Are you hungry or do you just want to eat? There is a difference & it’s an important one.

If you’d rather listen to this blog than read it, please click here to listen.

I regularly remind my clients that there’s no food that is a good choice, from a fat loss perspective, when your body doesn’t need fuel.

If you eat when you’re not truly hungry and/or your body doesn’t need fuel, you’re giving your body extra, regardless of where that extra comes from (brownies, chips or carrots).

What happens to extra fuel? It’s stored.

Most of us have these internal dialogues…”It’s late. I’m bored. I’m not hungry but I want a snack. What I really want is ice cream but I’ll have a bar instead…it’s still sweet but better than a bowl of ice cream….

I get it. It’s logical. I’m all for making improvements, but the reality is, extra fuel is stored. It doesn’t matter where the fuel came from. If your body doesn’t need it, it gets stored.

To practice improvements here, create a habit of asking yourself this simple question:

Am I hungry or do I just want to eat?

I ask myself a similar question when I’m working out: Do I have to stop or do I just want to? One hundred percent of the time I don’t have to stop, I can keep going, I just want to stop because stopping is easier. That simple question helps me keep pushing.

But what if you don’t know? What if you aren’t sure if you’re truly hungry or you just want to eat?

It’s totally normal to struggle to know what’s true hunger. For example, you might feel that hunger sensation in your belly just a short while after eating and wonder how you can be hungry already. I try to think about it from a common sense perspective:

  • What did I eat last?
  • When did I eat last?
  • What have I been doing since then?
  • From a logical perspective, does it make sense that my body needs more fuel right now?

If I had a full meal a couple hours ago and I’ve been sitting in my office working since then, it’s very unlikely that my body needs more fuel.

When in doubt, wait it out.

Rate the hunger sensation on a scale of 1-10 and then do something else for 30 minutes. If you’re still thinking about food in 30 minutes, rate your hunger again before deciding if you want to eat.

If eating when you’re truly hungry (and not eating when you aren’t hungry) is something you need to work on, take a listen to these episodes of the Primal Potential podcast for specific strategies on improving your response to hunger and minimizing hunger all together! 

Episode 051: False Hunger & Real Hunger

382: The Relationship Between Hunger & Results

403: When Hunger & Satiety Signals Break

174: Hacking Hunger

137: Always Hungry?