The main reasons for weight gain are overeating at meals, emotional eating, or excessive snacking when you’re really not feeling hungry. The Hunger Scale is a way to describe your level of hunger. It can help you to figure out when to eat and when not to eat. If you are having a hard time getting rid of those extra pounds, it’s important to check what you eat as well as how you eat.
Hunger is a natural sensation and should be treated as a valued communication from your body. Your body produces natural signals that indicate when it’s time to eat and it’s important to pay attention to those signals. If you don’t listen to your body’s natural signals, it could result in unhealthy weight gain. Learning to recognize those signals can have a positive impact on managing your weight.
The Hunger Scale can help you to understand the difference between true, physical hunger and emotional hunger (caused by stress, boredom, sadness or happiness). It ranks physical cues of hunger that can help you to identify when to eat and when not to eat. It ranks hunger level on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being “ravenous” and 10 being “stuffed”. You can use it to rate your hunger levels before you start to eat.
- In addition to hungry, you feel weak, dizzy, and grouchy, lack concentration, and may have a headache. There could be a burning sensation in your stomach and you feel totally out of energy.
- You feel agitated, irritable and cranky with low energy levels. Your stomach will be growling frequently and you may also feel nauseous.
- Your stomach feels empty and is ready to eat now.
- You begin to feel hungry and start feeling the need to eat, but you can wait. You start to think about food and your body is giving you the signal that you might want to eat.
- You are content, neither hungry nor full. Your body has had sufficient food to keep going and is satisfied both physically and psychologically.
- You are full up and fully satisfied.
- Though your hunger is gone, you feel there is space for a little more food. Even as your body says no, your mind encourages you to have some more food.
- You feel so stuffed that your stomach is starting to really ache. You feel like you ate much more than you needed.
- You feel very uncomfortable – heavy, tired, and bloated. Your stomach may hurt and you feel like you might get sick.
- You are and feel overstuffed. You’re so full that you are physically miserable, don’t want to or can’t move, and feel like you never want to look at food again. You should have never reached this stage!
The ideal option is to start eating when your hunger is at 3 or 4. For most people, enjoying their food and eating comfortably is possible when they are between 3 and 6 on The Hunger Scale. Getting into the habit of using the Hunger Scale on a regular basis will promote mindful eating and help you maintain a healthy weight.