There are many signals that tell us it’s time to eat (other than a rumbling stomach): television ads, social events, smells from the food court, and the candy bowl at the office. These factors in the environment trigger our senses and other mental processes that make us think we are hungry even when we’re not.
The Hunger Rating Scale can help you decide if you are experiencing real hunger.
0-3 (Empty > Ravenous > Over Hungry > Hunger Pangs) – Don’t let yourself get here. When we’re extremely hungry, it’s super easy to overeat. Eat slowly and fill up on whole foods.
3-6 (Hunger Pangs > Hunger Awakens > Neutral > Just Satisfied) – When you feel hunger pangs, that’s a good thing. We’re meant to feel hungry. Honour that hinger and nourish your body with whole foods.
6-7.5 (Just Satisfied > Completely Satisfied) – An awesome place to be in. When you’re satisfied, appreciate that feeling and let it guide you to finish your meal or snack.
7.5-10 (Completely Satisfied > Full > Stuffed > Sick) – Becoming uncomfortably full feels awful. Simply remember to tune-in, listen to your body, and honour your hunger and fullness.
Remember that physical hunger builds gradually over time (usually over several hours after a meal), whereas emotional eating and cravings usually come on very suddenly. Learn to differentiate between the two. Stay healthy.