Five types of hunger… and how to manage them!

Hunger is a strange beast. Sometimes you’re stuffed after a few bites of dinner, other times it seems like you’ll never be full no matter how many times you approach the biscuit cupboard.

Even though you may sometimes feel hunger-like symptoms, it doesn’t always mean that your body needs fuelling. Hunger pangs can sometimes just be a sign that you’re bored, tired or even thirsty. Often a desire to eat can be confused with a need to eat – and the two are not the same.

If you’re trying to keep your weight in check, take note of these five types of hunger and how to handle them:

Real hunger
This type of hunger means business. If you’re low in energy, with a rumbling tummy and even a headache or some shakiness, you can take it as a sign that you should eat NOW. Try to avoid getting to this kind of stage though – having healthy snacks on hand should stop you ever getting over-hungry.

TV hunger
Ever notice that you work through that bag of crisps in double time when sitting in front of the TV? Being distracted by your favourite film or programme can lead to mindless eating, so try to take note of how hungry you are before turning on the telly and become more aware of how much you're reaching for that bag of Sensations.

Bored hunger
When you’re at a loose end, the fridge is always the first thing to catch your attention. Try to avoid the kitchen during times of boredom. Use the time to relax instead – read a book, call a friend – whatever floats your boat.

Stress hunger
When you’re over-stressed, the dreaded hangry (hungry + angry) feeling can lead to an overwhelming desire for a quick sugar fix. Try your best to turn to healthier snacks instead, like nuts, crackers or fruit.

Eye hunger
You stroll into the office kitchen and catch sight of a plate of cupcakes on the counter. INSTANT HUNGER. The thing is though, your body wasn’t even thinking about cupcakes until you actually saw them. Make a conscious decision to either eat one, or skip it. If you do eat one, at least take the time to savour and enjoy it, rather than shoving it into your mouth guiltily. You’ll just end up wanting more!