Are You Really Hungry?

3 Jun

Food is so abundant nowadays, and stands for so much more than the body fuel it is supposed to be, that a lot of people are so out of touch with their body that they may not even know how to recognise true hunger.

So, how do you know whether you’re really hungry, or just eating through habit or as an emotional response?

The first step is to try rating your hunger when you go to find something to eat. Use the following scale:

01: Starving – salivating, experiencing nausea/dizziness
02: Hungry – stomach growling
03: Slightly hungry – no urgent need to eat right away
04: Satisfied – not hungry or full, comfortable
05: Stuffed – uncomfortably full
06: Bloated – painfully full

By getting into the habit of rating your hunger you distance yourself from your desire to eat, which can often break the craving if it is purely emotional or habitual. This tool alone should be enough to help many people.

But what if you’re one of the people who has completely lost touch with their body’s hunger? You’ll need to use other practical tools to assess your hunger before using the intuitive scale above.

Try considering the following points before eating:

– When was the last time you ate? If it was less than 3 hours ago, you are likely not hungry.

– Do you really need a meal, or could a small snack satisfy you?

– Thirst is often mistaken for hunger. Drink a glass of water and wait 20 minutes. Are you still hungry?

– Are you feeling bored, sad, excited, happy, lonely, or otherwise emotionally charged? Could your ‘hunger’ be an emotional response? If so, try phoning a friend, taking a walk, dancing, screaming, or reacting in a (non-violent) physical way.

These tools should help you get back in tune with your body and recognise when you are truly hungry. Chances are, you’ll be surprised how often your ‘hunger’ is not for food.

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