Dreamers: Are We Hungry or Just Emotionally Hungry?

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emotional hunger is cravings

My dream objective is to conquer my issues around food and eat healthy and take care of myself as a sign of self-love. My biggest issue is understanding the difference between emotional hunger and physical hunger.

Here is some research I found that discusses the differences between emotional hunger and physical hunger.

Emotional hunger verses physical hunger

  • Emotional hunger comes on suddenly, physical hunger is gradual.
  • When you are eating to fill a void, you crave a specific food, and only that food will meet your need. When you eat because you are hungry, you are open to options.
  • Emotional hunger feels like it needs to be satisfied instantly with the food you crave, physical hunger can wait.
  • Even when you are full, you are more likely to keep eating.
  • Emotional eating leaves behind feelings of guilt.

Comfort foods

One of the distinguishing characteristics is the focus on a particular food, usually a comfort food. Comfort foods are foods a person eats to obtain or maintain a feeling. Comfort foods are often wrongly associated with negative feelings – comfort foods are also consumed to maintain good feelings.

Ice cream is the number one comfort food.

Here are some different tools to use in your quest to overcome emotional eating –

  • Recognize when you are doing emotional eating.
  • Use a food journal and rank your hunger from 1 – 10 each time you put something in your mouth. This will bring any emotional eating to light if you are eating for reasons other then hunger.

How do I manage emotional eating, since it is clear to me that ice cream is my favorite food?

I recommend the following –

  • Make a list of things to do when you get the urge to eat when you’re not hungry and carry it with you.
  • When you feel overwhelmed, put off the desire by doing another enjoyable activity.
  • Take a walk.
  • Call a friend.
  • Play cards.
  • Clean your room/house/apartment/kitchen/car.
  • Do laundry or something productive to take your mind off the craving – even take a nap.

Emotional eating is something that most people do when they are bored, happy or sad. Learning how to control it and using moderation will be key to my success.


Veronica left 8 Women Dream in December 2010 an accomplished dreamer who successfully completed two dreams while with 8 Women Dream

  • Heather, the e-commerce builder

    I can totally relate to the emotional element of filling the void. I try to go for quality rather than quantity when I’m really watching my intake. Otherwise I am an expert shoveler. I also have this great old ad from a fitness magazine that shows a donut shop – with little signs in each one showing how many hours of cardio it takes to burn each donut off!

    Keep rating that hunger and perservere.

  • Kim, the traveler

    The worst thing about emotional eating for me is that I get to the point where I don’t even taste or enjoy the food. When I’m hungry food is much more enjoyable. This is the most frustrating thing in my life!!

  • Wendy

    Great post! It is funny how in our society it is so easy to be an emotional eater. So much is available! Like Remy, I seem to fall in the all or nothing category. Though I do not know if ice cream could be replaced with doing laundry :-)

  • Catherine, Site Admin

    I was thinking about emotions in the NIA class today where one of the exercises is to slap the air really fast and hard in front of you. I pretended I was slapping certain problems in my life and I felt so much better when class was over – like I released a bunch of pent-up emotion. So rather then comforting the emotions to quiet them with food, maybe movement of some kind is the answer.

    We are looking to you to guide us all along that path. Great post.


  • Remy G

    Hi Veronica – I’ve been an emotional eater pretty much all my life. I can identify with every one of those points you mentioned. about 6 months ago I even started snacking when I would get up at night to let the dogs out…almost asleep even while I was eating…very odd! I also tend to do things in extremes – Im either REALLY into it, and exercise and eat right and walk and etc…or I’m not any of those things. Where is the happy medium??? Looking forward to meeting you. Rem