Am I Hungry?

One of the most difficult things about recovery is that anyone who has had irregular eating habits for a long time has lost touch with their body’s natural signals of hunger and fullness. Many might ask: “What does hunger even feel like?”.
We posed this question to members of our message boards at
Here’s a collection of their answers.

Question: For me, I always know it’s time to eat when:

  • I start thinking about what I might want to eat next
  • I see a picture of food and it looks reeeeeeeeeallly tasty
  • I get a headache
  • I get cranky and don’t want to do anything that requires alot of energy
  • I have difficulty focusing and concentrating on complex tasks
  • I start slouching or searching for a place to sit down and rest because standing is taking too much energy
  • I tend to get really anxious and VERY impatient/jittery when I’m hungry
  • It’s been a few hours since the last time I’ve eaten
  • My stomach growls
  • I get confused as to what I’m supposed to be doing or I can’t make a decision
  • I start pacing or tapping my foot excessively
  • I get weepy and whiny
  • Sometimes I think I need a nap, but really, I’m hungry
  • I get irritable
  • I get impatient – people are suddenly much too slow, too annoying, etc.
  • I get clumsy. I start to drop pencils, knock over objects on my desk or counter, etc.
  • I get slightly shaky (and that usually only happens when I am REALLY in need of some food)
  • I stop talking as much and start to withdraw from the people I’m with
  • My anxiety goes through the roof
  • I’ll start to stare off into space
  • Food commercials, diet ads, food in TV shows/movies start to stand out
  • When I reach for a piece of gum, I need to eat something
  • I start daydreaming about what I will eat next
  • I start wondering how long it will be until it’s time to eat.

How about you? How do you know when you’re hungry?

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