Try This: Hunger Check
Thinking about getting a snack? Want a second helping? Here are some things to ask yourself before you eat. The idea is make sure you're really hungry -- that you need to eat to give your body energy. This is called being physically hungry.
Sometimes people eat just because there is more food on the table or because they are tired or sad or bored. By asking yourself these questions before you eat, you can help find out if you're really hungry because your body needs fuel or if you just feel hungry for other reasons.
Am I Really Hungry?
Before you eat, ask yourself these questions:
1. Has it been a few hours since I last ate?
2. Drink a glass of water. Wait 20 to 30 minutes. Then ask yourself, "Am I still hungry?"
3. Would drinking a glass of milk or eating a piece of fruit make my hunger go away?
Did you answer "yes" to any of these questions? If so, chances are you are physically hungry.
Did you answer "no" to any of these questions? If so, you may not be physically hungry. You may be trying to fix another problem -- like feeling sad or stressed -- with food. Food can't fix feelings.
What Do I Need to Feel Better?
If you answered "no" to any of the questions about hunger, ask yourself these questions. They can help you figure out why you're hungry and how to fix it.
1. What feeling do I have?
2. What can I do to help solve my feeling? What do I need to feel better? (Check any of these that you think might help. Or write down two other ideas.)
Keep Checking With Yourself
For the next few days, ask yourself these questions when you find yourself wanting a snack.
If you find you often answer "no" to the hunger questions, you could be one of those people who eat to solve feelings. When you eat to solve problems that can't be solved by food, you may feel guilty. Plus, you haven't solved the problem you had, so you still feel bad. You feel bad and you feel guilty. That's not healthy. The good news is you can make a choice to feel better.
It may be hard when you first choose not to let your feelings drive you to eat. But keep practicing. You'll feel so much better when you take actions that help solve your problems in a healthy way and not with food.
See why it's important to figure out if you're really hungry. What's Your Mind Got to Do With Eating?