Do you really need that cheesy bread?  Or are you just stuffing down some unbearable emotions?  Read these clues to discover whether you eat emotionally, or because you are truly hungry.Emotional Hunger:


1.Is sudden…
One minute you’re not even thinking about food, the next minute you’re starving.

2.Is specific…
You crave a specific food like pasta, chocolate, or a cheeseburger.  You have trouble substituting the food for something else. 

3.Starts in the mouth and mind…
Your mouth wants to taste the food and your mind wanders through thoughts about your desired food. 

4.Is urgent…
Emotional hunger urges you to eat now.  There is a desire to instantly ease emotional pain with food. 

5. Is paired with an upsetting emotion…
You’re having roommate conflicts.  Your grades are suffering.  Emotional hunger is in conjunction with stress or emotional situations. 

6. Involves automatic or absent minded or automatic eating…
You may not realize that you have eaten a whole bag of cookies. 

7. Doesn’t respond to fullness…
May stem from a desire to cover up painful feelings.  You stuff yourself to deaden emotion and may eat so much that their stomach may start to hurt. 

8. Feels guilty…
The paradox of emotional eating is that the person eats to feel better, and then berates him or herself for eating.

Physical Hunger

1. Is gradual…
Your stomach rumbles.  One hour later, it begins to growl.  You have progressive clues that you’re hungry.

2. Is open to different foods…
You may have food preferences, but they are flexible. 

3.Starts in the stomach…
Your hunger starts from stomach sensations.  You feel gnawing, rumbling, emptiness and even pain in your stomach with physical hunger.

4. Is patient…
Physical hunger would prefer that you ate soon, but doesn’t command you to eat right at that very instant.

5. Happens out of physical need…
Hunger occurs because it has been 3 or 4 hours since your last meal.  You may have light headedness or low energy if you’re extremely hungry.

6. Involves deliberate choices and awareness…
You are aware of the food on your fork, in your mouth, and in your stomach.  You can make the choice whether to eat half of your sandhich or the whole thing.

7. Stops when full…

Physical hunger stems from a desire to fuel and nourish the body.  As soon as that intention is fulfilled, then you stop eating.

8. Realizes eating is necessary…
When the intent behind eating is based in physical hunger, there is no guilt or shame associated with the eating.