The desire — to eat purely for pleasure, rather than hunger — is called Hedonic hunger, and it can lead some people down a dangerous path to overeating and perhaps, obesity.
Pleasure eating, as opposed to eating for hunger, activates endogenous reward signals in the brain, which when activated, prompt people to eat more of the pleasurable food, even if their bodies don’t need it, a small study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found. This phenomenon is closely linked to body mass index (BMI), and may be a factor in the Western world’s rising obesity rates, the researchers who conducted the study at the University of Naples SUN in Italy say.
How to Curb Your Cravings
If you’re guilty of a little Hedonic eating from time to time, (who isn’t?), follow these steps to crank up your willpower the next time you’re full and faced with an all-too-tempting bite.
Drink water. Often, we think we’re hungry when we’re really just thirsty. The first step to stopping a craving should be downing a full glass of water. Quench your thirst, and it’s likely the cravings will stop.
Chew gum. Pop a piece of sugar-free gum to keep from obsessing over the taste of your favorite indulgence. Chewing will keep you distracted, and you’ll be less likely to overeat with minty-fresh breath.
Find a distraction. When you’re at home or sitting at your desk, it can be tempting to eat out of boredom, not hunger. Every time you’re about to open the fridge because you have nothing else to do, be ready with your go-to distraction. You can call your diet buddy for support, go for a brisk walk around the block, or pick up a book — whatever it takes to divert your focus from food.
—-> Take Home Message
The sooner you stop looking for pleasure from your food… the sooner you will heal your relationship with eating. Eat to fuel your body. . Not for pleasure. Find a new way to reward yourself!