The Hunger Scale: How much should you eat?

Intuitive Eating is the practice of tuning into and learning more about your personal patterns of hunger and fullness. A tool that will help you improve this practice is the Intuitive

Eating Hunger Scale. Think of hunger and fullness on a scale of 1-10 where a 1 is absolutely starving while a 10 is overly stuffed.

The Intuitive Eating Hunger Scale

Use The Intuitive Eating Hunger Scale as a tool to help you tune into and reestablish your natural hunger and fullness cues. If you are completely new to this, having times or alarms on your phone to remind you to check in with yourself helps. If the alarm for a meal goes off and you are at an 8 still, wait 30-60 minutes and check in with yourself again. 

How to use it when eating:

  1. Begin by rating a meal, or two, each day to see where you fall on the scale.
  2. Before you eat, ask yourself: Am I hungry? What is my hunger level?
  3. The ideal time to eat is when your hunger level is a 3 or 4.
  4. Check-in with yourself during the meal to gauge your fullness and then again after you finish the meal.
  5. The ideal place to end a meal is around level 7, or where you feel comfortably satisfied.
  6. Eat consciously and without distractions.

Dietitian Tip: Don’t ignore natural hunger or fullness signs. The same way that you drink when you are thirsty and stop when you are satisfied, be ok with eating when you are hungry, and stop when you are satisfied. Keep in mind that hunger and fullness cues are not only felt in your stomach. Hunger can also show up as fatigue, anxiety, shakiness, loss of focus, gas, indigestion, and headache. Reduced desire to eat, not thinking about food, or feeling more energized can also be signs of fullness.

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