The Hungry Game

Hunger is one of the main obstacles to losing weight easily.  We all get hungry and that’s a fact, but the desire to eat may not always originate from body’s need for energy.

Sometimes, you want to eat simply by watching someone else eat or as soon as you walk by your favourite restaurant. Sometimes we eat because we are low in energy or have low blood sugar and sometimes we eat for social reasons, for pleasure, or just because we are bored.

Even how we feel hunger can be complex.  Some start to feel shaky or irritable when hungry and others may feel a slight discomfort in their abdomen.

There is a sophisticated interplay between our brain, body, psychology, and environmental cues that determines when and what we eat and how we feel hunger.

Here are a few reasons why someone may eat; and these have nothing to do with needing the energy that can be provided by food:

  1. Boredom.
  2. Feeling overwhelmed by anxiety or fear and needing a distraction.
  3. Out of habit.
  4. Social expectations. For example, socializing with friends that always comprises of eating food.
  5. Social traditions – eating cake at a birthday party is a good social tradition that we all happily engage in.
  6. Cultural influences – an example of this would be soothing a crying friend over a breakup, mostly depicted by eating from a bucket of ice cream. This is not true for every culture, but it is true at least in North America.
  7. Being conditioned from the young age to associate food with reward.
  8. Lack of sleep.
  9. Dehydration.
  10. Eating for pleasure.

By simply giving yourself a couple of minutes to stop before you eat, by asking yourself “what do I really need right now?”, and by giving yourself the permission to wait for the answer, can be a powerful method of controlling your urges to eat as opposed to being controlled by them.

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