Stress, exhaust, sadness, anger, boredom, thurst are frequently connected with the need for biting something. We think we feel hungry all the time and we just grab something that we can eat quickly and then we want more and so we look for everything eatable around us. And bite and chew and lose the feeling of quantity and satiety and time. Not much later, we regret it all and promise to ourselves that this was the last time, but really really last. And then go to bed or stare in whatever screen we find something interesting on. It becomes a circle that is really hard to break. Stress – the need for consolation – “hunger” – eating – feeling of satisfy – feeling of guilt – the need for consolation again…
I think it happend to many people, almost to everyone. It’s not a big problem, if it happens occasionally. People, who are strong enough step back on the floor and don’t let it become a habit. If emotional eating becomes a part of someone’s life, however, it’s hard to overcome. It means thinking about food all the time and the need for eating appears after every feeling.
I used to have problems with emotional eating as well. It’s hard to say, if I overcame them completely, but it is absolutelly much better since I’m trying to accept myself.
Also, I started listening to my body and recognizing, when I really need food and when I just…want it. Here are some differences between real and psychological hunger:
- Real hunger doesn’t come suddenly. It comes gradually and it depends on the time passed from your last meal. The “false” hunger happens suddenly, it is not related to what or when did you eat before. You might not be hungry a moment ago, but right now you’d be killing for food.
- When you are seriously hungry, you don’t crave a specific food, while when you just have psychological hunger, you do. And this is usually not fruit or vegetables, normally you want sugar, fat or salt. I heard many times that hunger leads to overeating bad foods, but real hunger doesn’t lead to do this. Emotional hunger does. To discover, if I’m really hungry or not I use two tests: one is drinking a glass of water and waiting if hunger dissapears or not. Thurst is many time misinterpreted and we eat when we actually need water. It happend because the parts of the brain, responsible to recognize hunger and thurst, are so close to each other. Second thing I do is asking myself if I would eat an apple or a salad. If the answer is yes, then it is real hunger. If it’s no, it’s better to drink water and wait until it is time for your next meal.
- If you are hungry, you can wait like 30 more minutes (to do some tasks before or to cook). Contrary, if the hunger is emotional, you need certain food immediatelly. It seems you can’t wait a single minute.
- Psychological hunger is connected with certain situations like bad day at work, exam failure, love problems, family issues, stress, lack of sleeping etc. It is not connected with your body requiring fuel.
- Feeding is automatic, when you’re eating to satisfy your emotional hunger. You don’t really taste and enjoy your food, while when you’re really hungry, you are conscious all the time. You feel all the tastes, you feel the texture, you eat with all your senses.
- If you were really hungry, you know, when it’s time to stop eating. When you don’t feel hunger anymore, of course! In this case you consciously decide if you are going to eat the whole portion or less. If you eat, when you don’t really need the food, your body is confused, therefore it sends you wrong signals. That’s why you can’t stop eating.
- The feelings after you stop eating are different. When you didn’t eat because you were hungry, you ate “bad” food, you ate too much and of course you don’t feel well. You feel guilty, which leads you…well, you know how it goes. When you eat because of the phisical need, you don’t feel any guilt when you finish your meal. Eating is something normal and necessary.
Keep in mind: love yourself first. You control your food, don’t let the food controlling you.
Beside my experiences, I used this post http://www.presnikoticek.si/lakota/ as a source. I reccomand to all Slovene speaking readers to take a look. The author is a nice raw vegan girl, who has really good ideas and recipes. The webpage is in Slovene, but I summarized this post here. 🙂