Why We Crave Food and How to Tame Our Cravings

Your hunger sometimes seems a very strange thing – one day you have your regular meals and move on, and the next day you may eat nonstop consuming all the food you can find in the fridge.

What’s the difference between hunger and appetite, and how to satisfy the former and control the latter?

Afternoon hunger

Girl pondering over what to get from the vending machine

This type of hunger has a direct link to afternoon fatigue one feels at work. Your battery is low, but the time hangs so heavy that the only thing you can think of to help pass the remaining hours is to stroll down the hall to the vending machine. Luckily, this type of hunger is easy to fight – or trick – but you need to get prepared in advance. Stash a healthy protein-loaded snack like nuts or load your office fridge with a pack of Greek yogurts.

Bored hunger

Bored man spooning food from a bowl

It’s the most dangerous, destroying, and hard-to-get-rid-of hunger type. We’ve got nothing to do and start checking what’s in the fridge all the time, not suffering from real hunger, but consuming hundreds of excess calories. If you’re bored or tired try to relax and make some plans for the future, call your friends, or read a book instead.

Eye hunger

Kid sneaking food off the table

This hunger is the most automatic one, as we never even think of it. We come into the room and take a cookie just because it’s there, not taking into account the calories that we get from this extra meal. The decision is simple yet effective – always stop to think of what you’re doing before doing it. Remember that one cookie won’t do you much harm, but if you make it a routine to take them several times a day it won’t do any good either.

Mental hunger

Girl eating chocolate while studying in kitchen

Hungry? No. Tired? Not yet. And yet, you feel an urge to eat something. But why? What need do you want to dumb down by eating? Try to analyze your state and account for the actual reason for your hunger. More often than not you will come to realize you are just unwilling to start this project or study for a test. And if that is the case, take a short break or drink some water to replenish your strength. But if you decide that you need to use this break for a snack, by all means do.  

Party hunger

Top view of group of people having dinner together

A dinner out with friends or a family reunion accompanied by a sumptuous meal – or just a buttercream cake, a pizza, whatever. Food is known to connect people better than any conversation topic, but it is not the only thing you have gathered for. To fight party hunger, arrange a meeting in a place where there is no tables or no food whatsoever. Take a walk through the town, replace your bestie’s birthday party with a mani-pedi – it will be just as fun, but not at all heavy on your stomach.

PMS hunger

Girl desperately craving dessert

Gals, don’t let these few uncontrollable days of the month break the healthy diet pattern you’ve been keeping to for so long! Analyze your hunger and eat more, if you really want it, but only if you really DO want a bite. Satisfying your body’s natural needs will help you restore balance very soon.

Real hunger

Hungry child eating spaghetti

Real hunger is the most vital type of hunger which tells you your stomach is really empty and needs filling up. The symptoms that indicate you’re suffering from real hunger are shakiness, headache, or stomach rumble. Although it’s seemingly easy to understand you’re hungry and take necessary measures people often ignore these simple sings sent by their bodies. Be careful – always have a snack in your bag to avoid unpleasant or even dangerous consequences.

TV hunger

Woman eating while watching a movie

 TV hunger as well as other types of hunger we’re going to discuss is more about persistent appetite than about actual sickness. Remember how you usually watch TV – do any snacks accompany you during the process? Break this vicious circle and have a square meal beforehand; while you’re enjoying your favorite movie make sure your hands are busy with something like knitting or drawing.

Stress hunger

Stressed-out woman and her cat eating at night straight from the fridge

When it comes to food, stress makes people forget about pickiness, and here you are, stuffing yourself with anything you can find in the fridge. One way to fight binge eating is to have only healthy snacks within reach, but in this case you’ll have to stock up on them before you are stressed out, and it is quite hard to predict when you will lose the nerve. Another way is to research into alternative anti-stress techniques. However, if food seems to be the only thing that helps to set you at ease, remember that 2013 study that proved that people who indulged in eating while stressed out, tended to eat less when they were okay, and did not gain weight, so you probably won’t either.

Be scrupulous about your meals, and you’ll soon learn to distinguish between real hunger and its fake versions!

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