True Hunger vs. False Hunger & Pink Cloud Syndrome

June 9, 2019by TonyaTittle

Our personal trainers at Energy Fitness downtown Memphis have had countless conversations with clients about hunger, meal planning and making better nutritional choices more consistently. Many actually admit that they are emotional eaters and don’t know how to stop. Do you know those super annoying people (uhh…I’ve been accused of being one) that say they eat for fuel and stay in the healthy zone 80% of the time with little or no effort? You also probably know those people that cave to cravings, food pushers or yo yo dieters that “feel they’ve worked hard..been good and deserve something not on a supportive eating plan”. You may even be one yourself. Eating when not actually hungry is called hedonic eating? Aside from caloric intake and hormonal imbalance obesity and overeating can also result from eating that is not driven by hunger. Recent research found that excess food intake is largely driven by the palatability of food and the pleasure derived from eating.

Lot’s of busy, bored or stressed individuals regardless of socioeconomic, gender, religion or willpower perceive what feels like physical hunger when is not that at all. Instead it may be emotional or spiritual hunger, such as a need for affection, affirmation, understanding, competency, accomplishment, or a deeper connection. Or maybe what first seems like hunger is even something else, such as anger, loneliness or tiredness. A tool called HALT can help you reclaim your brain/body connections.




  1. Pause for a moment.
  2. Ask if you're feeling hungry, or is it anger, loneliness, or tiredness (HALT?)
  3. Go deeper: Is there something I need or want that I am not getting, in this moment?

By recognizing the signals that your body gives you, you can prevent the loss of appetite regulation, hedonic eating, chronic overfeeding, and a rising set point weight. Not every pang of hunger needs to be treated with food. 

You’re not going to starve by missing a meal or a snack. There will be another meal. Tuning in to and discerning the messages you get from your body about hunger can help you shift to a place of balance between the left and right hemispheres, and develop a more peaceful and satisfying relations with food, brain, body and a set point. (Brain Body Diet, Sara Gottfried, M.D.)

Have you heard of Pink Cloud Syndrome?

My husband Mark recently heard and told me about something called the pink cloud syndrome as relates to weight quitting alcohol or drugs and can be applied to weight loss as well. An addiction can be many things which is simply called your drug of choice: food, drugs, shopping, alcohol, work, exercise, social media. In addiction recovery, the “pink cloud” is a term used to describe a high-on-life feeling in one’s journey to recovery. The Pink Cloud Syndrome is a curious but often short-lived phenomenon. Many people, after detoxing, feel too good about their recovery, as they’re finally able to see the real world behind a curtain of pills, drinks, and needles. An addict’s life is a roller coaster of emotions, and emotions are what trigger an addiction in the first place. Like any roller coaster, it’s not possible to stay joyful and delusional all the time: eventually, you’ll come closer to the ground, and that can bring too much disappointment to handle. The real world and all the problems that you are still facing can hit you, and that can be the first step to relapse. Many people in early recovery think that they’ll never face any pain and that they are cured. Addicts can feel too confident and may start to believe that the key to recovery is only in their hands: they forget that recovery is a long process, and not an on-off switch.(

In Summary

Simply being aware is at least the first step in the right direction toward your best body and brain. You’ve heard it a million times and here it is again. Mindfulness and tuning in to your body and it’s signals it gives you can bring you in line with optimal health. ONLY YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR WHAT GOES INTO YOUR MOUTH! REGAIN CONTROL!!! Have you tried journaling your feelings as you progress through your journey to lose weight, tone up, train for a race, or put on weight? Before and After pictures are only one piece of the puzzle the other is what’s in your mind and journaling may be just the insight you need to stop self sabotaging.

Live in the Memphis area and need to be inspired to get into your best shape or eat healthier and don’t know where to start?


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