Why Is Our Appetite Increasing During Quarantine Days?

Physiological hunger or psychological/emotional hunger?

In these days when we are in the quarantine process due to Covid-19, we can find ourselves constantly eating. So, do we eat because we are really hungry or do we eat to deal with our emotions?

At this point, we need to distinguish between our own physiological hunger and our psychological hunger. So how do we do this? First of all, it is useful to look at the difference between physiological hunger and psychological hunger.

Physiological hunger is when the stomach sends hunger signals to the brain approximately every three hours.

At this point, you feel the need to eat. Therefore, a physiological hunger does not occur suddenly. In physiological hunger, you notice what you eat, the amount and the spices in your food. As a result, a feeling of satiety occurs.

In psychological hunger, there is a sudden need to eat. There is no gradual hunger as in physiological hunger. Therefore, the hunger signals that we call stomach scraping or stomach rumbling do not occur. When the person eats psychologically, he is often not aware of how much he has consumed and there is no feeling of satiety. Since there is no feeling of fullness, the brain will not be able to press a “stop button” to end the meal.

According to researches, it is seen that our desire to eat more than normal in some periods is highly dependent on emotional state. We can say that behind the sudden urge to eat lies another emotion we need. These emotions are negative emotions. Eating behavior occurs in order to cope with emotions such as sadness and shame. As a result of eating unnecessarily, feelings such as regret and anger emerge again. While the person tries to cope with negative emotions by eating, negative emotions are revealed again as a result of eating. So what can we do when our emotional urge to eat comes?

  • Am I really hungry? How many hours ago did I last eat? Searching for answers to their questions will be the first step. If it hasn’t been half an hour since you’ve eaten, think about your relationships. What is bothering you inside at that moment? Have you ever had a fight with your spouse? Think about where the source of the problem is. If this is a psychological hunger, you can drink a big glass of water and suppress your desire to eat.

  • Distracting your mind in psychological hunger will be helpful in overcoming this hunger. Brushing your cat’s fur, completing unfinished business, listening to music may be a few ideas.

  • Too long between meals can increase your psychological hunger. Therefore, it will be useful to make healthy planning for your meals.

  • One of the bad aspects of psychological hunger is that the person generally prefers unhealthy foods such as fast food, oily, sugary in this hunger. When this hunger comes, if the person absolutely wants to eat something, green foods (arugula, parsley, spinach, etc.) can be preferred.

  • If eating constantly stresses and worries you, all these will trigger your psychological hunger. Remember, during our stressful periods, we either eat more or we avoid eating too much.

Despite all this, if the eating attacks make you very uncomfortable and your feelings such as regret, anger and sadness come to the fore after the foods you eat, you should proceed with the support of a psychologist and a dietitian simultaneously.

stay well

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