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The 3 Types of Hunger

The 3 Types of Hunger

Often times we eat due to hunger, however, that’s not the only driver for reaching for something to eat.

There are three main types of hunger:

“Stomach” Hunger – we have a physiological need for food.

“Mouth” Hunger – we want a particular texture, smell or taste (sweet, salty, crunchy, smooth, hot, cold etc.).

“Heart” Hunger – we are eating due to an emotion (positive or negative) or a learned response.

There are many different factors that influence our eating behaviours:

Environmental Triggers – food is everywhere, portions are large, so many choices etc.

Body Influences – lack of sleep, big gaps without eating, stress, inactivity etc.

Emotions/ Learned Behaviours – we have an association with food outside of hunger.

There are many different ways you can manage mouth and heart hunger:  

First, you want to set yourself up for success. This means don’t skip meals (eat every 3-4 hours) and always prioritize protein, fat and fibre to keep our blood sugar levels balanced.

Next, we want to make sure we get an adequate amount of sleep and rest.

Third, we want to move! Move our bodies daily!!

Additionally, we want to get sunshine and fresh air when we can, drink plenty of fluids and practice self-care including positive self-talk.

When trying to decrease eating as a reaction to an emotional response, be that boredom, anxiety, sadness, or even celebrations, I always preach to REDUCE & REPLACE.

We can’t just remove the behaviour; we need to reduce it slowly and then replace it with something else.  

Some strategies to help when cravings hit:

Nurture yourself, distract yourself, manage stress, positive self-talk, journal, assert yourself, drink water, change your environment, quit sabotaging yourself, stop unwanted thoughts, meditation, and try to solve your problem. (This list is not exclusive)

Over the next few weeks, try to pay more attention to why, how, when, and what you are eating. Once patterns are recognized, the next step is to break the learned response.