To optimize weight loss and weight management it is important to distinguish between hunger and appetite. Hunger is physiological yet cravings or appetite is psychological.
Have you ever had the experience of a sudden, desperate craving for food? If you think back to that moment you may recall having experienced some sort of intense emotion just before the craving kicked in. Perhaps an emotion such as stress, anger, joy, frustration or boredom?
EMOTIONAL hunger cannot be satisfied with food.
PHYSICAL hunger can.
Hunger is the feeling of grumbling and growling in your empty stomach, it is a signal from your body that you need to feed it. if you continue to ignore your hunger, you will probably experience light-headedness and tiredness.
In the Craving Brain by Dr. Ronald Ruden, he points out that excessive stress and emotions can create physiological cravings for foods due to changes in our brain chemistry. Food can become a bandaid that provides temporary relief. The solution? Identify the emotions and stress that may be causing you to over eat or respond to emotional, not physical hunger.
Easier said than done? Perhaps. But here’s what helps me. Before I react to an intense feeling to eat somethingI usually do these three things:
1. Drink a glass of water
2. Take a few deep breaths or if possible, go for a quick brisk walk even if just for a few minutes
3. Ask myself the following question, “Am I really hungry or do I just want to change the way that I feel?”
More often than not, the water and deep breathing helps to lift my energy levels, dissipate my headache and my craving to eat too!