What is emotional hunger and how to distinguish it from physical hunger?

Do you always eat only when you are hungry? Many people eat without feeling hunger. The reason for this behavior is emotional stress. People use food as a stress reliever and a reward for pleasant events. Some of them feel safe while eating, and some young mothers use food as an opportunity to relax. Food becomes an integral part of emotional stability.
Emotional eating has nothing to do with physical hunger. And even though people seek salvation in food, it does not help them cope with problems.

There is nothing wrong with people using food as an excuse to spend time together or to celebrate an event. But when you take food every time you feel angry, lonely, or stressed, an emotional attachment to food appears. Even if your brain understands this, emotions win and you eat again. As a rule, emotional foods are unhealthy one filled with sugar and fats.

Unfortunately, such nutrition distracts people from the problem for only a few minutes, and after that, they again return to reality where their problems and emotions are all the same with them. Thus, people try to escape from problems and responsibility for their solution. After all, eating ice cream or pizza is much easier than managing your condition.

Scientists have shown that sugar and the wrong fats negatively affect emotional health. You find yourself in a vicious circle in which you want more food but your emotional standing worsens. If you are in this situation, you have a chance to get out of this circle and learn to distinguish between emotional and physical hunger.

The main sign of a physiological feeling of hunger is that it develops gradually. If the desire to eat something arises suddenly and quickly, then this is emotional hunger. A physical hunger also appears in 3 to 5 hours after the last meal (it depends on what you ate last time). If after the main meal you are looking for something else to eat, then this is not the need of your body. It is your emotions that govern you.

After you learn to distinguish between emotional and physical hunger, you can learn to stop yourself from eating too much. If it’s hard for you to refuse emotional food, try using healthy low-calorie foods.

But the main rule that will help you get rid of emotional hunger is to improve your emotional state. You should understand what emotion requires food, and when it arises. If it’s hard for you to do this yourself, you should contact your doctor.


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