1. Am I truly hungry?
This is a very important first question, because so many people eat for reasons other than hunger or they don’t know what true hunger feels like. Those who are naturally thin understand the concept of hunger well and it is one of their most important secrets for staying slim.
If you ask yourself the question “Am I truly hungry?” and the answer is “Yes”, then enjoy eating! But if the answer is “I’m not sure”, this is a good time to inquire and pay attention to your body. If you are really hungry, your body will let you know in no uncertain terms as time progresses. If you are not 100% sure you are hungry, ask yourself some of the following questions.
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2. Where is the hunger coming from?
If the idea that you want to eat originates in your mind, then it may be a craving instead of hunger. If the thought of that Oreo sounds so good and you can’t get it out of your mind, then it’s probably a craving. You may notice that there are emotions attached to that Oreo as well. When it’s a craving, you must have THAT particular food.
If the feeling is coming from your mouth, then there’s a good chance that you are thirsty instead of hungry. Try a nice big glass of water and that may do just the trick. If a little while later you find that the feeling is coming from your stomach, then it’s time to eat.
3. What physical signals do I have?
Hunger begins with physical signals. Your body tells your mind that you are hungry. Remember that cravings are usually the reverse - your mind telling your body. Hunger signals usually come from your stomach, such as growling or pain. For some people, their signs could be headaches, lightheadedness or irritability. If you feel these physical signals clearly, then it’s time find something you love to eat and enjoy!
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4. Is this hunger or just a habit?
Often what we think is hunger is really just a habit. “It’s my lunch break, so I’d better eat.” “I’m sitting on the couch watching TV, so I’ll grab a snack and enjoy.” Next time you are looking at the clock or in routine situations and you find yourself going for the food without thinking, stop and pay attention to your body’s signals to make sure you are eating because you are truly hungry.
5. What do I really need?
Sometimes what we really need is actually not food at all. We get stressed or tired and we eat because we think the food we are craving will make us feel better. Eating can also be a means of escape. We get engrossed in munching and numb out situations or feelings that are too overwhelming for us at the moment. The pleasure or escape that the food provides us, however, is only temporary and often we feel worse both emotionally and physically after the binge.