Unpacking the Hunger Mystery: Why We Eat Without Need and Tips to Change That

Decoding Non-Hungry Eating: Strategies for Overcoming Emotional and Habitual Eating Patterns

Welcome to our latest blog feature on an enlightening episode of the ‘Beyond Intuitive Eating’ podcast, where host Beth Basham, an expert in intuitive eating, delves into the common phenomenon of eating when not hungry. In episode 30, titled ‘3 reasons you eat when you’re not hungry and how to shift it,’ Beth offers insightful reasons and practical strategies to understand and address this behavior.

Beth begins by explaining that eating when not hungry often stems from emotional coping. Surprisingly, she suggests that using food as an emotional tool isn’t inherently bad; it’s a natural response devised by our intelligent bodies. The key is recognizing this coping mechanism without judgment and considering alternatives if we choose to shift our patterns. Beth even provides a journal prompt to help listeners explore other strategies for emotional coping.

The second reason Beth cites for eating when not hungry is habitual eating. Rather than labeling habits as ‘good’ or ‘bad,’ Beth encourages listeners to view them neutrally. She offers a step-by-step verbal tool to help dismiss the urge to eat from habit, suggesting engaging in a new productive activity to redirect focus.

Lastly, Beth discusses the concept of ‘Vitamin S’ – satisfaction. For years, many of us have made food choices based on rules rather than satisfaction. Beth invites listeners to seek foods that truly satisfy, holding that deprivation can lead to seeking more food, even when not hungry. It’s about giving ourselves permission to fulfill our ‘Vitamin S’ needs, whether it’s indulging in full-fat ice cream or savoring a bowl of salad.

Beth wraps up by humanizing the experience of eating when not hungry. Despite our best efforts, we might still eat outside of hunger cues, and that’s okay because we are human. She stresses the importance of trusting our bodies and allowing them to self-regulate. Ultimately, Beth’s message isn’t about ending overeating but about cultivating a mindset shift and learning to trust your body.

For those grappling with negative thoughts about their body and their eating habits, Beth highlights her group coaching program, Peace with Food and Soul. Designed to help participants shed food and body guilt, this program supports creating health from the inside out.

This episode of ‘Beyond Intuitive Eating’ is an invitation to embrace self-compassion, understand our eating habits, and trust our bodies’ wisdom. If you’ve struggled with eating when not hungry, consider Beth’s insights as a step towards peace with food and yourself. For more support, remember to check out Beth’s private coaching and free Facebook group dedicated to this journey. Share this podcast with a friend who might resonate, and join us next week for another episode that supports your well-being.

You can listen to episode 30 here


00:00 Food can be a helpful coping strategy.

05:37 Explore alternative coping strategies to food use.

10:13 Shift attention to break habit loop cycle.

13:37 Choose foods that truly satisfy your cravings.

14:38 Eat diverse foods to meet nutrient needs.

19:27 Shift mindset, trust body, and start eating satisfactorily.

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