What’s Your Hunger Type?

By Ramani Durvasula, PhD Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Professor of Psychology, and Author of You Are WHY You Eat: Change Your Food Attitude, Change Your Life

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It may sound a bit like asking someone, “What’s your sign?” But, knowing your hunger type could actually help you become a little more mindful of your eating patterns so you can avoid the mindless calories that lead to extra pounds. 

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Most of us fall into one hunger type associated with our eating mistakes. However, everyone is different, and you may find yourself exhibiting characteristics of more than one hunger type. This may make it harder, but you can apply the solutions offered for each category to help you break from your established eating patterns.

Take a look at these hunger types and see where you land:

The Sensory Type

Does the smell, sight, or sound of food set you off and make you want to eat? Does this happen even if you just ate or are not hungry? People that fall into the Sensory Hunger Type crave food when their senses are awakened. In general, people don’t get turned on by broccoli, but certain foods with more typically alluring aromas – like hamburgers – can get you going. The tough thing about this hunger type is that it is so primitive and hard-wired – smelling food and having a growly tummy is an involuntary response. But, the Sensory Hunger Type is often affected by high-calorie foods that are hard to stop eating once you start (e.g. fresh-baked cookies).

Here are some other questions to ask yourself to determine if you are a Sensory Hunger Type. Think about your response to food smells and tastes: Do you audibly moan after eating certain foods (or even smelling them)? Do you get significantly distracted when you see or smell certain foods? 

What are the risks of this hunger type? When you are in places or situations where you are facing the smells, sounds, and sights of your favorite foods, it can be hard to say no. This can be true of Sensory Hunger Types even when they are full. They use cues outside of their bodies to dictate whether or not to eat instead of listening to what’s going on inside of their bodies.