The Hunger Scale is a tool which helps us tune into our body’s natural hunger cues. The hunger scale is represented with a range of numbers, “0” representing a place of contentment. The negative side of the scale reflects differing levels of hunger, while the positive side of the scale reflects differing levels of fullness.
As humans, we need high quality foods to fuel and sustain us and enable us to function. This said, we want to keep our hunger and fullness levels in check; thoughtfully balancing between a -4 to a +4 within the Scale.
As we begin to experience hunger, we start to move down the scale in the space of a -1, -2 and so forth with -10 representing starvation. Conversely, as we start to fuel up, we start moving into the positive side of the scale with a 1, 2, and 3 representing increased levels of fullness. The “10” on the scale would represent an extreme state of overindulgence; similar to how you might feel at the end of Thanksgiving Day.
Food is not here to entertain us, or to help us process uncomfortable emotions. And yet, it is a common practice for us to look toward food to entertain, soothe, reward, punish and manipulate ourselves and those around us. This my friends, is why we struggle with obesity.
Have you ever found yourself eating a bag of chips while standing in the pantry? “How did I get to the pantry?” “What am I doing with these chips?” “How many chips have I eaten?” You probably had a moment of boredom and rather than experience this emotion, you slipped into a default habit of grazing in the pantry.
You’re not alone friend! I’ve done this before as well.
So, how can we learn to recognize what our body truly needs? The answer is through becoming aligned with our true hunger cues. Once in tune with our hunger cues, we can then eat from a place of fueling rather than entertainment, boredom or frustration.
As we start to experience genuine hunger, our body signals to our brain that it needs fuel. Hunger is a sensation which starts within our body and travels up to our brain; alerting us to a physiological need. We don’t ever want to let our hunger get completely out of control as this can lead to overindulging and potentially binge eating. Likewise, when eating, we want to come into a place of +2, +3 and +4 on the Hunger Scale.
Learning how to recognize hunger cues, and then partnering these cues with the Hunger Scale, will lead to more purposeful choices. It’s from a place of intentional choices, that we will naturally start to exercise self-restraint and empowerment. As a result of our constraint, we will develop a healthier relationship with food; and maintain our ideal weight.
Click on the link above to watch a short video and learn how other effective ways to identify with and implement the Hunger Scale.