Hunger vs Appetite

health mindset weightloss Dec 20, 2022
Hunger vs Appetite

Did you know that hunger and appetite are two different things, and yet we manage to confuse them? Find out how to distinguish them to avoid weight gain.

Let’s say you go to the kitchen and you feel like you could eat something. You prepare food that you know is healthy, but you also start craving sugary, chocolatey cereal. 

If you were hungry, you’d feel your stomach rumbling, and a bit lightheaded if you hadn't eaten in a few hours. If that were the case, then we’re talking about a biological response from your body. So, you would probably eat the healthy food you have in there because anything could satiate that annoying feeling of emptiness.

However, if you’re only craving the sweet taste of the cereal you’ve spotted, and you choose that, then we’re talking about appetite, which is, for the most part, psychological. You might not even be that hungry, but you still want to taste what you’re imagining in your mouth; you might want to eat to satisfy a specific craving or need for comfort, so when that happens, you’re experiencing appetite. 

As you can see they are two different things. You must try to distinguish them so you don't start developing poor eating habits, such as overeating or using comfort food as an excuse to avoid external problems. 

90% of people do not eat based on hunger, but rather on their appetite. So, I always tell my clients to ask themselves these questions.

When was the last time that I ate food? 

If it was about an hour ago, you were not really hungry. It's likely that you're anxious, or maybe just bored. Therefore, you feel the need to put something in your mouth to soothe the feeling. Or you’re maybe procrastinating, and you’re distracting yourself with the typical “I’m hungry, so I need to eat before I start working”, and this is another thing that can make us believe that we need food, when we really don’t. So be mindful about the timing of your last meal, and try to look for hunger signs, like the ones I mentioned before: stomach rumbling and feeling lightheaded. 

What am I craving?

If you’re craving something in particular, then it’s probably not hunger. Ask yourself if you’re really hungry or if it’s emotional hunger. Try eating veggies if you’re really feeling empty. If you were hungry, you’ll probably feel satisfied, so that specific desire you had for a meal will likely dissipate, as you won't actually be starving anymore.

So, once you manage to identify hunger vs appetite, you will be able to manage food intake. Remember, the secret to weight loss is to control your appetite while satisfying your hunger. If you’re willing to put in the work, I assure you, it can be done.



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