What Type of Hungry Are You?


Do you ever wonder why some days you eat a meal and move on, while other days all you can think about is eating? That’s because hunger, or your physical need to eat is being mistaken with appetite, a desire to eat. In terms of losing, gaining, or maintaining weight, it is beneficial to decipher what your body and brain are really saying by understanding the different types of hunger.

Real Hunger (most important type)- tells you when you must eat!
  • Gives you physical signs like shakiness from low blood sugar, headaches, low energy, and/or grumbling stomach
  • Can also cause fuzzy thinking and irritability- “hangry”
  • Eat right when you experience these symptoms to avoid becoming ravenous
Afternoon Hunger
  • Your energy starts to dip and you are anticipating the end of the work day. It also may start to become real hunger if it’s been a few hours since lunch
  • To avoid this afternoon crash and a trip to the vending machine, plan for it! Make a snack drawer at work filled with protein packed choices. Protein has been found to tide people over longer until dinner. Try nuts/seeds, cheese, or stash some greek yogurts in the office fridge
Stress Hunger
  • We’re less picky about what we eat when we’re stressed, which can lead to careless eating
  • Stop and focus on the future health benefits of your chosen snack. This can help your brain “override” its natural urge to make poor choices while in that stressed out frame of mind
  • Find a different go-to stress reduction habit, like going outside for a walk
Head Hunger- not hungry or tired, but still want to eat something
  • Ask, “what am I asking the food to do for me?”
  • You may be trying to use it as a procrastination tactic, or you want to take a break and eating feels productive.
  • Boredom. Think of boredom as relaxation time. List 5 easy ways to relax, 5 places you can go that you feel at ease, or 5 people you can connect with. When boredom strikes, pull out the list and pick one!
Eye Hunger
  • Eating because it’s there and you “might as well take one”. Pause before you act; put a stop to the automatic habit of taking a treat without thinking or enjoying.
  • Then, make a decision: skip it, or eat it. If you do choose to eat it, make sure to stop, relax and give yourself permission to enjoy it.
  • Feeling guilty makes us eat really fast to get it over with, and then we want to eat more to soothe the guilt. Letting yourself enjoy one cookie is much better than guiltily inhaling.
Celebration Hunger
  • Eating out with friends and family for a special occasion is a good thing! Food has an amazing ability to bring people together.
  • However, don’t indulge every time there’s a need for a celebration. Next time get a pedicure with some friends or go shopping and treat yourself to a new pair of shoes.

Checking in with yourself to see what type of hungry you are can go a long way with staying on track with your goals and feeling your best!!

Tara Collingwood
Tara is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition, fitness, and health promotion and is quoted in a variety of media including television, radio, newspapers, magazines, and websites.

Comments are closed.