Of course, when we’re hungry, we want to eat. But what if we aren’t really hungry, but just want to eat? That’s okay right? Well, yes, but not if it gets out of hand to the point you’re eating past being comfortably full. Are you wanting to eat because you’re bored? Or celebrating a job promotion with friends? Or maybe you’re not sure if might actually be hungry or bored?


Here’s the deal. When we can’t hear physical hunger cues, we become more susceptible to giving into emotional eating. Some call it binge eating and others call it food addiction. What ever you call it, it’s basically faux hunger. This can get out of control for some people, eating past being full and consuming an excess unhealthy amount of calories. Some people experience a complete loss of control, not being able to stop or never feeling satisfied. This could be a way of filling a void.


Here are some tips to identify emotional hunger vs. physical hunger:

  • Emotional hunger comes abrupt, suddenly. Physical hunger builds gradually, not jumping to feeling starved.
  • Emotional eating is mindless. This explains the amount of popcorn we eat in a movie theater.
  • Emotional hunger is mental, fantasizing about foods or suddenly craving something after seeing it on TV. Physical hunger is felt, in the stomach, with growling or nausea.
  • Emotional hunger is a craving for a specific food. Physical hunger is craving for food in general.
  • Emotional hunger is hard to satisfy, making it hard to stop. Physical hunger is satisfied, feeling full.


To test if you’re physically hungry or just emotionally hungry, wait awhile and see if you’re able to manage. If you’re extremely hungry and obsessively thinking about it, chances are, you’re just emotionally hungry. Also, think about the last time you ate. Has it been awhile?


Here’s a tip if you’re struggling with cravings and emotional hunger. Drink some chamomile tea, something comforting. Sometimes feeling comforted is enough to fill a void we’re trying to fill. There’s a possibility you might be bored, so switch your attention onto something else. Maybe exercise! Sometimes doing something pleasurable will get your mind of that hunger.


If you or a loved one is struggling with emotional eating or food addiction, please contact a medical professional at Crownview Medical Group for some advice.