Are you hungry right now? Do you want to have some snacks? Are you sure? Before you munch, ask yourself a few questions. The idea is to make sure you’re really hungry – that you need to eat to give your body energy. This is called being physically hungry. Sometimes people eat just because there’s more food on the table or because they’re tired or sad or bored.
When you ask yourself these questions before you chow down, you can find out if your body really needs fuel, or if you just feel hungry for other reasons.
Am I Really Hungry?
Before you eat, ask yourself these questions:
- Has it been a few hours since I last ate? Your body needs energy from food every few hours.
- Drink a glass of water. Wait for 20 to 30 minutes. Then ask yourself, “Am I still hungry?” Sometimes you may think you’re hungry. Then you drink a glass of water, and you realize you were just thirsty.
- Would a glass of milk or a piece of fruit make my hunger go away? Any food will help you feel better when your stomach is empty. If you’re not hungry enough to have a piece of fruit, then you can probably wait a while to eat. The apple test is the most common way to check if you are physically hungry or emotionally/mentally hungry.
Did you answer yes to any of these questions? If so, chances are you really do need to eat. If you answer no, you may not be physically hungry. You may be trying to fix another problem like feeling sad or stressed with food. But food can’t fix feelings.
What to do to feel better?
If you answered no to any of the questions about hunger, ask yourself these questions about hunger. They can help you figure out what you’re hungry and how to fix it.
- How do I feel? Bored? Angry? Sad? Lonely? Tired? Stressed? Overwhelmed? Afraid?
- What can I do to feel better? These things may help
- Play a game.
- Go for a walk.
- Read a book
- Ride a bike.
- Shoot some hoops.
- Call a friend.
- Talk to someone in the family.
- Start a thing that I’m avoiding such as cleaning the room, doing homework or practicing an instrument.
- Do something that requires a lot of brain power like hard, long-winded math calculations.
For the next few days, ask yourself these questions when you find yourself wanting a snack. If you find yourself often answers no to the hunger questions, you could be the kind of person who wants to fix feelings. But once you know that about yourself, you can learn to make other choices to feel better.
It may be hard when you first choose not to let your feelings drive you to eat. But keep practicing, you’’ feel so much better when you solve your problems in a healthy way and with no food. If you’re having difficulty managing your eating set an appointment with a dietician and behavior therapist.