The Hunger-Fullness Scale

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The Hunger-Fullness Scale is a great tool to distinguish physical hunger from all the other reasons we eat. The ultimate goal is to eat when you are hungry, and stop when your body has had enough. By using the scale, you get  to know your patterns, habits, and current preferences – and you can use that information to gradually practice new ways of caring for yourself.

The Hunger-Fullness Scale goes from 0 (starving) – 10 (stuffed).  4 – 6 is comfortable.

The goal is to stay close to the comfortable range. I try to keep above 2, because when I drop into the bottom end (o-2) I feel so hungry that I tend to choose poorly and overeat. I also try to stop eating before I feel full. (5-6) It takes about 20 minutes for the brain to get the message that the belly is full, so stopping before I’m full helps keep me from feeling overly full a little later. It’s a great tool for monitoring my body’s needs. Sometimes, I want a second helping, but can tell myself to wait and if I still want more in 10-20 minutes, I can have it. Most of the time, the urge for more dissipates.

Give it a try. You can practice checking in with your body any time of the day – when you wake up, before you start eating, in the middle of a meal, at the end of a meal, or late at night. The idea is to notice your patterns. Practice observing the numbers with compassion, and let go of the judgment as quickly as you can. Simply noticing  is the first step to gradually shifting. You might discover that it is common for you to get so low on the scale, down to a 1-2 before  a meal. Of course, feeling out of control, and eating till an 8-10 would be a natural outcome.

The Hunger-Fullness scale is a great tool to learn to eat the amount that is just right for you!