Melissa Tucker, a training coach and one of Canada’s foremost global fitness competitors, is a member of our team of PURICA Ambassadors committed to providing you with healthy eating and training tips. Here Melissa defines the difference between experiencing physical or emotional hunger.
Emotional hunger is what fuels emotional eating. Unfortunately, part of being human is having emotional hunger. However, emotional hunger is not so much the problem as how you deal with it.
People who suffer from emotional eating deal with emotional hunger by eating. And, since life is filled with emotional stressors, emotional eaters are most often overweight. Many people cannot imagine being able to handle a bad day without turning to food for comfort. This tendency to handle emotional hunger with food is no different than a smoker’s tendency to handle stress with a cigarette.
Let’s start by defining the differences between emotional hunger and physical hunger so you can differentiate between the two in your daily life.
First, emotional hunger strikes you like lightening, while physical hunger develops slowly. Emotional hunger happens suddenly. The stages of physical hunger are much slower in progression from the first stomach grumble to a full on hunger pang.
Second, emotional hunger demands food immediately, whereas physical hunger is bit more patient. Much like its quick onset, emotional hunger demands immediate satisfaction. Your physical hunger will wait for food a little more patiently.
The third difference between the two involves mindfulness. Emotional hunger usually doesn’t notice how, why or what’s being eaten. Emotional hunger will even demand more food even after the person is stuffed. Satisfying physical hunger involves a deliberate choice and awareness of what’s being eaten. How much of what’s being eaten is noticed, meaning you can stop when full.
Fourth, if you’re physically hungry, even carrots will look delicious. If you’re emotionally hungry, however, only cake, cookies or ice cream might seem appealing. Physical hunger is open to different types of foods, while emotional hunger demands very particular foods in order to be fulfilled.
Fifth, satisfying emotional hunger often results in guilt, or promises to do better next time. This is in sharp contrast with physical hunger, which is viewed, as necessary to survival and therefore has no guilt attached to it.
Whenever you feel compelled to eat in a way that doesn’t match the patience or speed of physical hunger you are struggling with emotional eating and hunger.
For more information, check out www.melissatucker.com or email PURICA Ambassador Melissa Tucker at firstname.lastname@example.org. And for regular healthy eating and training tips, follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/puricawellness and like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/puricawellness
*A note on vegan and vegetarian options: At PURICA, we’re committed to empowering you with the best in whole foods, supplements and positive lifestyle solutions. We support all athletes and active living people whatever your dietary preferences, although we will always do our part to raise awareness about the benefits of vegetarian or vegan options.