Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Understanding Hunger: Physical vs. Emotional

Bucatini all'Amatriciana
Photo Credit: Jenny 

A tip for not overeating or eating with more awareness is realizing how hungry you actually are. It is very easy to succumb to your emotions. I will have moments where I will get carried away and eat half a dozen cookies, and days where I will eat a million fruits and vegetables. In order to avoid the bad cookie and chip days, I rank my hunger on a scale of 1-5. 

Physical Hunger Scale: 
1: Extremely hungry: You are starving. You can’t concentrate or sleep, and you feel dizzy and faint.
2: Hungry: You are ready to eat, your stomach rumbles and you feel irritable.  
3. A little hungry: You begin to notice the first signs of hunger, but can wait awhile.
4: Satisfied: Comfortable. You can eat a little more, but if you eat anymore, you will feel stuffed.
5: Full: You feel a little bit uncomfortable, but content and satisfied.
6. Uncomfortably full: You feel bloated, stuffed and too full. 

Ask yourself these questions: Whenever I feel the need to eat during the middle of the day these questions help me to avoid overeating. 
When was the last time I ate?
What did I eat today? 
How will I feel if I do eat now? Will I regret it? 
How badly do I need to eat now? 
Am I stressed or sad? What am I stressed or sad about? 
What are some ways without food that I can feel better? 

Hunger is supposed to be gradual. If you are hungry immediately, it means that it isn't real hunger, but emotional. I know from experience that emotional hunger will leave you feeling guilty and annoyed at yourself. Emotional hunger has you craving sweets and junk food. In order to avoid this, take a moment to think about how you really well. Take a few deep breaths. Notice your physical signs. Are you feeling dizzy? Are you feeling irritable? Do you feel physical pain in your stomach? If you feel any of those, you should eat. If you do not, maybe weigh out your emotions and take a few more deep breaths. Instead of heading for the fridge or the snack cabinet, go to your room and lay down for awhile or do some deep breathing.  Maybe go outside and walk around the block a few times. Also remember to drink water throughout the day. Sometimes I actually am dehydrated and my body gets it confused with being hungry.

I hope these help! 

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