Researches in this area show that, most often, you gain weight not because of feelings of physical hunger, but rather because of the emotional hunger and the defiance of the rules of proper nutrition.
You can suffer from â€śemotional eatingâ€ť not just because of the stress.
Emotional eating is a â€śhidden factorâ€ť, which becomes very important when you want to lose weight. It is important that when you start trying to lose weight, you take into account the causes which led to gaining weight: you were physically hungry and you ate more, or because of emotional eating.
Stress can stop appetite or vice versa can enhance it. Cortisol, the hormone released in excess in case of stress, may increase appetite and motivation to eat. It seems that the foods that are high in sugar and fat are likely to inhibit some parts of the brain responsible for emotions incurred in case of stress.
How to recognize emotional hunger?
We are not always eating just to satisfy hunger, but also for the sense of comfort, stress relief, or as a moral reward. We can eat because of emotions, but the emotional hunger and eating do not resolve the problem itself, and here we end up with adding extra weight.
You are an emotional eater, if:
â€˘ you eat more when you feel stressed out;
â€˘ you eat even when you are not hungry;
â€˘ you eat to feel better (whether you are sad, bored);
â€˘ you are morally rewarding yourself with food;
â€˘ you perceive some foods as your best â€śfriendsâ€ť etc.
What is the difference between emotional hunger and physical hunger?
Emotional hunger can be quite strong and easily confused with physical hunger. However, there are some clues that can help to make the difference:
â€˘ Emotional hunger always hits you suddenly, as opposed to the physical hunger, which occurs gradually.
â€˘ Emotional hunger craves for specific foods. When speaking about physical hunger, any food sounds good; while the emotional hunger requires certain foods that provide you with a feeling of great pleasure.
â€˘ Emotional hunger often leads to inappropriate nutrition. You realize it too late that you ate too much.
â€˘ Emotional hunger is not located in your stomach. It is actually â€śsituatedâ€ť in your mind. Moreover, you get â€śstuckâ€ť on certain dishes, with intense tastes and flavours.
â€˘ Emotional hunger often causes feelings of regret and self-blame, unlike the physical hunger.