Emotional triggers could be the reason you're always hungry

The World Health Organization believes that we are in the grip of a global epidemic, and it is estimated by the year 2020 obesity will be the single biggest killer on the planet. Unfortunately, weight management isn’t simply about balancing food intake with exercise output.

Understanding the emotional triggers that affect eating habits may be the key to preventing weight gain and an obesity epidemic.

It is important to recognize eating as a way of fueling the body, and not as a way to cope with anxiety, loneliness, boredom or disappointment. Eating must be separated from the stress rooted in depression, exhaustion, distorted body image and low self-esteem. Ideally, food is enjoyed calmly, whether alone or with others, and is eaten with awareness and appreciation, not while distracted.

Finding Balance with Eating

Dr. Arya Sharma, founder of the Canadian Obesity Network of health professionals suggests, “The perfect situation is when nutritional balance, caloric balance and enjoyment completely overlap.” For physical needs, focus on nutritious foods that fulfill stomach hunger while providing pleasure. For emotional hunger, work towards making connections or finding activities that can help satiate cravings without food.

Distinguishing stomach hunger from emotional hunger can be a challenge. To help understand cravings, HALT before reaching for food. Assess if you are truly Hungry or if you may be Angry, Lonely or Tired. In the long term, eating does not resolve emotional hunger.