physical verse emotional hunger
Food

How do I know if I am hungry or just want to eat?

January 12, 2022

Ryann Nicole

Hi, Iā€™m Ryann.

Your Not-So-Average Food Freedom Therapist & Virtual Coach. As a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), Certified Nutritionist with a BA in Psychology, and a MA in Professional Counseling, yes I do a little of the "so how does that make you feel".

But my ultimate goal is to provide you with the resources you need, in an easy-to-understand way, on healing your disordered relationship with food and your body. 

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Binge Eating

Healthy Habits

Body Image

Emotional Eating

Mental Health 

Do you know how to tell if you are hungry or just want to eat? If not, you are not alone! As we get more messages from diet culture about what is right, wrong, good, bad, healthy, and unhealthy – we begin to listen to our mind more than our body. And when we listen to our mind more than our body, we sometimes forget what our body cues feel like.

There is always nothing fundamentally wrong with eating when you're not hungry. However, if this affects your life – then it's time to dive into what is going on.

Here are 3 questions to ask yourself to find out if you are hungry or just want to eat:

01. How fast did the desire to eat come on?

If the desire to eat comes on gradually, you are likely hungry. If the desire to eat came on more suddenly, this might be emotional hunger. Either way, YOU CAN EAT. Bring a little mindfulness into your eating and allow yourself to enjoy the food if you want to eat.

02. Where do I feel the desire to eat most?

If you feel the desire mostly in your stomach, you are likely hungry. If you feel the desire mostly in your mind, this might be emotional hunger. Either way, YOU CAN EAT. Allow yourself to honor the desire while getting curious about what you are emotionally trying to get out of this food if you just want to eat.

03. What do I want to eat right now?

You are likely hungry if you have a preference but are open to options. If you have a strong desire to eat specific food and will be upset if you don't get that food, this might be emotional hunger. Either way, YOU CAN EAT. Allow yourself to honor what you want while being present and tasting the flavors of the food you choose.

The key here is to not make emotional hunger wrong but rather embrace it with curiosity. With curiosity, we can explore our deeper needs and meet them!

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Your Not-So-Average Food Freedom Therapist & Virtual Coach

@itsryannnicole