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Eat When You’re Hungry…When You’re Really Hungry

It sounds simple enough- eat when you are hungry. Yet most of us don’t know how to eat at the right time and we struggle to distinguish  physical hunger from emotional hunger. I strongly believe that learning what it means to be truly, physically hungry and how to stop when you are just full enough, is an essential part of healthy living and critical to reaching and maintaining healthy weight.

Many years ago, when I was co-leading a program on emotional eating, I came across this Hunger-Fullness Continuum, which is a scale from 1-11 that measures hunger and fullness. I have shared it with countless clients since then and, always find that it helps prevent emotional overeating. By connecting individuals with their internal cues they are spared from becoming so hungry that they reach a #2 and are “irritable and cranky” or so full that they reach an #11 and want to “pop”! In time, they learn to always fall between a four and seven, which encourages eating before you are too hungry and stopping when you are just full enough.

The awareness that comes from using a scale like this encourages more mindful eating and increases consciousnesses about what drives us to eat. It ensures that we are eating because we are truly hungry for food and not for something else. That “something else” can be anything such as sleep, happiness, peace and is not going to be settled through food. Use this tool and in time you will be intuitively eating for the right reasons and increase your connection to your internal cues for true hunger.