When we think of hunger, we always tend to think that it is about nourishing our bodies so that they may continue to flourish. But we don’t realise it is about much more than just satisfying an instinctual urge within us. Once we become aware of this we can know how to stop comfort eating.
What is hunger?
Simply, it’s our bodies that signal to us we need to consume something in order for us to stay nourished and very basically, alive. Hunger is a basic human need that needs to be satisfied in order to ensure our survival. It is also defined as being what happens to us when our bodies require energy. This happens because our brain reads changes in hormone levels and nutrients in the bloodstream.
What we may not realize though is that we can have different reactions to this feeling of hunger and this is what can cause us to overeat or even consume the wrong foods. This is why it is important to understand the types of hunger that exist if we want to know how to stop comfort eating.
This is classified as the most important kind of hunger because it is survival hunger. We feel this type of hunger when our bodies are in need of nourishment and our blood sugar levels have significantly dropped. This is signaled by things like feeling dizzy or shaking quite a bit or having a headache or even feeling your stomach grumble.
The danger in this hunger is letting it get to the point of the symptoms mentioned above because usually when it reaches this stage you will likely just grab whatever you can get your hands on which is not the greatest because this can lead you to eat more than what your body actually requires. We over compensate all the time.
How to Stop Comfort Eating – Know the other hungers related to our senses
1 Touch Hunger
Sometimes it feels so good to eat with our hands. Some people love to touch food imagine eating a pizza with knife and fork or popcorn with a spoon? We are often to attracted to eating by touching it. How about you? This is a huge one for me, I often crave eating with my hands I love tortilla wraps and food you dip.
2 Eye Hunger
This refers to the visual appeal of food that grabs your attention. Perhaps you are walking through the supermarket and spot a brightly coloured rainbow cake and you think, ‘WOW’. Or you are walking past a restaurant that serves giant pizza slices and you catch a glimpse of one with all the right toppings.
What tends to happen here though is that our eyes trick our stomach into cooperating even if we are not feeling physically hungry. Perhaps you just ate a healthy salad and are satisfied when you see that delicious looking red velvet slice staring at you. If it looks good enough we will convince ourselves we need to taste it, hungry or not. And if we are not hungry, this is considered overeating and, with the wrong type of food to boost our systems.
It’s often why when we feel full at a dinner party and stop eating, 10 minutes later we are eating desert, see the cake makes us feel compelled to have it.
3 Sound Hunger
Hearing a sizzle on a grill or the frying of something is enough to ignite our mind’s interest in an item of food even if were full. A lady Helen I worked with started noticing this with her children, the sound of them opening a box of cereal and pouring them into the bowl and sloshing around with the milk and spoon clinking made her crave cereal. She also noticed that she always wanted crisps when she heard crisp packets being popped open and crunched on.
Just like with eye hunger sometimes our ears too can trick our stomach into playing along. If you find yourself distracted too much by the sound of foods being cooked, play some music or tune into your body are you really hungry or triggered by the sound. If you are not in a good place with your eating right now sometimes we need to get out of the space until we are feeling strong in our selves. Many who get my healthy eating audio set remove the sounds hunger by using the self-love and healthy eating meditation if triggered or listening to the material when preparing the food. Because it is really easy to overeat when something sounds really appetizing in its preparatio
4 Smell hunger
This is another type of hunger that appeals to our senses, this time being smell which is a stronger sense. Smell hunger is like the next best thing to actually eating because you are smelling the item and imagining how it tastes, especially if you already know what it tastes like. This is an especially dangerous hunger when you are even slightly hungry and decide to do grocery shopping because the stores love to ensure that you smell freshly baked bread when you walk in. Some also sell cooked food and this can make us hungry and buy foods we wouldn’t normally go for. Your grocery list is likely going to be influenced by the smells you are experiencing and wanting to taste if you are hungry.
Do you smell food when you shop or smell the food when you prepare a meal?
Knowing about how your senses create hunger can be very empowering in how to stop comfort eating as you can make sure your food looks and smells good so you feel satisfied at meal times and don’t emotionally eat.
When it comes to emotional eating help you can support yourself also by removing yourself away from situations and temptation if you are feeling fragile and may turn to binge eating all day or night.
I hope this has been useful to you? Do check out my emotions and eating podcast by searching emotions and eating with nicola beer in youtube, itunes or spotify.