Monday, February 14, 2011

Emotional vs. Physical Hunger


Thank you so much for your prayers! My first day working at Weight Watchers was great! I mainly observed what goes on behind the scenes, but I think it is going to be a great fit!!

This is the perfect day to review the notes from the Weight Watchers meeting last week!

Here is a summary of my Weight Watchers meeting February 8, 2011.

In the meeting room this week we talked about being able to identify the difference between emotional hunger and physical hunger. Let’s make it a goal this week to take the time to diagnose our hunger before it is too late. Below is a chart to help you do just that.

The Eight Traits of Emotional Hunger
Emotional and physical hunger can feel identical, unless you’ve learned to identify their distinguishing characteristics. The next time you feel voraciously hungry, look for these signals that your appetite may be based on emotions rather than true physical need. This awareness may head off an emotional overeating episode.
Source: Virtue, Doreen. Constant Craving A-Z. (Carlsbad, CA: Hay House, 1999).

Emotional Hunger
1. Is sudden. One minute you’re not thinking about food, the next minute you’re starving. Your hunger goes from 0-60 within a short period of time.
2. Is for a specific food. Your cravings are for one specific type of food, such as chocolate, pasta, or a cheeseburger. With emotional eating, you feel you need to eat that particular food. No substitute will do!
3. Is "above the neck." An emotionally based craving begins in the mouth and mind. Your mouth wants to taste that pizza or chocolate doughnut. Your mind whirls with thoughts about your desired food.
4. Is urgent. Emotional hunger urges you to eat NOW to instantly ease emotional pain with food.
5. Is paired with an upsetting emotion. Your boss yelled at you. Your child is in trouble at school. Your spouse is in a bad mood. Emotional hunger occurs in conjunction with an upsetting situation.
6. Involves automatic or absent-minded eating. Emotional eating can feel as if someone else’s hand is scooping up the ice cream and putting it into your mouth ("automatic eating"). You may not notice that you’ve eaten a bag of cookies (absent-minded eating).
7. Does not notice or stop eating, in response to fullness. Emotional overeating stems from a desire to cover up painful feelings. The person stuffs herself to deaden her troubling emotions and will eat second and third helpings, even though her stomach may hurt from over-fullness.
8. Feels guilty about eating. The paradox of emotional over eating is that the person eats to feel better and ends up berating herself for eating cookies, cakes, or cheeseburgers. She promises atonements to herself ("I'll start my diet tomorrow.")

Physical Hunger
1. Is gradual. Your stomach rumbles. One hour later, it growls. Physical hunger gives you steadily progressive clues that it’s time to eat.
2. Is open to different foods. With physical hunger, you may have food preferences, but they are flexible. You are open to alternative choices.
3. Is based in the stomach. Physical hunger is recognizable by stomach sensations. You feel gnawing, rumbling, emptiness, and even pain in your stomach with physical hunger.
4. Is patient. Physical hunger would prefer that you ate soon, but doesn’t command you to eat at that instant.
5. Occurs out of physical need. Physical hunger occurs because it has been four or five hours since your last meal. You may experience light-headedness or low energy if overly hungry.
6. Involves deliberate choices and awareness of the eating. With physical hunger, you are aware of the food on your fork, in your mouth, and in your stomach. You consciously choose whether to eat half your sandwich or the whole thing.
7. Stops when full. Physical hunger stems from a desire to fuel and nourish the body. As soon as that intention is fulfilled, the person stops eating.
8. Realizes eating is necessary. When the intent behind eating is based in physical hunger, there¹s no guilt or shame. The person realizes that eating, like breathing oxygen, is a necessary behavior.

So when hunger comes calling, the first thing to do is to identify whether or not it’s physical by looking for these signals. If it is, focus on those great Power Foods as our first line of defense, then use the strategies we talked about to make sure we’re eating to the point of satisfaction … the point that feels good!

Now we didn’t spend too much time on what to do if it’s not physical hunger. For that we have this week’s challenge located on the back of your WW Weekly. It suggests we add the phone numbers of friends who are most encouraging to our weight loss journey to our ‘speed dial’, so we can call them during times when our emotions send us to the fridge. I would even suggest making a list of 5 things you can do instead of eating when emotional hunger comes calling … post it on your fridge & at work, and use it! Next week I’ll ask what you listed or who you’ll call.
NEXT WEEK we’ll be making over our kitchens to support weight loss, so don’t miss the meeting.

In the mean time remember: “When hunger comes call, check the caller id before answering!” If you’re not physically hungry, then food is not the answer!


Trainer T.s Fitness said...

Great post!

Anonymous said...

This is awesome... Thanks Jen! (I'm down 10 lbs! yay!!)

Living a Changed Life said...

Thanks Ladies!!

Xanthex said...

great post ever!


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