What Does Hunger Have To Do With Eating? Emotional Eating Help

If you struggle with emotional eating, the question about hunger probably doesn’t enter the picture much. When I am meeting with a client about emotional eating, binge eating or food addiction, they will recount their latest eating episode and I will ask them “were you hungry?”. I have had more than one client respond with, “what does hunger have to do with it?”. More often than most people would like to admit, hunger rarely coincides with eating. We become so out of touch with our hunger and fullness signals, we don’t know if we are coming or going when it comes to eating. The vast majority of my clients seem terrified by hunger. They continually eat throughout the day and never experience any hunger sensations. My question to you is, if you are eating when you aren’t hungry, how do you know when to stop? You don’t. That is probably a big part of this problem, right? This is how we come to have prescribed eating times for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It is also why we tend to judge our fullness based on whether there is any food left. This is why eating out of a package is kryptonite to the emotional eater.

Why is hunger so scary? I think people become afraid of hunger for two reasons. First, if we don’t have food constantly distracting or numbing us, we have to feel uncomfortable emotions. We don’t feel equipped to do this, so it is much easier to stay numb. Second, if there was ever a scarcity of food either due to poverty or forced dieting in childhood, unconsciously, we vow never to feel that deprivation again. These are both very powerful connections made in our brains that lead us to overeat on a regular basis. If these issues sound familiar, give us a call. We have proven techniques to help break those connections in the brain to give you freedom from your emotional eating prison!

Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis has a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Weber State University and a Master's degree in Social Work from the University of Utah. She has been working in the mental health field since 2001.

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