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What's Your Mind Got to Do With Eating?

Are you really hungry? Feed your body, not your emotional hunger.

How to Deal With 'Fake' Hunger

To keep your feelings from faking you out, take a minute to think about what’s going on inside. First ask yourself, “How do I feel?” Then think about what will make you feel better. Instead of reaching for a snack, try these ideas:

  • Drink a big glass of water. It will fill your stomach. Plus, sometimes your mind can make you feel like you want food, even though what you really need is water.
  • Do something you know you like to do or that puts your brain to work. Read, call a friend, or dive into your homework. It can help you forget about food.
  • Get active. Put on music and have a dance party, ride your bike, or find another way to move your body. Not only will you take your mind off of food, but you’ll get a rush of feel-good brain chemicals that can improve your mood.
  • Wait 15 to 20 minutes. If you still feel hungry after that, have a healthy snack. Try popcorn, an apple with a spoonful of peanut butter, or vegetables with hummus.

It takes practice to train yourself to think before you head to the kitchen to eat. It may feel weird at first to not eat even if you feel like you want to. But don’t give up! It gets easier with time and practice.

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Reviewed on January 21, 2016