What’s The Difference Between Physical Hunger & Emotional Hunger



Who hasn’t ever found themselves standing in front of the pantry or fridge searching for that ‘perfect’ something to eat, even though they weren’t hungry?  Or crunched their way through a whole bag of chips because you are really angry, or just bored ?  If you were nodding your head while reading this, it’s likely your emotions have changed your relationship with food.

When eating ‘’comfort’’ foods to calm or sooth stressful or uncomfortable feelings becomes a regular thing or when you can’t stop eating until you feel so painfully full, we need to change your relationship with food.  If you’ve fallen of track with your program more than a couple times and then feeling guilty afterwards we need to find a healthier way of soothing yourself when your day, week or month has been really difficult.


  1. Learn The Difference Between Emotional Hunger & Physical Hunger

Before you can break free of emotional eating you have to learn how to tell the difference between your emotional and physical hunger. This can be really difficult if you regularly use food to deal with your emotions.

Here’s how to tell the difference between Emotional vs Physical Hunger.


  • Emotional hunger urges you to satisfy it instantly.                                                 VS        Physical hunger can wait
  • Emotional hunger comes on suddenly.                                                                      VS        Physical hunger comes on gradually
  • Emotional hunger craves specific options that you consider comfort foods.     VS        Physical hunger is open wide to a range of options – lots of things sounds good
  • Emotional hunger isn’t satisfied, even when your stomach is full.                       VS        Physical hunger stops when you are full
  • Emotional eating triggers feelings of guilt, powerlessness, and shame.              VS        Eating to satisfy physical hunger doesn’t make you feel bad about yourself.
  1. Identify Your Emotions Before You Eat

Emotional eating is usually automatic and virtually mindless. Before you’re aware what you’re doing, you’ve finished ½ a bag of chips.  By taking just a minute or two & stopping, checking in with yourself, you give yourself the chance to make a different decision.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Am I hungry?
  2. Do I really need more food in my stomach?
  3. If I am not hungry, which one of my triggers is pushing me to want food?
  4. What are my feelings now I have recognized this?


  1. Discover To Accept Your Feelings—Even The Bad Ones

Your trouble is NOT that you’re powerless over food, but emotional eating actually comes from feeling powerless over emotions.  If you allow yourself to feel uncomfortable, to feel anxious, overwhelmed, angry these emotions can be scary.  You may fear that once you open the door you won’t be able to shut it.  But the truth is that when we don’t obsess over or suppress our emotions, even the most painful and difficult feelings subside relatively quickly and lose their power to control our attention. To do this you need to become aware and learn how to stay connected to your emotions.  By not suppressing them and letting them out they lose their power and energy.

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