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Physical Vs Emotional Hunger

Everybody has those times when they are just sitting by themselves and not doing anything in particular and that thought of wanting something to crunch on crosses your mind. So you get up, go to the kitchen and get a snack and head back to whatever you were doing. Has it ever crossed your mind that maybe you weren't actually hungry, you were just bored? Everyone is guilty of it, and unfortunately, if you don't know the differences between hunger and boredom, it could lead to some unwanted weight gain, binge eating, and guilty feelings.


A physical craving is based on the fact that your body is actually hungry and needs food. You will start to feel your stomach rumble and hear those whale sounds we all seem to get as soon as we start writing exams. You might also get headaches and start to feel weak or find it hard to concentrate. Once you eat and are full, these symptoms should subside and you will feel better. An emotional craving, however, is often triggered by feelings other than true hunger, like stress, loneliness or boredom. These fake hunger cues can also be triggered by environmental cues, like a tempting food commercial or tv show, the smell of food or even just seeing your favorite dish. Emotional driven hunger is rarely satisfied no matter how much you eat because it isn't food that you need to fulfill your needs.


The first line of defense is to have a conversation with yourself and figure out if you are truly hungry or not. Ask yourself if you’re really hungry and when the last time you ate was. A good point is to also ask yourself if you are really thirsty. Often people mistake thirst for hunger and you could be feeling irritable and tired because you are dehydrated, so grab a glass of water and see if that helps to make you feel better first before you make something to eat. The best way to make sure you don't get truly hungry is to make sure that you fill your day with a bunch of small, healthy snacks and eat a good breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Having a balanced diet will make you feel more balanced, physically and emotionally.


Sometimes it is hard to say no to sweet temptations and you give in to nursing some emotional wounds with ice cream, chips and every other sweet delicious food that is actually bad for you. It's ok though, as long as it doesn't become a habit and something you indulge in all of the time. Everyone gives in from time to time and sometimes you need to, to get yourself to a place where you can take on the world again.