Am I Hungry or Bored?

Many people eat to avoid boredom, even if they’re not actually hungry.

Emotional eating can lead to weight gain, and boredom eating may contribute to excess weight.

This article helps you tell the difference between hunger and boredom, as well as provides tips for dealing with both.

What is hunger?

There are two types of hunger: physical and psychological.

Physical hunger is your body’s desire to eat for sustenance, while psychological hunger can be triggered by cravings or external cues.

Physical hunger

This type of hunger is an essential need where your body needs food so it can create more energy.

When you go without eating, your stomach becomes empty and may rumble. You may also experience hunger pangs. When this happens, you may have low blood sugar levels and feel weak, unfocused or fatigued.

Psychological hunger

Psychological hunger can be described as a desire to eat, but you have no physical signs that your body needs food.

Craving sweets while full is common.

Compare this feeling to physical hunger, which can be satisfied by any type of food.

SUMMARY: Physical hunger is the sensation of an empty stomach and something that can only be resolved by eating food. Conversely, psychological hunger comes from cravings, emotional eating or boredom eating.

Psychological hunger triggers

A physical hunger is triggered by an empty stomach and driven by a need for more energy, but many factors play into psychological hunger.

Boredom eating may occur not only as a result of boredom but also because of other triggers such as stress, poor sleep, and junk food.

Here are some of the most common psychological hunger triggers:


Boredom is one trigger for psychological hunger.

Boredom is the most common type of emotional eating, possibly even more so than stress.


Chronic mental stress may trigger food cravings, altering your hunger hormones.

Such hormonal changes may cause people with high levels of stress to be more susceptible to stress-induced food cravings.