Hunger: True & Emotional

When faced with the sensation of “hunger” during your journey, consider the possibility that it might not be true hunger. In our Western culture, what we call hunger is often the physical manifestation of an emotion that is asking to be “numbed” or comforted. If left alone and quietly observed, emotional hunger becomes an opportunity for immense growth. When that “hunger” sensation arises, mindfully keep your attention on it, and ask yourself: What am I really feeling? If it’s boredom, restlessness or any other emotion, truly allow yourself to feel it. You don’t have to wallow in unhappiness or negativity, but simply recognize what the true feeling is, and put a name to it.  Am I truly hungry or am I feeling anxious / nervous / sad / upset right now?

With a little effort, this exploration can help bring awareness to the difference between true hunger and emotional hunger. Understanding this distinction on a personal level can help stop the cycle of bad habits that lead to food cravings, weight  gain, and poor health.

Here is a useful way to determine if what you are feeling is true hunger:


  • Gradually arises
  • You’re open to different food options
  • Stomach Growling
  • Doesn’t have to be filled immediately
  • You stop when you’re full
  • You feel satisfied when finished 



  • Arises suddenly
  • Crave one particular food only
  • Little time past since last meal
  • Must be eaten right NOW
  • You keep eating even when full
  • You feel guilty, shameful or unsatisfied when finished.


  • Hydrate - water, water, water. This will help keep the bowels moving and flush out released toxins.
  • Switch it up - Get up, call a friend, go for a walk, clean the house, finish a project.

You may even feel the negative sensation change to a very pleasant one. The sense of empowerment that comes from this can be amazing. 


  • Snack Mindfully- eat in serene and distraction-free environments.

Raw Veggie sticks, hummus, apple slices, fresh green juice are all great options.

  • Chew- Aim to chew each mouthful of food 10-12 times before swallowing.

Bringing mindfulness to mealtimes improves digestion, allowing you to feel a sense of fullness without a need to overeat.

So now you know the difference.


Always in health

- Koach Keith


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