You eat all the right foods — big leafy salads, bean soups, salmon, oatmeal and other whole grains — but you still can’t lose weight and worse yet, you may have even tacked on some extra pounds. Here’s why HOW you eat is just as critical as WHAT you eat to shed those stubborn pounds.
‘Reach and Eat’ Behavior
Reach and eat behavior is mindless eating. It’s automatic. You eat without asking yourself, “Am I hungry?” or “Am I full?”.
‘Reach and Eat’ triggers:
- Walking past a vendor on the street
- Driving by a burger drive-through
- Passing a bowl of candies or food samples
- Walking into the office snack room
- Stopping at a gas station convenience store
Use ‘The Hunger Scale’ to Lose Weight (a.k.a. How to Stop Dieting)
Losing weight requires two key fundamental habits:
- Recognizing your own levels of hunger and fullness (satiety)
- Acting on your body’s hunger and satiety signs
The Plus Side to Using The Hunger Scale
You decide what and how much to eat and cultivate a healthy relationship with food. Instead of focusing on external cues (i.e., being told what you should eat), you get to focus on your own internal cues (i.e., your level of hunger/fullness, cravings).
As a baby or toddler, you likely ate naturally when you were hungry, and stopped when you were comfortably full. Use “The Hunger Scale” as an easy tool to help re-learn how to eat. Master it, and you can lose weight without “dieting”.
The Hunger Scale
Tune out those external cues, such as what to eat and when to eat. Instead, listen to your own feelings by practicing ‘The Hunger Scale’ habit.
Don’t wait this long to eat…
1 Ravenous — “I’m starving!” Dizzy, weak, nauseous, shaky. You’re so hungry you’ll eat anything.
2 Uncomfortably Hungry — Lots of stomach growling. You are over-hungry and pre-occupied with hunger. You’re irritable, have low energy and a headache. Feel like ordering everything on the menu.
Eat now, then stop…
3 Very Hungry — Stomach is beginning to growl. You have hunger pangs. The urge to eat is strong.
4 A Little Hungry — Beginning to feel hungry. It’s time to think about what to eat, but you can wait to eat.
5 Neutral (Neither Full Nor Hungry) — “My mind is on things other than food.”
6 Satisfied and Light — “I could eat more but…”. You are pleasantly full.
Stop eating before this point…
7 Full — Feel slightly uncomfortable. You won’t be hungry for 3 to 4 hours.
8 Very Full — Feel stuffed. Need to unbutton your pants. You don’t want anything else. “I ate more than I needed to.”
9 Very Uncomfortably Full — Feel heavy. Thanksgiving full. Your stomach aches.
10 Painfully Full — Feel so full you may be sick (binge fullness).
Stay in the range of No. 3 (Very Hungry) to No. 6 (Satisfied and Light). When you do, you’ll lose weight AND feel more energetic.
Fit Tip: Become an “intuitive” eater by becoming reacquainted with your hunger and satiety signals. Eating mindfully also means eating slowly. Changing an eating behavior is not easy, so give yourself lots of time to practice The Hunger Scale habit.