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Is it Hunger Pain or a Craving?

May 21, 2020 | Digestive Health, Inflammation, Weight Management

Have you been hovering over the refrigerator or pantry too often these days? Are you nearing or have surpassed the ‘Quarantine 19’? Don’t fret! Here’s something you can do NOW to change some unwanted habits.

We know how we SHOULDN’T eat (not too much, not too often) but we need to hear more how we’re to recognize and acknowledge true hunger. There’s so much attention paid to suppressing hunger that it’s hard to remember we’re SUPPOSED to get hungry! In fact, getting hungry is a good sign that our bodies are working properly. Hunger is a natural, physiological process; a process for which we should come to expect, count on and plan. 

It can be painful! Those hunger pains are called ‘pains’ for a reason. Often, we get caught up in the physiological sensation, which isn’t pleasant, and we don’t ride out the feeling long enough to see if it is truly hunger or if it will pass.

Hunger is also commonly mistaken for:

  1. Thirst. I get it. If you’re truly hungry, a glass of water probably won’t quench the fire but having a glass of water when you think you’re hungry CAN crush a craving and allow for a moment to pause before making your next move. 
  2. Hunger as boredom/anger/happiness/sadness/(you fill in the blank). It’s tough to feel the emotions you’d rather soothe with food. If you can stay off auto pilot and get in the moment when you start to search for something to eat, ask yourself this: what is it I’m feeling? No worries if you can’t identify the specific feeling. If it’s anything other than true hunger, you’re likely eating for a different reason.
  3. Hunger as a response to not feeling overfull. Imagine this scenario: you’ve just finished dinner and feel comfortably satisfied (about 7-8 on a scale of 1-10). An hour or so later you find yourself in front of the pantry because you ‘feel like’ having something. Essentially, you’ve moved down from 8 on that same hunger scale but you aren’t necessarily hungry. Try including a small amount of a favorite indulgence as part of your dinner experience. You’ve had some. Done. 

So, the next time you get a food craving take a moment to FIRST pause to be able to jump off the automatic track. Pausing for even a few minutes can put things in perspective. Remember the goal isn’t that you need to go hungry all the time, it’s to put more thought into when you may be eating as a result of anything BUT hunger. 

Watch the video of this post here.

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In good health,

Alisa Bloom Signature