in control of our eating and we can refrain from overeating when we are full. This is because we eat based on our sensations. Examples of situations where you are experiencing physical hunger:
- You can hear your stomach growls
- You have a low energy level or feel weak
- You feel dizzy
We encounter emotional hunger when we use food to satisfy emotional cravings rather than the stomach.
Try asking yourselves, are you eating because you feel lonely, sad, or bored? Are you trying to suppress your feelings? Do you still crave for food even though you are not hungry and end up stuffing yourself? Is food a form of reward for you? Do you feel like the food is taking control over you and not the other way round?
In short, for emotional hunger, we eat to avoid uncomfortable feelings and turn the feelings into a form of pleasure. However, emotional hunger cannot be solved with food alone. Some of us even feel extremely guilty after we overeat with the extra calories in our tummy.
Here are some characteristics of emotional hunger:
Emotional hunger often attacks you out of the blue
You feel hungry unexpectedly and instantly. You sense the urgency to eat immediately to resolve the feelings. On the other hand, for physical hunger, the feeling of hungry comes gradually. Thus we are in control of our eating and hunger doesn’t seem like an instant demand for us.
You Crave For Specific Food
You only want to have the delicious chocolate, ice cream, cupcakes, potato chips, mouth-watering pizzas-mostly high calories snacks, and desserts to satisfy your need. If you are hungry physically, vegetables and fruits should be acceptable to you too, since you are really hungry that you can consume any food (not just the delicious one).
Before you realize it, that bowl of ice cream or that bar of chocolates has been finished eating and the taste- well, you do not exactly remember it as you did not enjoy it fully. You are in a mindless eating mode that makes you unaware of what you are doing.
You Feel Guilty After Eating
Truth to be told, emotional hunger often leads to binge eating and what comes next is the feeling of guilt, regret, and shame on what we have done to ourselves. If you are hungry physically, you will not feel guilty after having your proper meal.
What Can We Do If We Are Experiencing Emotional Hunger?
It is hard to completely get rid of emotional eating, but there are some tips for us to alleviate the condition.
Listen to our bodies. Do we really feel hungry when we want to eat? Are we feeling down at the point we crave for some food? You should start by putting off eating for 5 minutes and take a big breath. Walk around, try to relax. After 5 minutes, check with your feelings. Are you feeling better? While you might still eat in the end, these 5 minutes can help you to understand yourself more, and maybe next time you can try to hold it for 10 minutes instead!
Exercise. Yes, exercise does wonders for your body and your mind. Not only it helps to keep us healthy, but the endorphins that are released after a workout can also lighten our mood and relieve our stress miraculously.
Sleep. We should get sufficient rest every night by sleeping 8 hours per day. Proper rest helps to control our appetite and reduce unnecessary cravings.
Relax. Take a break from work and let your hair down for 10 minutes once a while. Go to the toilet if you need or get yourself a cup of black coffee. Chat with your colleagues and connect with them. Who knows, you might forget about your cravings after a few laughs with them!
In a nutshell, it is crucial for us to identify whether we are experiencing emotional hunger or physical hunger. Never let food control our emotions. Knowing the types of hunger allows us to control ourselves and avoid the cycle of overeating simultaneously.
Over time, we will be capable to determine our eating portion and stop ourselves from eating before we are stuffed or when we are not actually hungry. Let us create a healthy relationship with food from now onwards.