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Why We Eat When Not Hungry and How to Stop it?

Listen to “Why We Eat When Not Hungry and How to Stop it?”.


Let’s face it: sometimes, we’re guilty of eating when we’re not actually hungry. It’s not easy to know the difference between physical and emotional hunger. When you have a craving for something sweet and gooey like a chocolate chip cookie or a cinnamon roll, it could be:

– Your stomach’s way of gently reminding you that it’s time to refuel 

-A signal that you are bored and in need of a distraction.

Of course, if people only ate because their bodies needed calories, things would be simple. But that’s not the case.

People “don’t eat necessarily because of the signals that govern our energy stores. Rather, sometimes, you just want food. You can call that hunger, but the reason for that “hungry” feeling appears to have much more to do with seeking pleasure than with needing calories.

Two Powerful Questions to help you change the way you think about emotional and mindless eating:

1) “Am I using this food or am I eating this food?”

2) What’s really bothering me? What am I really hungry for?

Awareness is key to stopping yourself from eating when you’re not hungry. When you identify your triggers and start dealing with them authentically – without food – weight loss becomes a lot easier. Eating mindfully has been shown to decrease hunger and increase feelings of fullness. It can also reduce calorie intake and help prevent binge eating. 

Start by eating just one meal without distractions each day. Sit at the table. Focus on the food and your feeling of fullness. If you can, increase this habit to two meals or more each day. You may eventually get better at recognizing your body’s signals that you’re full and stop overeating.

Don’t leave snacky food in accessible places.

If your house has sweets and biscuits, you’ll eat them because they are easy. If you have to cook a chicken, you won’t bother unless you are really hungry.Get rid of all food that doesn’t require cooking or preparation.

But it’s also important to be careful about certain foods. Zero-calorie sweeteners, for example, can confuse fullness signals and trick your brain into thinking you haven’t eaten much when you actually have, thus leading you to eat more. There is much debate among health experts about the effects of these sweeteners in the body. For example, although they may help people control their blood sugar levels, evidence is mixed on whether they help people lower their calorie intake or lose weight. 

Another food group to be careful about is ultra processed foods, which are loaded with fat and sugar. People don’t just eat for calories, they eat for pleasure, but foods like these can drive the brain to want more of them, essentially overpowering the normal fullness signals firing in the brain. Ultra processed foods are those that, in addition to sugar, salt, oils and fats, include additives like emulsifiers, flavors and colors — think potato chips or frozen pizza.

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