Is it hunger or a craving?

Have you ever sat there (for me it’s usually on the couch or at my desk!) wondering if that nagging feeling is hunger or just one of those pesky cravings? Margaret Furtado, MS, RD addresses that very question in her article “Is It Hunger or Is It a Craving?”. The information seems like common sense, and yet I find myself in the predicament all the time. Am I really hungry? Or do I just want to eat? Honestly…I usually just want to eat. Ms. Furtado gives some handy tips for answering this question though-plus how to handle it if the answer is craving.


FIrst, to determine if you’re actually hungry she recommends asking if something healthy-an apple or carrot sticks for instance-would satisfy you. No you say? Absolutely nothing will do except that brownie your coworker brought in? Probably a craving. This could be from stress (my main trigger), boredom, lack of sleep…take your pick. What do you do about it? Find something else to do. We learn this during smoking cessation also-cravings generally do not last more than 20-30 minutes. If you can make it through those 20-30 minutes, you’re golden. So go for a walk, pick up a book, complete a chore, do some push-ups. Anything. Except eat that brownie.

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