The 8 Types of Hunger

15 April 2015 | Written by Xenia Ayiotis

Filed Under: Mindful Eating

I have just finished reading a very worthwhile and instructive book by one of the world’s leading experts on Mindful Eating, Jan Chozen Bays – “Mindful Eating – A guide to rediscovering a healthy and joyful relationship with food”.

In the book she talks about the 7 hungers, she later added an 8th hunger. I am finding her very valuable teachings so helpful with my clients and in my practice. Let’s have a look at the 8 hungers…

EYE HUNGER

Eye hunger is triggered by food that you see. It can be other people who are eating, food that you see on the table or counter, seeing adverts, recipes and pictures of food. Other examples are food displays in delis, markets, restaurants or supermarkets. Or the waiter comes past with a delicious-looking Crème Brûlée and you feel the need to have it only because you have seen it!

NOSE HUNGER

The smell of baking bread or cake. The smell of coffee… Or you could have just had a lovely meal and then you go to the movies and smell the popcorn!

EAR HUNGER

The sound of packets opening can trigger ear hunger. Or you are at the movies and you hear the  sound of people eating popcorn. The sound of a can / bottle opening and listening to people discuss food and restaurants…

MOUTH HUNGER

Mouth hunger is the mouth’s desire for a variety of pleasurable sensations. What the mouth wants is a “party in the mouth”! Mouth hunger is the most difficult to satisfy, because the mouth is satisfied by sensation, it desires variety in flavour and texture and it bores easily. It keeps chasing the taste, regardless of fullness in the stomach. Sometimes we want soft food, cold food, crunchy or chewy food.

STOMACH HUNGER

This is natural, physical biological hunger. We experience sensations in the stomach depending on hunger levels. What sensations tell you that your stomach is painfully empty? Very empty? Empty? Satisfied? Pleasantly full? Overfull? Stuffed? How do we satisfy stomach hunger? By eating and tuning in (as we eat) to our levels of fullness and stopping at a comfortable point.

MIND HUNGER

Mind hunger is based on thoughts: “I should eat more protein”, “I should drink 8 glasses of water a day”, “I should not eat bread”, “Cheese is bad for you – it has too much fat”, “Eggs are good for you they have lots of protein”, “You must have breakfast”, “You should have 6 small meals a day”, “Sugar, wheat and gluten are poison”…

Mind hunger changes – many years ago butter was considered bad, now margarine is bad. Fat was the enemy but now sugar and wheat are the enemy. Pay attention to the voices in your head about food – they normally come in the form of a “should or shouldn’t”…

Mind hunger is the most difficult to satisfy because the mind is always changing its mind. The mind contains the inner critic that judges what we eat or don’t eat. The ideal is to have a quiet mind (not at all easy) when we eat and not to pay attention to the critical words of the mind.

CELLULAR HUNGER

Cellular hunger is what the body needs and not what the mind needs. Often what we interpret as hunger is actually thirst. Sometimes our bodies just ask for veggies, rice, citrus – like when we are sick, we tend to want warm nourishing foods like chicken soup. When you are hungry, pause and ask your body what it wants. Liquid or solid, protein, starch, fruit, salt, citrus or something leafy? Essential elements satisfy cellular hunger – water, salt, protein, fat, minerals, vitamins, carbohydrates and trace minerals such as iron or zinc.

HEART HUNGER

Also known as emotional hunger. We eat when we feel sad and lonely, in order to comfort ourselves. We treat food as a reward. Comfort foods are mostly linked to warm feelings of connection. What foods do you eat when you are sad or lonely? Are they different to foods that you eat when you are angry or bored? I know for me, when I am frustrated or annoyed I tend to seek crunchy or chewy foods and when I am sad I prefer soft and smooth foods.

No food can truly satisfy heart hunger. Heart hunger is satisfied by connection with ourselves firstly and then with others.

Let’s see how this plays out in real life…

Situation: Office Birthday Party – Cupcakes at work

Eyes: They look delicious and so pretty, I must have one!

Nose: They smell yummy – you can smell the chocolate and the vanilla!

Mouth: The soft spongy texture is so nice in my mouth and the creamy icing is too delicious…(party in the mouth)

Mind: Hmm… that’s just carbs and sugar but you only had fruit for breakfast – so a few carbs are okay and the cupcakes may be gone later – so best I get one now while I can.

Stomach: After all the fruit this morning and the 2 coffees you just had, I’m feeling a bit queasy and I’m not sure I can eat cupcakes now.

Cells: Fat and sugar? No, not really in the mood… Some water would be nice.

Heart: I am dreading this next meeting, I have to give a debrief on this project and I’m feeling a bit nervous –  so this will feel so good right now.

So next time you want to eat ask yourself… Who is hungry in there? What kind of hunger am I experiencing right now?

🍂 My gift to you is a free “slightly different advent calendar” for you to print and enjoy during the festive season.

🍂 Is handling the combination of holidays + food + a global pandemic stressful for you? This online course may be what you need… How To Handle Eating in the Holidays is designed to support you through the festive season.

🍂 Interested in healing your relationship with food? Book a free mini-session.

86 Shares

“Working with Xenia was amazing. She armed me with a bunch of tools to help me through difficult times. Xenia is the kind of person who really cares for helping you in the long run. Her work will forever have an impact in my life.”

Daniela Velásquez

“Working with Xen was a game changer for me. After working together for a few months my relationship with food radically changed. I no longer felt like a failure. I now have the tools to nourish my body with foods that feel good in my body. I don’t feel guilty about eating cake or chocolate, I also don’t overeat cake and chocolate. I no longer feel the need to exercise to compensate for my eating. I feel much more free around eating and I am more accepting of my body. Xen has a nonjudgmental and compassionate approach to coaching and really supports you in the process.”

Rachel

“Working with Xen has been very empowering. Her approach is so refreshing from the usual. I have learned that I am in charge and that I get to choose what I put in my body and how to move my body in a way that I like! I get to make my own choices. It’s so liberating. Once you get a taste of freedom with food, there is no turning back to old ways! Thanks Xen for guiding me along the way to freedom.”

Heather B, Cork. Ireland

“This is the answer for those of you that struggle with food and all that surrounds it. Xenia said that I could make peace with food and it seemed at the time like an impossible dream. Turns out it isn’t. I recommend Xen and the mindful eating / intuitive eating approach unreservedly. If you have any questions about my experience, please get in touch. Thank you Xen. My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”

Michelle

“Xenia was a walking, living, breathing example of what can be done. I laughed and cried my way through a short course in this fascinating and invigorating programme with her, and have gained a designer tote full of coping skills that go way beyond containing kilogrammes. I feel infinitely lighter. I am doing this for me and, yes, you can do this for you too! And believe me, I’m cynical!”

Diana

“I don’t obsess about food like I used to. I am thinking differently about food and feeling so much more relaxed around all types of food. It’s wonderful to have pleasure and satisfaction from eating.”

Sarah

“I learned a new way of thinking about food. I have learned that food is not the enemy and that it can actually be enjoyed with no guilt.”

Sandy

Certified by The Life Coach School Certified Life Coach Certified and Trained by The Original Intuitive Eating Pro Professional Member of The Center for Mindful Eating