The Hunger Games - Part 2 |Munchwize Cape Town

At Munchwize we know that it’s not easy to know the difference between physical and emotional hunger. When you have a craving for something sweet and gooey it could be because:

A) It is your stomach’s way of gently reminding you that it’s time to refuel or

B) A signal that you are bored and in need of a distraction.

Becoming an expert at decoding the meaning of your cravings can be tricky, but the more you increase your awareness, the easier it becomes.

Ask yourself the following 4 questions when you need to spot the difference between an emotional pull for comfort and a genuine physical need for nourishment from food. The good news is that with some practice, you can become an expert at decoding the meaning behind your cravings.

1.Do I want to eat to fuel and nourish my body so that I can make it through the day or am I looking for relief or a sense of safety/security through my food?

Focus on your body part that is needing attention, if your attention is going to your stomach and you check in with your hunger and it is real hunger, nourish your body with healthy food choices. If it isn’t your stomach satisfy those needs with non-food related methods. For example if it is your head that is seeking attention is it because you are bored and are in need of a distraction?

2. Am I eating in response to physical hunger (showing signs of physical hunger e.g. rumbling stomach, low energy, etc.) or am I feeling sad, happy, scared, frustrated, stressed or overwhelmed?

This is a great time to use a hunger scale. Ask yourself how hungry am I on a scale from 1-10?

3. Am I choosing nutrient rich foods or high sugar, high fat or salty foods?

A truly hungry person, will eat a large range of foods that will satisfy a rumbling stomach. Someone with an emotionally driven craving usually only craves a specific type of food or taste.

4. Am I building a healthy relationship with food?

Before taking that first bite, ask yourself how you will feel a directly after you finish. If it is a negative emotion, take a mental pause before eating. In today’s fast pace life, we do things to quickly without thinking before we jump in. Too often we wait until after we have eaten to check in with the emotional impact of what we consume. We need to eat more mindfully to help us build a healthy and balanced relationship with food.

Feel like you need a bit more help in decoding those cravings, book a session with a Regisitered Dietitian today!

That’s all for today from us here at Munchwize

For more nutritional advice, or any enquiries, contact Munchwize, Registered Dieticians in Cape Town.




Reference: Albers, S. April 2015. Emotional vs. physical hunger – 4 ways to know the difference.