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As you know, I lived in a diet mentality and dealt with an eating disorder for 10 years and it was a real fucking ordeal.

Every day for a decade my mind was consumed by the thought of food, calories, weight and the way I looked. The insecurity, self-doubt, depression, shame, loneliness, the hunger; physical and emotional.

It screws with you.

When your first and last thought of the day is what you ate, what you didn't eat or should you eat at all for that extended period of time, it’s damn near impossible to know peace, joy, freedom, love or happiness.

It’s a self-inflicted food prison with no window to the outside.


As a type-A personality by nature my fixation and obsession with food was magnified. It took me out of life and made me a passenger in a self driving car headed through a tunnel with no light at the end. It was isolating and it wasn't any fun. And this girl likes to have fun.

I didn't know how to eat without feeling guilty. The only way I dealt with my emotions was to either eat so much that I would be in pain and throw up or to starve myself until I barely had energy to use the bathroom. I coin tossed between the two like it was a sport. And every new diet book that hit the market was my next team sponsor. I would tell myself that this diet will be the one that works, it will finally end my abusive relationship with food. But I'll let you in on a little secret..., diets don't work anyways.

As you can imagine, I didn't know how to feel emotionally full or physically full. To be honest, I didn't realize there was even a difference but I now know its pivotal to discover for yourself how to satisfy yourself emotionally and physically if you are dealing with any kind of unhealthy relationship with food, not just a full blown ED.

The distinction is life changing especially if you are a yo-yo dieter, binge eater and cleanser, emotional eater, or in general deal with some kind of disordered eating.

Physical vs Emotional Hunger

To understand how to be both emotionally full and physically full we have to understand the difference between being emotionally hungry and physically hungry.

Physical Hunger is something that comes on gradually and occurs approx. 3-5 hours after having a balanced meal. You know you are physically hungry if your stomach feels empty, is growling or rumbling and if you are feeling a little tired.

We all know what true hunger feels like.

Sometimes, depending on your individuality and how long its been since you have eaten you might feel a little light-headed, have a headache or be irritable. I become a bit of a bitch if my blood sugar gets to low, hangry as they say.

When we do eat, slowing down can be really helpful in sensing levels of hunger and fullness. Actually slowing down enough to enjoy each bite of food. That can be especially difficult though if you have been a chronic dieter for years. And I am assuming some of you reading this have been.

Over time as we restrict and binge we become numb to our natural hunger and satiety signals. If diets have caused you to not honor internal hunger knocks at the door then the body stops knocking. This often leads to emotional eating as our primary coping mechanism and rebound binges because we start to eat as a response to other stimuli like stress, sadness, intense feelings of restriction, boredom and overwhelm.

Sound familiar?

Ok so what is Emotional Hunger?

It is hunger for comfort and stems from the desire to have some kind of emotional need met.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to have our emotional needs met. In fact its essential to living a happy and fulfilling life.

Emotional hunger can also occur if we do not allow ourselves to eat foods that we want so we don't get the enjoyment out of the food we ate. If you really want to have tacos but are "on a diet" so you eat a salad it is highly unlikely that you will get the same satisfaction from the meal physically or mentally. Which can lead to over eating.