Everyone needs a variety of nutrients to keep their health and wellbeing in the best condition – that’s why having a balanced and diverse diet is so important. Choosing the best produce you can find, whether that’s home-grown vegetables and fruit or proudly Australian-made organic beef and lamb, can also help boost the amount of nutrients you’re getting on a daily basis.
However, the way you eat can also take a toll on your health and wellbeing. It’s helpful to be able to distinguish between ‘real’ hunger and ’emotional hunger’, especially when it comes to keeping weight at a manageable level.
So, what is the difference and what can you do to stick to healthier eating habits?
Real physical hunger is our body’s way of telling us it needs to be fed with nutrients. It comes on gradually, beginning with minor pangs and then progressing to full-blown stomach grumbles and growls. If you don’t get some food into your body after that, you might experience light-headedness and low energy levels.
Physical hunger is also characterised by deliberate food choices and awareness of what you are eating, making that juicy cut of organic meat all the more appreciated. You will also stop getting any more symptoms after you have become full.
On the other hand, emotional hunger is driven by a need to comfort ourselves. Rather than being prompted by a lack of food, emotional hunger may come on as a result of stress, anger, boredom and other feelings.
It will come on suddenly and you will feel the urge to satisfy your cravings at that very second. You may also feel guilty after you have eaten, and you may keep on eating past the point of being full – essentially eating ‘on autopilot’.
Once you know how to distinguish emotional hunger from physical hunger, you can make healthier choices about the fuel you’re putting into your body on a daily basis.