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Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Emotional hunger vs actual hunger: Know the difference

"Emotional eating is when we are mentally exhausted and our mind needs fuel to deal with that stress and craves unhealthy foods," a nutritionist said

By: Lifestyle Desk | New Delhi |
August 10, 2021 8:00:37 pm
emotional hungerIn this situation, food works as a reward to the brain. “Recorded as rewards, our brain remembers what they feel like and seek it out,” stated Dr Sinha, adding that key to habit formation then becomes craving. (Source: Unsplash)

Do you often end up eating when you are feeling low, tired or stressed? Especially in the lockdown, we have experienced cravings during the day and indulged in unhealthy snacks to satiate our hunger pangs. But are we really hungry or just experiencing ’emotional hunger’?

Actor Sameera Reddy, who keeps giving her followers a peek into her fitness journey — from sharing her workout videos to inspiring people about body positivity, recently took to Instagram to talk about actual hunger vs emotional eating and how one can create a balance.

“Are you an emotional eater? People always talk about diets and healthy eating but to really get to the core of why it’s so hard to stay consistent is important! Over the last six months along with consistent exercise, I’ve lost almost 10 kgs and I’ve had to really dig deep into not eating from stress and mommy exhaustion. When you feel low and tired or negative there are certain cravings that kick in and I feel I’ve been able to balance it by being aware of what my food triggers are,” she wrote. Take a look.


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A post shared by Sameera Reddy (@reddysameera) 

Explaining it, health nutritionist and holistic wellness coach, Karishma Shah said, “When our body is in a state of stress, we tend to make wrong choices in terms of food. This is also when our bodies crave for more junk foods, sugars and fried foods. Emotional eating is also called mindless eating, since it is when we just shovel food inside our mouths. It is a way to combat our stress and find comfort.”

In other words, it is “when we are mentally exhausted and our mind needs fuel to deal with that stress and craves unhealthy foods,” she said

“Actual hunger, on the other hand, is when we smell food and we start to salivate and all our digestive juices are ignited and when our body sends signals to the brain that now it’s hungry and ready to take in food,” she told

How to manage emotional hunger?

Shah suggested ways to control emotional hunger.

*Relax and de-stress before eating
*Chew your food well
*Un-junk your pantry with healthy staples and snacking options
*Eat with your eyes to enjoy the colours, textures and flavour of the food
*Do not have any distractions while eating like sitting in front of a laptop, cell phone or television.

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