What Kind Of Hungry Are You?

03/16/2017 03:07 pm ET Updated Mar 17, 2017

Inauguration day 2017 was a day most Americans will remember, especially my husband and me. We were in New York when I received a phone call from a landscaper who said he was driving by our one-year-old home in Florida and saw water “gushing” from underneath the garage door.

The culprit was a faulty pipe inside the bedroom wall that burst. Thanks to this stranger who took it upon himself to find out who owned the house, call and leave a voicemail, and my next-door neighbor who immediately ran over with our garage remote and key, contractors got inside and gained control of the situation.

Two days later, my daughter and I arrived at the house to find several large commercial dehumidifiers and fans whose work it was to dry out the house after 230 gallons of water had been removed. It was Sunday so no workers were there. The equipment was loud. We had no running water. Walls were torn apart and our beautiful shiny floors were no more. The drenched carpets had been removed from all three guest rooms and their furniture and contents scattered throughout the house. I remember shaking my head and saying to my daughter, “I just want to cry.”

Actually, I didn’t want to cry. I wanted to not feel as hopeless and helpless as I was feeling in the moment. And I wanted a glass or two of wine and a whole bunch of chocolate to help me do it.

But at my core, what I was really hungry for was relief—not food. There was a time when I wouldn’t have known the difference. I’d feel an uncomfortable emotion and then go drown myself in chocolate cake, ice cream and candy bars.

So basically, whenever I felt yucky, I’d eat in ways that later made me feel even worse—physically and emotionally. It was a tough cycle to break, but I broke it. And I firmly believe anyone can.

Our bodies need food when they’re hungry. And about those times when we want to reach for food to avoid feeling something yucky – those are the times we’re better off taking a step back, figuring out what we’re feeling and asking, “What am I really hungry for?”

I decided I wanted relief in the form of answers so I called our builder… at home… on a Sunday. The house remained in a state of chaos, but that discussion made me feel much better than I’d have felt if I’d overindulged in food and alcohol.

There’s a huge difference between physical hunger and emotional hunger. We can do ourselves a huge favor during stressful times by answering just one question: “What kind of hungry am I?”

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