Is Hunger Biological Or Is It Just In My Head, And Is There Anything I Can Do To Control It?

Question: Is hunger biological or is it just in my head, and is there anything I can do to control it?

Answer: Hunger certainly has biological, physiological drivers. There are reasons when we need to eat to preserve normal health and function, biologically driven hunger if you will. There's also hunger that's triggered by other factors. It might be emotional triggers, it might be environmental cues, what we're seeing -- the time of day, what other people are doing, what's around us in the environment. And those can be particularly challenging kinds of hunger to deal with.

So, often in response to emotional triggers -- positive emotions as well as negative emotions -- we reach for food. We might when we're frustrated or tired or angry, puzzled, reach for food. Sometimes when we're elated, when we're enjoying the company of others, food seems like it needs to be part of the experience.

One step is just simply to realize that not all hunger is biologically based, physically based. That there are triggers. Armed with that little bit of knowledge, we can often make better choices. We can consider other options for responding to the situation. We can help reduce the frequency with which we find ourselves in high risk situations. And basically, we can expand with some self awareness. Again, our way of responding to cues may not be biologically based.