How to use the hunger and fullness scale
One of the simplest and most effective tools to use to begin to better connect with your body, give your body what it needs and stop unintentionally overeating is the hunger and fullness scale.
Never heard of it? The hunger and fullness scale is a simple, 10-point scale to help you better recognize your body’s cues so you can learn to eat when you’re (really) hungry and stop when you’re (actually) full.
What does it do? Learning to recognize hunger and fullness isn’t the only factor in learning to become an intuitive eater, but it’s a huge step forward in helping you create a deeper connection with your body’s needs, without relying on (largely inaccurate) tracking apps, portion control or point systems. Learning how to recognize your hunger and fullness is a skill that will last a lifetime, you don’t need any special tools (other than the one I’m sharing today), it’s 100% free and it will eliminate the need to track or measure- because you’ll know your body well enough to go without.
How does it work?
Instead of starting at the 1 or the 10, the hunger and fullness scale starts at a five- neutral, where you’re neither hungry, nor full. From there, it goes down (4 to 1) as you become more and more hungry, or up (from a 6 to a 10) as you become more and more full.
Your goal? Begin eating around a 4, or perhaps a 3. You’re starting to get hungry, or you’re definitely hungry- but not allowing yourself to get to the point of uncomfortably hangry (a 2) or painful/ill (a 1). Then, as you’re eating, your goal is to stop eating when you’re satisfied or full- around a 6 or a 7, and avoid getting to the point of stuffed/over-full (an 8) or thanksgiving full (a 9) or the worst, painfully full/sick (a 10).
The reason this works so well? The better you tune into your hunger, the easier it is to tune into your fullness and eat just enough for you.
Your needs change on a daily basis- and where calorie counting, macro tracking, points and portions fall short is that they don’t recognize these daily nuances and it often creates a cycle of consistently undereating to overeating, undereating to overeating. The hunger and fullness scale allows you to find a place of balance, without extremes.
Are you going to ‘get it right’ every time? No, probably not-- and that’s ok! Each time you tune in to your body, you learn from the experience-- and in turn, you develop more trust that you can recognize your body’s cues and respond- without needing outside sources telling you what you should or shouldn’t do (even though they don’t know you!)
Grab a printable version of the hunger + fullness scale in my free 5-day Stress-free eating guide.
Do you use the hunger/fullness scale? How has it helped you in eating more mindfully and intuitively?