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SUSANHKS that was very helpful. Thanks everyone for the posts. This is something I stuggle with big time.
This question is very important and I don't think the answers so far reflect an appreciation of how critical this issue as it relates to overcoming emotional eating. To overcome emotional eating it is ESSENTIAL to learn to listen to your body in order to learn to differentiate between physical hunger and emotional hunger, not to listen simply to external rules about how long it should be between meals. When you are focusing on setting and following external rules about when you SHOULD eat, you are following a diet mentality.
I took the Shrink Yourself online course when I was 44 and learned there that I had never really understood the difference between physical and emotional hunger--- I often was not consciously feeling emotional when I was experiencing emotional hunger--- so I just thought I was hungry.
If you ate a good meal it is unlikely that you will get physically hungry within an hour, although it is possible if the meal had little fat or protein and you have been active. So yes, if it's only an hour, you should be skeptical that it's really physical hunger.
What helped me overcome emotional eating was that EVERYTIME I wanted to eat, no longer when I had last eaten, I paused and listened to my body. I felt in my stomach to see how full I was, whether there were any physical sensations of hunger in my stomach (physical hunger), or whether I just "wanted to eat" and felt the hunger in my mouth (emotional hunger tends to feel from the "neck up"). I'd check whether I was interested in eating healthy food like brocolli (a sign of physical hunger), or if only certain foods, usually sweet ones or fatty ones would do (a sign of emotional hunger.) I'd check whether I had the urge to eat quickly (another clue to emotiona hunger.)
Physical hunger comes on gradually and slowly. Emotional hunger comes on quickly.
Physical hunger can be satisfied by any food. Emotional hunger wants to be satisfied by something in particular.
Physical hunger is experienced in the stomach.
Emotional hunger tends to be felt above the neck, often the tongue or mouth "wants food."
Physical hunger doesn't tend to go away if you get busy or start having fun, you might not notice it for awhile, but when you check back in with your stomach, it is still there.
Emotional hunger can go away just as fast as it comes, without having eaten anything. So sometimes postponing eating is the thing to do-- often getting through an impulse to eat means you will then do fine. (Although sometimes emotional hunger can hang on for quite awhile if the emotional needs are still unmet.)
Here is one of many articles that further helps differentiate between the two:
SW 8/1/08 229.
Majormom7 hit it on the head.
Eat, enjoy and then get distracted. Water also helps.
I find after dinner if I have a big cup of hot tea while sitting in front of the TV it helps keep my mouth busy and I tend to forget about eating.
IFFFF I am truly hungry and you will know because your stomach will nag you and growl...I eat a bowl of cereal. It satifies me and does not seem to destroy my day even if it's a little over my calorie limit.
Good luck, we all struggle with this. YOU are not alone!!
Edited by: LINDALMC at: 7/5/2010 (20:17)
When I have enjoyed a meal & there is no way I can be physically hungry (no matter what it feels like) I do one of two things:
1) I tell myself that I have had enough food & my body does not require additional nourishment. And I listen! Self-talk helps a lot. I, also, tell myself that the next meal is in so many hours or minutes & certainly I can wait to enjoy whatever we are going to have.
2) I cave for a crisp carrot & enjoy the taste & texture to the max!
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Staying busy helps me because if I'm sitting around not doing nothing I tend to eat out of boredom. It's kind of like, a idle mind is the devils workshop.
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If it has only been an hour, it isn't physical hunger. Try doing some exercise and drinking a large glass of water. Some people chew sugarless gum to curb hunhger.
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Wow Capri everyone has all good advice. I would like to add. Sometimes when we think we are hungry what our body really wants and needs is water. So, yes have a glass of water.
What true hunger feels like. Is kind of like an empty feeling or a slight stomach ache right above your belly button.
Hope this helps.
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When I am weak he (God) is strong.
Here is what I have picked up. Keep yourself busy for another 1 hour go for a walk if you have kids play a board game or even do some house cleaning, Then if you are still have that feeling weather you are hungry or not drink an 8oz glasses of plain water and wait 20 min. If you are still hungry after that get you self a healthy snack. I find some kind of fresh veggie like celery or carrots maybe even some broccoli Just keep repeating that and it seem to help
Edited by: MAJORMOM7 at: 7/5/2010 (14:48)
" The ground work of all happiness is good health"-Leigh Hunt
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Jackie has given you some really good food for thought. I had a very satisfying lunch, but found my self craving something else to eat within an hour. Usually it is a bite of something sweet. I didn't give into it, but am still struggling with wanting something else! I often have to ask myself "is it hunger or habit?" Like, when I get in my recliner to watch a TV program, I want to eat! Purely a habit I have developed over time!! So, now my rule is to not eat in my chair, but to sit at the table anytime I choose to eat!
I am a very big emotional eater, I eat out of sheer boredom, frustration & stress, loneliness or fatigue etc; In answer to your question - HALT! Stop, take some deep breaths, distract yourself for 10 -15 minutes by doing something else, then re-evaluate. Is your tummy growling? Do you have a headache or do you feel light headed? If you have any of the physical signs of hunger, choose a "filling food", such as a piece of fruit or some veggies or some fat free dairy - which will sustain you longer and get you between meals better.
HALT - are you HURTING? are you ANGRY? are you LONELY? or are you TIRED? If so, HALT!! You are fixin to medicate your emotions with FOOD.
It's one day at a time, Capri and we are here for you.
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I have had that problem and still do from time to time. I now make a note of what time i ate and if it is less than 3 hours I will not eat anything. I believe I am being motivated by something other than true hunger. It may be habit or some trigger like foods I associate with good memeories for example there is now left over from a family holiday gathering which we hosted but someone else catered. both were favorites to prepare for my mom and grandmother who have been at rest with the Lord since the nineties. One bite of any food like this will make me feel like they are in the room with me. The relative who catered the event did not take the leftovers. So I have stored, until another family group comes, two cakes that my mom and grandmother used to make. It took me a while to figure out that this trigger was about. Also I find that there are situations which bring about eating such as feeeling that I should have Raisinettes in the movies , also popcorn and drink. It takes a lot of self exaination for me and is a relatively slow process. but it feels good to be making progress. I am sure you will too. I bekieve there are some articles in the Sparkpeople sight that address this. I just don't remember where I accessed them. I will search for them and refresh myself and send them to you .
The topic title pretty much says it. I ate lunch... ate a good sized lunch actually that was pretty healthy (small steps, it's the small steps)and over an hour later I THINK I'm still hungry.. but I don't know if it's just because I'm kinda bored and used to mindless snacking, or if I'm actually still hungry.
How do you figure out the difference between actually being hungry or just bored and used to the mindless snacking?
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