Informational Articles

4 Signs Your Hunger Is Actually Just A Craving

How To Tell If You're Actually Hungry

KATHERINE DEMPSEY FOR MEN’S HEALTH

Calories tend to sneak down your gullet while you’re looking the other way. Those three sliders you just inhaled? You barely tasted or noticed them.

So try something new: mindfulness. Contemplate your eating—before, during, and after. In one study, people who scored low on mindfulness were 34% more likely to be obese than high scorers.

Step one is to know the difference between physical and emotional hunger:

Physical hunger:

  • Comes on gradually
  • Is felt in your stomach
  • Any food will do
  • Easy to satisfy

Emotional hunger:

  • Hits suddenly
  • Is a mental craving
  • Specific food desired
  • Hard to satisfy

If your hunger is physical, feed it with good fuel, like protein or vegetables. If it’s emotional, find three words to describe how you feel (bored, frustrated, tired) and find ways—a walk, chess, a hug—to deal, says Susan Albers, PsyD, author of Eating Mindfully.

When you do eat, avoid distractions like TV. Think about the food. Focus on the taste and texture. Chew slowly. Try using your nondominant hand.

And stop to take a breath between bites—maybe you’ve had enough. Those leftovers will taste great tomorrow.

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