Hey Angels and Alphas,
Whether you want to lose weight or gain lean muscle, the ability to feel out your fullness and hunger is crucial. And lucky for us, it’s something we’re all born with.
Babies and little children never need to be told how much food or milk they need to consume in order to stay healthy. Instead, it’s just built into them – when they are satisfied, they just become disinterested with food and just stop eating.
As adults, it’s more difficult for us to gauge when our tanks are full or when we are nearing empty because a lot of the food has simply become social – it’s a way to deal with stress, sleep deprivation, even boredom.
The good news is that there’s one single tool called the HUNGER SCALE, which can help you tune back into your body and listen to these hunger and fullness signals so you’re not overfilling your stomach or just waiting too long before you put something in it.
WHAT’S A HUNGER SCALE?
By visualizing a hunger scale from 1-10, in which 0 is an empty stomach and 10 is feeling stuffed, we can train ourselves to tune in to our ability to feel hunger and fullness.
While everyone has their own definitions for an empty stomach and feeling full, physical experiences and symptoms of what fullness and hunger look like remain largely the same.
HOW SHOULD YOU USE A HUNGER SCALE?
Hunger scales are used to aid weight loss, aid lean muscle gain, or simply aid you to live healthy. If you want to stronger control of yourself and decrease the chances of mindless or emotional eating, try using the hunger scale. Here’s how:
BEFORE YOU EAT, RANK YOUR HUNGER.
How hungry are you right now from 1-10? If you’re rating yourself overly hungry at just 0-3, just pay some extra attention to how fast you are eating. You should purposefully slow down and eat mindfully, so you don’t pass through all the satisfaction phases without even realizing it.
Gentle or light hunger can start to be felt at around 4, and slight satisfaction felt at around 6. These are ranges in which it’s completely normal to eat a meal, but you might feel like you don’t really need to eat as much to get to the highest point of satisfaction. A little snack could be your best choice here.
If you are satisfied and your body does not feel hungry, but you have delicious food in front of yourself right now, and you are tempted to go at it… simply ask yourself “Does my body need this right now?” This is a great question to ask yourself if you want to dodge eating for emotional reasons. Once again, eat mindfully – take care of yourself because even if you’re eating for emotional reasons, food will still leave you feeling empty.
RANK YOUR HUNGER AGAIN IN THE MIDDLE OF YOUR MEAL
As you are taking bites off your delicious meal, continue to check in with yourself and your current satisfaction level. Don’t just go on autopilot and clean your entire plate. Keep in mind it only takes a couple of bites to start feeling that light satisfaction.
If you stop in the middle of your meal, gauge your hunger, and it’s at somewhere around a 7, 8, or a 9… but you still have food on your plate, don’t just throw in the towel and keep eating until you’re finished. Simply push your plate away and ask for a to-go box.
JUST BEFORE YOU FINISH YOUR MEAL, RANK YOUR HUNGER AGAIN
If you feel that you’re at an okay satisfaction level near the end of your meal, this means you likely did a good job of choosing your portion sizes. That’s great!
If you find that you’ve overdone it a little bit, please realize that overeating does happen from time to time. Even to intuitive eaters. Don’t feel guilty, don’t beat yourself up, and instead, ask yourself why you kept eating past the point of fullness.
Were you just overly hungry when you started? Or maybe the food just tasted too good? Or maybe you just didn’t want to “waste” it?
IF YOU FEEL LIKE YOUR FULLNESS/HUNGER METER IS NOT WORKING PROPERLY…
Realize that before you can accurately assess your hunger and fullness levels, you need to practice using the hunger scale to tune in to your body’s cues.
If you’ve, for example, been severely restricting your calories and you find yourself jumping from diet to diet and going through periods of binge eating, it’s very difficult to determine true hunger and fullness. Those innate senses have been turned off and ignored for too long, and they need to be brought back to the surface… and with the hunger scale, that’s exactly what you’ll learn how to do.