We are raised to eat 3 meals a day- breakfast, lunch and dinner. Morning, moon and night. Regardless of how hungry you feel, it’s a natural habit to eat, so we have lost our sense of hunger and how to truly tell if we are hungry. We also eat when we are stressed or tired or socializing. We have learned to associate food with so many things, other than actual hunger cues from our body. Therefore, until you have retrained your body, you may have to really consider whether you are genuinely hungry or if it’s something else.
There are seven types of hunger that have been identified. Let’s go over each type and talk a bit about how you can ensure you feed that hunger without overeating.
- Eye Hunger
When you see good food, your eyes can see something they like so much that your eyes cause your brain to signal to your stomach that you need more food. The problem is, sometimes it’s just your eyes and you’re not really in need of food.
You’ve heard the saying, “My eyes were bigger than my stomach.” This fits here. When we first see food, that’s how we decide what we want and how much we want.
- Nose Hunger
Know how you can start out walking around the mall and not feel hunger but within a few moments of the sights and smells you’re suddenly craving a Cinnabon? To feed this hunger, fix fragrant foods.
You can also add essential oils to your day to feed this type of hunger.
- Mouth Hunger
If you look at good food and your mouth waters, it’s a sign that you may be hungry. What makes your mouth happy is usually a good combination of fat, salt, and sugar. Instant food manufacturers and restaurants know exactly how to do this. You can do it too but on a smaller scale to avoid overeating.
Make all your food taste good, and you’ll satisfy this type of hunger.
- Stomach Hunger
Even sometimes when you feel your tummy growl, it’s not really hunger. If your body is used to a certain schedule, you’ll notice that it gets hungry on that schedule.
This is proof that stomach hunger alone is not enough to truly mean real hunger. In this case, it’s important to look back at what you have consumed thus far, when you plan to have your next meal, and then decide whether to go ahead and eat or to wait.
Stomach hunger alone is not enough to give you the go-ahead to eat.
- Cellular Hunger
The last time your body really knew real hunger, you were probably an infant. Your body was great at signaling when it needed food, water, or something else. After spending years ignoring it, the body starts sending mixed signals. It may think it’s hungry when it’s thirsty.
The best thing to do is again, look at what you’ve had to eat thus far, when your next planned meal is, and address whether you’re hydrating enough. If you are truly hungry due to a need, eat something healthy.
- Mind Hunger
This happens when the clock strikes noon and you haven’t eaten lunch yet, even though you just ate breakfast at 10 am.
When you go through life, you’re stuck on the clock of the world and not your real internal clock. In fact, your internal clock has no idea what is going on. Because of this, again, if you feel hungry during a time when something has influenced it like a clock, a commercial, or a thought, think about what you have eaten when the next meal is planned, and how much you’ve drunk.
- Heart Hunger
This is a special type of hunger that you should fill occasionally. It’s all about the feelings about the food you have from growing up. Mom’s apple pie, Granny’s roast beef – whatever it is that brings these wonderful thoughts to your mind, emotional eating happens due to heart hunger.
If you are experiencing this, go ahead and enjoy if it’s the right time – for example, Christmas – but the rest of the time focus on what you really need, which is a connection with friends and family.
None of these types of hunger are inherently wrong.
When you totally understand the different types of hunger, you can ensure that the food you eat, and the way that you eat it, fulfills these cues and ends unneeded hunger signs. After all, eventually your body will trust you again to feed it when it’s hungry.