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The Hunger Fullness Scale

The Hunger-Fullness Scale

Written by Jonathan “Quiggy” Quigg

Its really easy, in our busy day and age, to just gobble, zone out or multi-task when we are eating. This leaves us disconnected from our bodies and unaware of what our biological signals may be trying to tell us. Intuitive eating is an approach designed to reconnect us with our bodies, based on the premise that all the sensors we need to navigate our nutritional choices are built within. We just need to learn to pay attention to and use them again. Many of us do this, well, intuitively. But paying more explicit attention to our biological signals can create a happier relationship with food that energizes us. And more energy = smarter study and better play.

One of the great tools of Intuitive Eating is the hunger-fullness scale. Often, we eat just because its meal time, because we are bored or stressed, or because we THINK we are hungry – even when we are really not. The hunger-fullness scale helps us connect with our ACTUAL hunger levels, by feeling into the sensations in our body and giving it a rating on a scale of 1-10.

If I were to describe the scale for myself (and its subjective, so your ratings will have their own meanings unique to you) for your reference:

1 – VERY, VERY hungry – Energy level is LOW. Irritable. HANGRY.

2 – REALLY hungry – hunger pangs, tummy is really speaking to me here.

3 – hungry – hunger pangs starting to happen.

4 – “eh I could probably eat”

5 is neutral

6 –starting to feel my stomach expand

7 – comfortably full

8 – more full than I’d like to be. Baby belly poking out here.

9 – Wayyy too full. Uncomfortable. Lethargic.

10- Thanksgiving day

I suggest taking a moment to check in and rank your hunger level BEFORE you get food. That way you know how much to ask for. Once its on our plate, our eyes are often bigger than our stomachs. But if we are already taking in information from our body, we can make decisions more in tune with our actual hunger level.

Check in periodically during your meal and at the end to see how full you get. Mostly, we want to stay in between 3-7 on the scale, never getting too hungry or too full. This will keep us optimally fueled, comfortable and ready for activities!

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