Emotional hunger isn’t located in the stomach. Rather than a growling belly or a pang in your stomach, you feel your hunger as a craving you can’t get out of your head. You’re focused on specific textures, tastes, and smells. Emotional hunger often leads to regret, guilt, or shame.
It’s difficult to know the difference between physical and emotional hunger. Emotional eating is using food to make yourself feel better—eating to satisfy emotional needs, rather than to satisfy physical hunger.
Emotional hunger can’t be filled with food. Eating may feel good in the moment, but the feelings that triggered the eating are still there. And you often feel worse than you did before because of the unnecessary calories you’ve just consumed.
In recovery from Eating Disorder, it’s even more difficult to distinguish between the two levels of hunger. The Question I’m always asked is how can you tell the difference? Please find below a fabulous video from Castlewood Treatment Centre on 4 ways to rediscover emotional hunger vs physical hunger. As part of their “Balancing Nourishment and Pleasure Nutrition Program,” Castlewood Treatment Centre has utilized a unique 4-step process to help people determine whether a food craving, once it hits, is physical or emotional in nature. In the video Tammy demonstrates each step of the process. We hope you’ll find the video useful in your journey to recovery and healing.
Please do bear in mind, no matter how powerless you feel over food and your feelings, it is possible to make a positive change. You can find healthier ways to deal with your emotions, learn to eat mindfully instead of mindlessly, regain control of your life, and finally put a stop to emotional eating.