Let’s be honest. We all eat when we’re not hungry from time to time.
Whether we’re stressed at work, anxious about a job interview, bored while watching T.V or even just to cheer us up. These are all emotional reasons for eating and it’s perfectly fine once in a while.
It’s when it becomes a habit that it becomes a problem.
Well, intermittent fasters, you’re in luck. Yet another upside to intermittent fasting is that it can gradually retrain your brain to not only know the difference between emotional eating and real hunger, but also to build a newly formed habit of only eating when you’re actually hungry.
And this is done all without you even having to try.
How Do You Tell the Difference Between Emotional Hunger and Real Hunger?
- You can spot real hunger a mile away because it comes on gradually and in waves which become more intense over time.
- Emotional hunger hits you very quickly. Most often in response to a situation and the emotion that situation brings up and is an attempt to dull or numb that emotion.
What Am I Hungry For?
Have you ever noticed when you’re having fun, or you’re really engrossed in something you love doing, you can just forget about food? That’s because you’re completely content in that moment. You don’t need anything.
Well the opposite can happen when we experience negative emotions.
Every time you go to grab a snack on your non-fasting days or you feel the urge to cave during a fast ask yourself “What am I hungry for?”
You might say to yourself…. a chocolate chip cookie!
Then ask yourself again… ‘But what am I really hungry for” and see what comes to mind.
The answer that pops up might be more like “For some attention. I’m feeling lonely”, or “For something to do, I’m so bored.” Try to find out what’s really bothering you. More often than not the food is just filling that void.
So before giving up on your fast, or mindlessly snacking try going for a walk, have a break or go and do something fun for a few minutes and then see how you feel afterwards.
Now, I’m all about making life easy so if there’s a quicker, easier way to do something I’ll take it every time. Well here goes…
That’s right. Once you’ve been intermittent fasting for a while (as long as you’re doing it the right way of course) you’ll notice that on your non-fasting days you can be more calm and relaxed around food and the urge to impulse eat can disappear.
You’ll find you won’t have the sudden urge to grab something to eat when you’re in any of those situations mentioned above. Food won’t seem to be the right thing to fill that void anymore and you’ll be more likely to actually recognise how you’re feeling and why, and then if you can, do something to change it. Don’t just numb it with food.
If it’s just as simple as doing something else for a few minutes instead of eating a cookie then that can make a huge difference to your health and you weight.
So that’s yet another positive side effect of intermittent fasting. Keep up the good work fasters.