Emotional hunger appears suddenly. What is it and why is it so difficult to satisfy?

Emotional hunger appears suddenly.  What is it and why is it so difficult to satisfy?

Hunger can take many forms. It is easiest to recognize its physical “variety”. But what if we reach for more snacks even though our stomach doesn’t demand it? What to call this phenomenon? Check.

You come home from work. You unconsciously open the kitchen cabinets and look for your favorite snacks. You eat them quickly when you get your hands on them, even though you managed to find time for a good, warm meal in between your duties. So, where does this inexplicable hunger come from? We explain.

Emotional hunger – what is it?

Emotional hunger is not dictated by the physiological need to eat. It is driven by completely different factors – emotions. The person who experiences it eats not to be satisfied, but to comfort or calm down. In such a situation, the impulse to reach for more snacks (despite the lack of physical hunger) are strong, usually negative emotions, for example anger, sadness, disappointment, anger. The pleasure of eating your favorite foods gives you a feeling of relief and allows you to forget about unpleasant sensations, at least for a moment.

Emotional hunger and physical hunger – how to distinguish them?

Physical hunger increases over time. It can be satisfied by consuming various dishes and foodstuffs. The signal to end consumption is the feeling of satiety (full stomach). There are no negative reactions to the food. How can you recognize emotional hunger? It appears suddenly and awakens the appetite for specific groups or types of products, for example favorite snacks, sweets, ice cream, chips (in this case, it all depends on individual preferences). However, their consumption does not result in a feeling of satiety (regardless of the number of portions eaten). A person stops eating only when he has achieved the intended goal – he will get rid of tension, calm down, calm down and relax. Afterward, he often feels guilty and ashamed of his behavior.

It is worth emphasizing, however, that food does not always have to serve as a comfort or “calming agent”. As psychologist and psychodietician Agata Głyda notes in one of her posts on social media:

“Interestingly, strong positive emotions can also cause overeating. “What is an important indication for us is that people who eat under the influence of emotions are not so much unable to cope with negative emotional states, but with emotional tension (positive or negative) in general.”

How to deal with emotional hunger?

To deal with emotional hunger, first of all, you need to look at yourself, do a little “examination of conscience” and answer the question: in what situations do I most often reach for my favorite snacks? It is also important to identify the emotions that accompany eating. An effective way to deal with emotional hunger is to find a method other than eating to eliminate internal tension. Meetings with a psychologist or psychodietitian may help with this. It is important to emphasize that emotional hunger cannot be ignored. The sooner we take appropriate steps to eliminate it, the better. Ignoring the problem may lead to deepening existing problems, as well as eating disorders such as bulimia.

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