Our appetites can be quite the pranksters. It often fools us to think we are hungry, when often, we may be suffering from something completely different. Distinguishing between false hunger and true hunger will help you know when your body really needs food and when it needs something else.
1. Hunger Due to Eating the Wrong Food: Symptoms include craving high sugar foods or feeling “hungry” soon after eating a meal. If you just had a big meal that is high in simple carbohydrates and did not contain fiber, protein or healthy fat, all of which help provide a sense of satiety, you may have experienced a drop in blood sugar. In this case, have a healthy snack, such as a piece of fresh fruit and nuts, or cottage cheese or celery and peanut butter or 1/2 of a sandwich on whole grain bread.
2. Emotional Hunger: Sometimes, our appetites can go haywire when we are experiencing boredom, fear, anxiety, stress or loneliness. Try taking a walk, journaling, listening to some favorite music, calling a friend or chewing a piece of mint gum instead. Read a book, go to a “safe place” like a library or museum or park where you will not be tempted to overeat or distracted by food. Take a bath, meditate, or think about what REALLY would satisfy you, vs. eating to stuff down emotions you do not want to confront.
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