7 Types of Hunger

I was recently listening to one of my fave wellness podcasts and one of the dieticians pointed out that, “No amount of snacks will satisfy a mealtime hunger.” A truth bomb so simply stated. And it got me thinking about how if we pause to really reflect on the type of hunger we’re experiencing at a certain moment, it may radically shift the food changes we make. This reflection is fully in alignment with a lesson included in my mindful eating certification course that explains the seven types of hunger. What are they? And how do we know which kind we’re having?

In the book “Mindful Eating: A Guide to Rediscovering a Healthy and Joyful Relationship with Food,” Dr. Jan Chozen-Bays explains how each hunger directly connects to different parts of our anatomy…the eyes, nose, mouth, stomach, cellular, mind and heart.

The following physical and mental cues can help you better tap into the why behind hunger—or hangry feelings—when it sets in:

  • Eye Hunger: The appearance of the food is appetizing, oftentimes due to color combinations, how it’s plated or looks on the packaging.
  • Nose Hunger: Aromas lure you in while walking by a restaurant, strolling by the deli counter or socializing during a backyard barbeque.
  • Mouth Hunger: This kicks in when texture tantalizes your palate. For example, if you really enjoy the sensation of biting into crunchy nibbles, it shouldn’t be surprising it can be challenging at times to only have a single serving of chips or pretzels.
  • Stomach Hunger: The exact stimulant of feelings centered in our tummies can be tricky to decipher. Some hunger “pains” stem from nervousness or discomfort, rather than signifying it’s time to eat.
  • Cellular Hunger: When our nutrient intake is imbalanced, we may overeat trying to compensate for a perceived lack of nourishment. When in reality, we need to adjust the macro (carbs, protein and fat) ratio of our meals instead of simply consuming more calories.
  • Mind Hunger: Many of us have complex thoughts related to eating habits. Spending time reflecting on why we crave specific foods or are resistant to making certain changes can be the first step in breaking unhealthy patterns we learned growing up, in a previous relationship, etc.
  • Heart Hunger: An internal surge of emotion can trigger binges or a period of severe restrictions. Both are equally unhealthy. So seeking solace via recreation we enjoy or by talking with family, friends and/or a mental health professional are positive alternatives to attempting to silence sadness, anger, frustration or disappointment with too much (or not enough) food.

Can you recall having felt one of these hungers recently? I’m always happy to lend a listening ear in our comment “chats” every month.

Have a wonderful rest of this Wednesday and week!

—Rachel