False hunger is something we have to deal with when we are on a weight loss program. The lesson at Weight Watchers last Thursday night was a recap of the last 10 weeks of the program. One of the topics covered was false hunger, or emotional hunger. False hunger feels like real hunger to us, but it isn’t really hunger. False hunger is an impulse that tells us to eat something to satisfy our emotions, satisfy our thirst, or to just help us to feel less bored.
How do we know if we are feeling emotional hunger?
If what you are feeling is false hunger, the impulse won’t last long. If you are really hungry, you will feel hunger pangs for longer periods of time. Before satisfying the hunger with food, wait a few minutes. If the impulse to eat lasts only for a few minutes, then we are not really hungry; we just want to eat.
How can we enjoy eating while continuing to avoid responding to false hunger?
I spread my points (we don’t count calories in Weight Watchers, we count points) out so that I have something to eat about 6 or 7 times a day. The best way for me to succeed is to not get too hungry. I tend to get false hunger, even though I eat every 2 or 3 hours while I am awake. Since I know that I have eaten just an hour or two ago, I know what I am feeling isn’t real hunger; what I am feeling is false hunger.
I acknowledge the hungry feeling when it happens. I write down the time and continue with whatever I am doing at the time. Even though the impulse to eat is short lived, the impulse will come again and again over the course of an hour or two. I drink water or a water based drink, such as Crystal Light. Very often the feeling of false hunger is satisfied by drinking.
Planning what you are going to eat and drink helps to avoid eating in response to a false hunger signal. As a snack between my regular meals, I drink fruit shakes. I put frozen strawberries or frozen mixed fruit (I buy this fruit in a big bag in the frozen section at Super Walmart) into a blender with a banana. I pour 5 calorie cranberry juice and/or Crystal Light (fruit flavored) over the fruit in the blender. Then I blend it up for about a minute. I usually make enough for 2 or 3 people, because my family loves them. The fruit shake is very satisfying; it is thick and has the consistency of a milkshake. Sometimes, I toss a little Yoplait yogurt in the mix and that makes it even more like a milkshake.
By planning what you will eat, and not responding to false hunger signals, I have control over what I put into my body. By spacing out my calories/points throughout the day I don’t overeat and I don’t binge.
Now I would like to hear from you. How do you deal with false hunger?
Previously published on Associated Content.