Emotional Hunger VS Physical Hunger: What’s the difference?
When you are hungry, do you contemplate whether those hunger pangs are physical or emotional? Did they arise due to stress or your body’s needs?
Generally, people do not ponder much when it comes to food. Their first instinct is to look for meals to fill their belly and unfortunately, this is how unhealthy eating patterns emerge.
What is physical hunger?
When our body needs the energy found in food, we experience physical hunger. Physical hunger symptoms start when your stomach is empty and your brain detects hunger, the stomach begins to growl and we get irritable, tired and can lose concentration.
It can also cause anxiety, headaches, shakiness, or an increased desire to eat. Physical hunger can only be satisfied by eating food.
What are the characteristics of physical hunger?
● Not so picky! – When you are experiencing physical hunger, any food may help you address your hunger. It means you can satisfy yourself quickly with any food in your pantry.
● It does not lead to overeating – when you are physically hungry, you will be able to feel satisfied more quickly. And when you’re full, you’ll be able to stop eating, preventing you from overeating.
● Growling – When you’re physically hungry, you’ll feel an emptiness in your stomach, as if you haven’t eaten anything.
● Mindfulness – You eat cautiously when you are physically hungry unlike emotional hunger.
What is emotional hunger?
Emotional hunger is motivated by an emotional attachment to food, a routine, an upset, or a celebration rather than by a need to eat in response to hunger pangs or the need to live. Emotional eaters are more likely to crave high-calorie or high-carbohydrate foods that have little nutritional value but provide a quick energy boost.
It is frequently impulsive and quick-thinking. It is commonly associated with specific activities, feelings, and times of day and has nothing to do with hunger pangs; it usually occurs closer to meals when you cannot possibly be hungry.
Furthermore, emotional eating is a risky cycle in which people use food to satisfy their emotional needs. It has the potential to become a coping mechanism as well as a never-ending loop that never fulfils or satisfies the long-term goal.
What are the characteristics of emotional hunger?
● It’s sudden – If you have a sudden desire to eat something, you may experience emotional hunger. Emotional eating is more difficult to detect because it occurs so quickly that some people may miss it.
● Cravings – The most important food cravings will strike when you are emotionally vulnerable. When faced with a difficult situation, exhausted, or bored, you may turn to food for comfort, either consciously or unconsciously. Emotional eating can make losing weight difficult.
● Guilt – people eat several times a week or more to suppress and soothe unpleasant emotions. They may also feel guilty or ashamed after eating in this manner, which can lead to a vicious cycle of overeating and weight gain.
● Eating Absentmindedly – It is a common symptom of emotional hunger. It is the tendency to overeat in response to various stimuli. It can occur in a variety of situations, such as when a person is presented with a variety of delicious foods or when they are experiencing emotional distress.
● Emotions – When you are emotionally hungry, you will notice that you are going through or experiencing disturbing emotions all over your body. When you’re in a difficult situation, you develop emotional hunger.
How do you differentiate?
There is a distinction between emotional and physical hunger, which many of us appear to be unaware of these days.
Emotional hunger manifests itself as a mental desire. It will make us less conscious of our food choices and cause us to overeat. It happens when you turn to food to either escape from or intensify pleasant feelings. It usually means that you eat based on how you feel rather than what your body requires.
Physical hunger, on the other hand, comes on slowly and is felt in the stomach. We are typically more conscious and conscientious of our choices when it comes to satisfying physical hunger.
It also implies that you eat when your body signals that you are hungry. We usually avoid eating too much when we are happy.
Differentiating between physical hunger and emotional hunger can be tough especially when all you can think of is food at that time. Therefore it is important to consult an experienced nutritionist. Kanupriya Khanna is regarded as one of the best dietitians in Delhi because of her unwavering commitment to making a difference in people’s lives by instilling good eating habits and lifestyles.