"Eating for Emotional Reasons"

by Frederic Patenaude

This week we’ll explore the topic of emotional eating, and how to beat it. I say “explore” because it’s a quite complex issue — so I can just scratch the surface here. However, in this short article, I will give you some very specific and effective way to recognize emotional patterns in eating and how to avoid binging and cravings.

The first step is awareness. We need to understand and observe how and why we eat. When we do this, we’ll realize quite quickly the following:

- We often eat without hunger, purely out of boredom or other emotional reason.
- When we eat, we are distracted and actually do not enjoy our food.

To recognize those patters and avoid them, we need to start asking ourselves some question before we sit down and eat.

Questions to ask before eating:

1- Am I really hungry? (If the answer is “I’m not sure,” then you’re not).

This is the most important question. The first pre-requisite to eating is hunger. Genuine hunger — not appetite. When we eat without hunger, it is like making love without desire. It can only lead to frustration and deception.

The concept of eating only with hunger appears simple and obvious. Yet eating when hungry is also the most difficult dietary advice to apply. Let me repeat that: eating with genuine hunger is the most important, yet the most difficult diet principle to apply. Why? Because of conditioning, wrong living, and emotional baggage.

To learn to eat with hunger, and actually feel what it’s like to do it, we first need to learn to recognize what true hunger is. Here’s from my book, The Raw Secrets, the signs of true and false hunger. Please refer to my book for more information (http://www.therawsecrets.com).

Signs of True Hunger

  • The stomach “aspirates.”
  • The mouth salivates .
  • The mind is optimistic, clear, and happy.
  • A pleasant sensation in the throat.
  • Hunger persists when we wait.

Signs of False Hunger

  • Dry mouth, coated tongue, bad breath.
  • Headaches.
  • Rumblings in the stomach.
  • The mind is spacy, unclear, the spirit pessimistic.
  • Stomach cramps and pains, nausea.
  • Hunger disappears when we wait.

So the first question to ask, before eating, is: am I hungry? If you are not sure, then it means you are not hungry! If you have any of the signs of “false hunger” listed above, then you are not hungry. When we are hungry, we know it!

If you were about to eat and realize that you are not hungry, the right thing to do is to wait for true hunger to naturally come. I recommend in that case to wait for an hour — just an hour — and see how that hunger feeling has changed. You can choose in that hour to go for a walk, catch up on some work, read, etc.

Also note that the best way to cultivate genuine hunger is to engage in vigorous physical activity on a regular basis.

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