Do you sometimes eat when you’re actually not hungry? Being able to distinguish between emotional hunger and physical hunger is key for mindful eating. Learn how to read your body’s cues.
Physical Hunger Signs
Low energy or weakness
Irritability or shakiness
Stomach pangs or stomach pain
Physical hunger comes on gradually and builds over time. The urge to eat will go away if you eat a meal or snack.
Emotional Hunger Signs
Craving specific comfort foods or snacks
Wanting to eat even when you just ate
Eating out of boredom, habit or procrastination
Sudden, intense urge to eat
Feeling guilty or ashamed about eating
Eating past the point of feeling full
Emotional hunger comes on suddenly and feels urgent. Eating provides stress relief or distraction, but the feelings return quickly.
Tips to Curb Emotional Eating
Identify your triggers like stress, anxiety, loneliness
Find alternatives for comfort like calling a friend or meditation
Keep unhealthy foods out of the house
Practice mindful eating
Pause and rate your hunger on a scale from 1-10
Drink water and wait 20 minutes to see if the urge passes
Learning to distinguish between emotional and physical hunger takes self-awareness. Pay attention to your body’s signals, triggers and behaviors. This mind-body awareness is the first step toward change.
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