Unlike cravings, the desire to eat or appetite is more physiological than psychological. An appetite is not a bad thing, in fact when we feel true hunger the desire to eat must rise before we can eat to satiety.
A desire to eat is an appeal to consume food either because of hunger caused by true hunger or some emotional or hormonal imbalances in the body. In a desire to eat, there is a physiological stimulation which is being controlled from the brain to other parts within the process. This desire could be stimulated by some factors including but not limited to:
1. Pictures of food (Sight)
2. Seeing other people eat (Sight & Smell)
3. Time to eat (for those who have specific timings) (Biological clock)
4. Attempt to suppress a negative emotion e.g. boredom, anger, depression etc (Psychological)
6. True Hunger
These attitude to food are all controlled in the brain which is not the subject of today’s post, but the main focus is to know what is responsible for our appetite at a given time. Just as I pointed out earlier, the desire to eat is not wrong but one should be able to define this and be able to differentiate hunger from craving. This deliberate distinction will enable individuals to eat only at times when it is most appropriate and thus overcome unhealthy eating.
On the other hand this desire as good as it seems could become bad if not controlled, I mean it could either be strictly checked leading to disorders like anorexia nervosa (I call it fear of food) or ignored to the extent of a constant desire to eat (hyperphagia).
You have the liberty to suppress this desire to eat until you are sure it is hunger that you are feeling and at this point the food tastes better and you get satisfied when you are full and not uncomfortably full. Note that when food is delicious, there is a tendency to overeat it even when the body needs no more, it is therefore very important that to study your body and know when you are craving, hungry or just a desire to eat food.
I am still working on myself but I understand me enough to know that my desire to eat is the strongest when I am hungry and I mean true hunger (this is the next stop on my blog).
According to Claire Georgiou, Reboot Naturopath, B.HSc ND in an article “Hunger Versus Appetite – Spot the Difference”. She highlighted some questions that could help in determining where you stand before eating at any given time.
ASK YOURSELF A FEW QUESTIONS WHEN YOU THINK YOU ARE HUNGRY
– Am I looking to feel a different emotion right now? Do I want to feel better about myself or about a situation? If this is the case then consider talking with a friend, going for walk, writing in a journal or doing another activity that you find enjoyable and relaxing.
– Am I eating because others around me are eating? It’s OK not to eat.
– Am I eating because it’s time to eat? Studies showed that for some people if they speed the clock up they still felt hungry because the clock said it was lunch when in fact it was much earlier.
– Am I bored? If you acknowledge boredom then find another activity that will entertain you!
– Am I avoiding something? Perhaps it’s time to get onto that task you have been putting off.
– Am I eating while distracted such as watching TV? Studies show that people eat more while watching TV then they do when they are eating at the table.
– Am I eating too quickly? If you eat too quickly you do not allow the satiety signals to register that you are full, this takes 20 minutes. Putting your utensils down between mouthfuls can be an excellent way to slow you down if you are a naturally fast eater. Enjoying your food and really tasting your food and savouring the flavour. Chew your food thoroughly rather than chewing a few times then swallowing and going for another mouthful before you’ve finished your last.
– Can I be distracted with something else? True hunger will not go away if you distract yourself.
– Not doing any regular exercise? This has been shown to reduce appetite hormone regulation and desire to over eat.
– Going for long periods without eating?
Eating regular meals every 3-5 hours instead of letting yourself get too hungry and going for long periods without eating can then cause you to overeat when you eventually stop and take the time to eat. Eat small meals often
I baked my first bread ever on Saturday and I think I will rate myself 50% for a first try. I will improve on it in the next bake till I get it right.