We've all been there - start the diet Monday with a 'I got this' attitude but come 9.30am, all we're all about the biccies and chocolates stuffed in the drawer. Before you know it, one's popped in the mouth (well 1 won't do any harm will it?) that 1 turns into 3 and 3 turns into more. Just like that. All of our goodwill has gone out the window and we're left feeling dirty (like we've just cheated on our partner) and sad. Don't worry though because as us slimmers always say tomorrow is a brand new day & diet starts tomorrow........ (and so the cycle continues)...
I get it. I really do!
Yup. I've been there, done that and am here to tell you why we act like this!
There are 2 types of hungers that we feel.
> Psychological hungers
> Physical hungers
Physical hunger is usually pretty easy to spot. It affects us all differently and is the actual physical hunger you feel when your body needs nourishment.
It comes on gradually and any type of food will fill that physical hunger for you leaving you satisfied until you next feel your hunger.
For me, when I feel physical hunger (and there's different levels of physical hunger), I can like my stomach is empty. If I've left this feeling too long, I start to feel sick, weak and have a lack of energy.
Psychological hunger is completely different from physical hunger. It can be similar to what I talked about at the beginning of this post. You know - you have that good intention thing going on only for your brain to click in and start thinking about every and any kind of food. The strange thing about psychological hunger is that one minute you are concentrating on what you are doing and the next thing, all you can think about is this certain type of food that you want, that you desire and nothing will stop that thinking until you satisfy it with the food your mind is thinking about.
Usually with psychological hunger, you are left feeling ashamed, unbelievably full, guilty and lousy. The 'feeling good' part only lasts for while you are eating.
As explained, with psychological hunger, we often have a want, a need, a craving for a particular type of food such as pizza, chocolate, cheese. We think to ourselves that this hunger will be satisfied once we 'give in' to it and eat that food but this isn't always the case. More often than not, we will find that once we have 'given in' to our psychological hunger, it will return and because our brain has had a pattern of - feeling the hunger, us satisfying it, it will make it harder for us to resist (think of it like pattern or habit forming.
As I say to my clients - Cravings create cravings!
Next time you find yourself wanting to eat something ask yourself this:-
> Am I really hungry?
> Will this food satisfy my hunger?
> Will any kind of food satisfy this hunger?
(I always ask myself - Am I THAT hungry that I would eat peas and carrots to help me work out if any kind of food would do)
If the answer is NO to these questions, then you are experiencing psychological hungers
With psychological hungers, there can be an emotional reason why we turn to food. When we experience upset or discomfort in our lives, it's only natural for us to want to make it go away. Sometimes our emotions are hard to deal with and we may choose to keep them bottled up inside by stuffing the food down.
Emotional eating happens for a number of reasons but sometimes it can be related to how we experienced emotions as children.
When I was a child, I was given soup when I felt unwell. When I feel unwell as an adult, I turn to that exact same brand and flavour of soup to make me feel better.
When I was upset, my parents gave me chocolate to stop me from being upset. I turn to chocolate as an adult when I feel upset.
These are emotional links that I have made with food
Ask yourself this:-
What food do you turn to in times of emotional distress or upset?
How do you feel whilst eating that food?
How do you feel after?
There are lots of ways in which you can start to nip the psychological hunger in the bud. Answering the questions i posted in this blog is a great place to start but becoming aware of your hungers is another great way of helping yourself.
When you find yourself reaching out for that lil something something, Ask those questions but also notice what's happened for you to want that food.
Is there a connection between what you are doing, the food you are wanting and how you are feeling?
Is this a common connection?
Is you end behaviour usually that you end up eating the food you are wanting? if so, REMEMBER CRAVINGS CREATE CRAVINGS and just because you've satisfied this craving this time, doesn't mean it won't come back.
To learn more about Ally, please click here.
To purchase our 'Beating Emotional Eating' ME-Guide, please click here.
Alleyne is a qualified weight management counsellor, author and columnist.
> Affirmations for weight loss
> What sugar does to the body
> 10 tips for reducing stress
> How to cut back on sugar
>3 simple steps to self belief
>The power of pulses
>How to shift those last few lbs/Kgs
>Change your thinking to lose weight
>What is your self worth?
>What are you really hungry for?
>Are you in denial about denial?