When you want to eat, but not because your stomach is complaining or you need food to fuel your body. Being mouth hungry is just wanting to eat because you're bored, or want comfort food or something just looks or smells good. (Contrast with stomach hungry.)
Being mouth hungry and giving into it is a major cause of weight gain. Many weight loss discussion forums talk about making sure of the difference and trying to limit eating to when genuinely stomach hungry. Indeed, "Become mindful of whether you are experiencing stomach hunger or mouth hunger" is the #5 lesson given in The Diet Survivor's Handbook: 60 Lessons in Eating, Acceptance and Self-Care by Judith Matz and Ellen Frankel, a book aimed specifically at people who have had difficulty losing weight through various diet plans.
Recommendations for coping with mouth hunger include such ideas as:
- "I've started thinking of mouth hunger as a cry from some inner child, and instead of feeding it, I give it a big cuddle and a glass of water." -- Elsie
- "I get mouth hungry all the time. And when that happens I drink some water. Or I get busy with an activity that I might be trying to avoid by eating. Or I confront whatever unpleasant emotion I might be trying to stuff down." -- Cindy
- "I notice that when I have a pack of gum I eat less because I think I'm the type of person who simply wants to chew a lot and have something in my mouth." -- Amanda