We are all different—physically, mentally, and hormonally—and all of these factors contribute to how and what we eat.
Rather than blame yourself for past failed diets, it’s time to look at hunger in a different light. In reality, there are several kinds of hunger. There is genuine physical hunger, which we all know by the stomach pains. But the trouble is that there are other kinds of hunger—the kinds that cause weight gain.
What hunger type are you? Take the quiz to find out which Hunger Type is the most appropriate for you. Remember, you may be more than one Hunger Type, which would mean that you can combine one or more Food Plans for your Hunger Type Diet.
Quiz: What Hunger Type Are You?
Please read the following questions, answering yes or no to each, then go to Find Your Hunger Type to find out what your answers mean.
1. My mother was a “worrier” and so am I.
2. I suffer from headaches, indigestion, fast heartbeat, IBS, panic attacks or insomnia.
3. I eat quickly, sometimes not really realizing I am doing it until the food is gone.
4. Evenings and weekends are my danger time for overeating.
5. I eat in front of the computer, TV or in the car.
6. I am a snacker or grazer.
7. I am an “all or nothing” person.
8. An open package of cookies is an empty packet of cookies. I cannot just eat one.
9. Someone in my family has a history of problems with alcohol, drugs, gambling, sex, computer games, or was/is a heavy smoker, or changed homes or locations frequently.
10. When I am upset, I eat to make myself feel better.
11. My favorite foods are bread, pasta, rice and potatoes.
12. I know I can relax when it gets to “wine o’clock”.
13. Dessert is my favorite part of a meal.
14. I love cooking and eating out. I consider myself a foodie.
15. Diet food is boring, so I find it hard to stick to a weight-loss plan in the long term.
16. There is no “off” button for me with food. I never feel full.
17. I am more than a stone (14 pounds) overweight.
18. I eat bigger meals than other people.
19. Usually, I eat well, but in the days before my period (if applicable), I binge on sugar.
20. I have a history of endometriosis and/or ovarian cysts.
21. I have always been curvy, with a D-cup bra size or larger.
22. I “run” on tea/coffee or diet cola.
23. Although I feel tired by about 6 PM, I get a second wind around 10 PM and can stay up late.
24. My favorite snacks are potato chips, peanuts or other salty/highly flavored foods.
25. Sleep is a problem for me. I either can’t get to sleep or I wake in the night.
26. My job involves foreign travel, shifts and/or I have a young baby.
27. Food gives me energy to get through the day.
28. I tend to put on weight in the winter.
29. Sunshine cheers me up and I feel happiest on a beach holiday.
30. When it’s dark outside, all I want to do is stay in bed.
31. I am over 40.
32. I have never had to worry about my weight, but now I can’t stop eating.
33. My doctor has suggested that I take HRT (women) or statins (men).
All Done? Let’s Get To Scoring.
The questions are divided into categories. If you answered yes to two or more questions in the question groups below, you will find the Hunger Type category that relates to you.
If you answered yes to two or more questions in several question categories, you have more than one type of hunger. This is very common.
If you said yes to numbers 1–3, you are an Anxious Hunger Type.
Do you snack compulsively when you feel anxious or worried? When you are anxious or worried do you make yourself a big meal, eat it and still want to eat more? Do you eat at night, even getting up to eat a snack?
If you said yes to numbers 4–6, you are a Bored Hunger Type.
We all get bored from time to time. But rather than take up a hobby, some of us eat instead.
Bored hunger has nothing to do with food enjoyment. Often the food you end up eating when you’re bored is pretty grim.
If you said yes to numbers 7–9, you are a Cravings Hunger Type.
Are there times when you have to eat a certain food; when you’re really driven to it? Are there certain foods that call to you from the kitchen cupboards? Do your efforts to lose weight fail because of a few food favorites that you just can’t resist? You may have cravings hunger.
The desire for these foods isn’t a whim. Those who have cravings hunger are ruled by cravings.
If you said yes to numbers 10–12, you are an Emotional Hunger Type.
If you have emotional hunger, you use food to manage your emotions. Uncomfortable emotions, such as anger, fear, sadness and guilt are pushed down, or tranquilized, with food.
If you said yes to numbers 13–15, you are a Hedonistic Hunger Type.
Do you eat a meal, feel full, but then find yourself reaching for dessert? You love to cook, and eat at new restaurants—is food your passion? On the surface, hedonistic hunger sounds like fun. In reality, it causes overeating and weight gain.
Related: 5 Ways To Avoid Overeating
If you said yes to numbers 16–18, you are a Never-Full Hunger Type.
Do you eat a meal and never feel really satisfied or full? Do you find that your meals are bigger than most? If you have Never-Full Hunger, you may eat big meals, but for you they don’t even begin to satisfy.
If you said yes to numbers 19–21, you are a PMS Hunger Type.
This one’s for the ladies! Let’s face it: we all get hormonal when Aunt Flow comes to town. And who among us can say we don’t reach for chocolate on those bad PMS days?
However, the rise and fall of a woman’s hormones not only controls a her fertility, but it also has a huge effect on her mood, her eating and how much of what she eats gets stored as fat—and even where it’s stored.
If you said yes to numbers 22–24, you are a Stress Hunger Type.
Have you been through a major stressor in the few years? Do you feel tired at about 6 PM, but then have a “second wind” late at night? Have you gained weight around your midsection?
You may think that anxious hunger and Stress hunger are the same thing, but although stress can cause anxiety, the root cause is different. Whereas anxious hunger stems from an overstimulation of the limbic system and a possible deficiency of the neurotransmitter GABA, stress hunger is marked by an overstimulation of the adrenal glands and a possible excess of another hormone called cortisol.
Related: 10 Ways To Stop Stress Eating
If you said yes to numbers 25 – 27, you are a Tired Hunger Type.
Do you have trouble getting to sleep, or do you wake in the night? Do you work shifts, travel to different time zones or have a young baby? Do you eat to give yourself energy to get through the day?
Those who have tired hunger use food to lift themselves up, to give them mental and physical energy.
If you said yes to numbers 28–30, you are a Winter-Blues Hunger Type.
Does cold winter weather make you feel down? Do you eat more comfort foods in winter, and subsequently put on weight? Winter-blues hunger is another variant of emotional hunger.
It is driven by the same hormone —serotonin—although it only happens during winter months and is connected to sunlight. A Vitamin D rich diet is what you need!
If you said yes to numbers 31–33, you are a 40+ Hunger Type.
Are you between 40 and 55? Have you started putting on weight, particularly around your middle, and you don’t know why? Has your appetite increased or are you now craving specific foods?
There are particular hormonal challenges for men and women when they reach this age group and some of them effect eating habits and weight gain.
Knowing more about your hunger type can help you be aware of when cravings will strike, making you less prone to overeat. Start noticing the signs!
Lowri Turner is a popular TV personality, radio broadcaster and consumer journalist in the UK. She is also a qualified nutritionist and hypnotherapist and currently writes on health and lifestyle for magazines including Top Santé and Women’s Fitness. She is the resident nutritionist for Mother & Baby magazine. Lowri sees private clients at two clinics specializing in women’s health and weight loss. She is also author of The Serotonin Revolution from Nourish.
Photo by pandoraofthepillow