Nutritional Psychology

Are You Really Hungry While Eating?


Are you really hungry? Or is it the emotions you experience during the day that push you to hunger? Nutrition is a basic need for the continuity of life, but is it always to meet our basic needs that pushes us to the refrigerator?


Individuals' eating is not always for nutritional purposes. Foodstuffs are sometimes consumed to meet psychological needs, not biological needs. At this point, it is very important to realize our real need. Let's examine together whether our emotions have an effect on our eating behaviors!


What is Emotional Hunger?


Emotional eating behavior is an eating behavior that occurs only in response to the emotions experienced, not because of the feeling of hunger, meal time or social necessity. It can also be defined as individuals' tendency to eat as a way of coping with negative emotions such as anxiety, depressive mood, anger and stress. In other words, it is in question that our emotions lead us to eating behavior.




To be fed up Being bored or having nothing to do is an important and common trigger of emotional eating. Many people tend to turn to food to fill this void when they don't live active lives and have nothing to do.


Habits: These are generally our behaviors acquired from our past. If we give an example, an example of this is when a child is rewarded with chocolate for each success. When the individual grows up and achieves great success, he wants to reward himself with chocolate and tends to eat it.


Tiredness: Eating when tired is a careless act. Food functions as a response to not wanting to do a certain activity anymore, it is used to satisfy emotions.


Social Impacts: Friends are driven to eat as social influencers.


Stress: In a study, university students were examined and it was determined that stress affects the eating behavior of both men and women; however, men eat less when stressed and women eat more. The study also revealed findings that when stress reaches high levels, it triggers emotional eating.


Don't Be Happy, Angry, Stressed, Unhappy: They conducted research on 757 adolescents and determined that the emotions such as being happy, angry, stressed and unhappy directly affect the eating behavior of male and female students. 


Anxiety: Hearon et al., in their study, stated that anxiety and emotional eating are related and individuals tend to eat to cope with anxiety.


How Does the Emotional Hunger Cycle Occur?



Individuals who are faced with emotional eating problems experience anxiety about their health and weight control after eating behavior; They tend to eat again with the anxiety they experience, and after a while, the situation is constantly repeated within itself as a vicious circle.


Which Foods Tend To Be More?



A large number of studies suggest that physiological changes related to eating regulate mood and trigger emotional eating. As a result of these studies, it is seen that the changes in the mood of the individuals occur especially with the consumption of foods with high carbohydrate content. Because foods that are high in carbohydrates and low in protein increase the level of tryptophan in the blood and the activity of the serotonergic systems in the brain increases, so that the emotional state of the person becomes better with the increase in the level of serotonin in the brain after eating. and they tend to eat foods with excess calories.

How to Cope!!!


THE FEELING OF HUNGER NEEDS TO BE LEARNED: When individuals are really hungry, symptoms such as wheezing in their stomachs are encountered. If hunger cues are less obvious, focusing problems and moodiness may occur. If none of these signs are present, physiological hunger has not occurred and eating behavior should be avoided because it is purely emotional.


A NUTRITIONAL DIARY MUST BE KEPT: Individuals should write down what they eat every day and what emotions they experience while eating. Thus, in addition to recording what he ate when he was really hungry, he will be able to realize that he is eating more with emotions such as sadness and anger and will be able to restrain himself. Let's not forget that it will be much easier to find the solution to the problem whose cause is known. For example, an individual who discovers that he tends to eat when he is stressed may go for a nice walk in the open air instead of eating in such situations.


A SUPPORT NETWORK CAN BE CREATED: Meeting people with similar problems can be effective in coping with emotional eating.


OTHER AREAS OF INTEREST MAY BE FOUND: Finding new areas of interest can be an effective method to increase their low self-esteem. Thus, individuals can engage in a new passion and are less likely to seek food for emotional satisfaction.


NECESSARY HELP CAN BE TAKEN: When an individual cannot cope with emotional eating alone, they should seek professional help to change behavior. Thus, coping with emotional eating can be more effective.




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