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What Kind of Hungry are You?

December 30, 2019
What Kind of Hungry are You?

By Christine Wallace, MD
TriHealth Weight Management

Did you know that there are more than seven types of hunger? According to Dr. Jan Chozen Bays, author of Mindful Eating: A Guide to Rediscovering a Healthy and Joyful Relationship With Food, we experience many types of hunger.

  • Eye hunger: The eye craves beauty. Advertisers know this well and cause our mouths to water by simply looking at delicious images. Food that is beautiful on the plate is more satisfying so create a feast for the eye.
  • Nose hunger: Have you ever walked past a bakery and suddenly craved baked goods? To improve enjoyment and satisfaction of your meal, first take a long slow smell, picking out the various fragrances.
  • Mouth hunger: To satisfy mouth hunger, our mind has to be fully engaged in the process of eating. Awareness and curiosity help focus the mind on the textures, sounds and taste sensations of eating.
  • Stomach hunger is that empty growling sensation when you haven’t eaten for several hours. Because other issues may cause similar gut discomfort, we need to learn to read our "fullness” gauge to evaluate if true stomach hunger is causing our symptoms.
  • Cellular hunger is when the body has need of a nutrient. When a person is iron deficient, he craves red meat.
  • Mind hunger comes from our thoughts. “I deserve a treat at the end of the day.” When we eat based on these thoughts, anxiety is increased and enjoyment and satisfaction is prevented.
  • Heart hunger: Most often, food will not rid us of our feelings of sadness, boredom or frustration. When heart hunger says, “Yes”, create a distraction with something that nourishes the heart.

Bottom Line

Eat mindfully to give your body the nourishing food it needs and to improve satisfaction and enjoyment in your relationship with food.