All of us have ever felt hungry. It is that moment when you feel that your stomach is empty and there is a need to put something in your mouth. The situations in which you feel really hungry after several hours without eating are identified without problems. But, do you know how to distinguish these situations from moments of emotional hunger?
It is not recommended to starve or stay for more than four hours without eating, even if it is a small snack. But you do not always eat by being hungry or feel a real need to eat, sometimes you eat to cover up the emotions. Stress, sadness, anxiety … you try to bury them with unhealthy meals that in the long run will make you feel worse than before.
In order to be able to stop this vicious circle in which you eat without feeling hungry, but to feel better and finally to feel guilty, encourage you to learn to distinguish the emotional hunger of hunger that the lack of energy produces in your body. Identifying the characteristics of this emotional hunger and coping with it, regaining control of your life and your eating habits are part of that process.
That said … let’s get to know some of the characteristics of emotional hunger.
1. Appears in the form of wishes
Emotional hunger will never ask for a vegetable plate or a salad. Normally it requires foods that are low in nutrients and high in calories , such as sweets or foods rich in saturated fats, which are now called junk food.
2. It is insatiable
When you begin to realize that you are hungry, you know, more or less, the amount of food you will need to eat to be sated. When it comes to emotional hunger, you can start eating without stopping until you feel extremely full. Thus, emotional hunger has an inhibitor on the feelings of satiety , making us feel full only after we have eaten more than necessary.
3. Attempts to “fill” a void
An emptiness that is not exactly in the stomach. She appears in response to an emotional malaise and instead of investigating this malaise, it ends up burying it under all this food with which we tried to obtain some relief. A relief that will be momentary and will last as long as digestion is being done; but it is not endless. After digestion, if we were feeling bad before, we will probably feel worse afterwards.
4. It’s a lonely meal
Practically no one bothered with food accompanied, is a kind of ritual that is done alone. Often loneliness itself is the trigger. Although it can also occur in social events, such as weddings or birthdays, to hide emotions.
5. Causes feelings of guilt
You know you did not have to eat that bag of potato chips, raise your cholesterol, are full of saturated fats, and besides, you were not hungry, but you could not get away with that. It is common that after consumption of this type of food appear guilt and a need for self-punishment for not being able to maintain control.
6. It’s an impulsive act
When you eat to quench your emotional hunger, you act without reflecting much, compulsively. You go to the grocery store in the hall of trinkets and buy whatever you think will serve as the “pleasure of the day”.
7. You shirk responsibilities
One day you had to go to work, but it was not to have time to go to the gym or to study … however, did not have the strength and ended up staying at home. Inside you know that you have not fulfilled your obligations and it may be that the anxiety does not take long to arrive to keep company. It is at this point that you go to the refrigerator to pick up that sweet that you both like to use in the form of anxiolytic.
As soon as the candy is over, you realize that you are feeling even worse: you have accumulated two faults, that of not having fulfilled your obligation and that you allowed yourself that caprice. Besides, you realize that while you were eating you did not feel anxious, so you go to the refrigerator to get another piece of that candy … and repeat the process over and over until you feel very full.
Ideas to quench emotional hunger without having to attack the refrigerator
All these characteristics correspond to emotional hunger. Now you have to realize them in your life to be able to identify this problem. It’s your turn, it’s time to fight emotional hunger. We leave here some ideas to contribute to this battle.
1. Try to eat something healthy
If you are eating without hunger, you will not want to eat anymore and you will be satiated quickly. The body will say that this is not what it wants, and then you will know that you were trying to fool with the feeling of hunger.
2. Think about the problem that causes hunger
When you know that what you feel is not hunger, but a whim … think about what lies behind this sensation. Am I feeling anxious about work? Problems in my relationship? I do not stop a second all day and when I get home I still have the same pace?
3. Practice a physical activity
Physical activity assists in two aspects. First, it is a way to discharge negative emotions . With the exercises, there is a release of endorphin that is beneficial to your emotional state and that is a plus point in fighting any focus of anxiety. Also, after practicing a sport, your body will need energy and will also like healthy foods.
4. Make a schedule of what you will eat every day of the week
This idea will prevent the decision about what to eat has an impulsive response. Having marked the when and the how, we will have a reference of the moments in which our body will need a recharge of energy, so that it will not be able to deceive us so easily. In addition, we will have already chosen what we are going to eat at that moment, so the decision is more likely to be smarter.
5. Allow yourself a treat from time to time
Although emotional hunger often calls for “junk food,” it is good to indulge in a treat on a daily basis , but not to let it become a daily habit.
6. Try to dine in company
When we eat a meal, we tend to eat more slowly. Few times you’ll just be focused on your problems or you’ll be struggling to eat. In addition, you will be able to share the source of pleasure, on one side will be the company and on the other the food. That way, it will not be necessary to continue eating to maintain the feeling of well-being provided by that moment.
7. Do not use food as a reward
Sometimes when you have a bad day, you end up rewarding this with unhealthy food, chanting a “I deserve it”. Getting used to making up for a bad day with this kind of food prevents us from doing that with much healthier tools to do the same job.
8. Seek help for the underlying emotional problem
Whether with a friend, a relative, your partner or your partner, or with a professional. It is clear that attempts to hide and deal with this problem alone did not work.
9. Reflect before buying “junk food”
Why am I buying it? Do I really need this?
10. Always make a shopping list with what you really need
And do not buy more stuff than you put on the list. Caprices do not usually appear on grocery lists, they are an impulsive act.
Definitely, the best technique is to be aware of the real needs of our body and to know if they correspond to a physical (hunger) or emotional need. To deal with difficult situations that produce emotional impacts, it is important to address them proactively, being aware of what the original problem is and how you are going to deal with it. Replace the act of hiding your emotions under food for a mentally and physically healthy life.