I just want something!
With heart hunger, the second type of emotional eating, you don’t usually get a specific food craving—you just start thinking about eating.
When you finally decide what you want, heart hunger will usually send you toward soft, smooth, or creamy foods such as ice cream, doughnuts, or pasta.
It can also make you want comfort foods or ones related to fond memories or happy times.
Heart hunger usually stems from empty emotions, such as feeling depressed, discouraged, or lonely.
It also shows up when you’re bored or restless, as well as times when you feel hurt,
disappointed, or let down.
Sometimes heart hunger will relate to yearning for things such as attention or appreciation.
When you realize that you’re having heart hunger, ask yourself, “What’s making me feel empty right now? What am I missing or needing in my life?”
Then before you reach for the first bite of comfort food, ask yourself, “Will eating change this?”
Of course, sometimes eating does make things better, at least for a while. But in the end, nothing changes. Your real life is still there, filled with the same emptiness as before.
1. Which foods are you most likely to eat when you’re having heart hunger?
Ice cream, cookies, sweets
2. Make a list of the situations that might send you toward heart-hunger eating.
Anxiety or feeling unsure about things at work. Or feeling like things in life are TOO HARD.
3. Watch for times when you want something to eat but don’t know what you want. During these times, try to identify what’s missing or empty, and then do something to respond to what you really need. Write notes about this.
A few months ago, my husband and I went out to dinner. When it came time for dessert, I ordered a piece of chocolate layer cake that I’d seen other diners eating. We shared the cake, but it was way more than I’d planned to eat.
It had been a hard day and I was yearning to feel more confident and secure (heart hunger.) Afterward I felt stuffed but at the same time, felt empty! I think that unconsciously, I had hoped the cake would help, but it didn’t fill the need in my heart. It just gave me extra calories, and I still felt restless and uneasy.