The hunger scale is a tool that will help you get back in touch with your body and what it is trying to communicate. It’s just like the fuel tank in your car, except that it’s the fuel tank for your body.
The first step in using the hunger scale is to make sure you know what hunger feels like. Not the crazy, starving hunger that screams at you when you have gone many hours without eating. Rather the whisper that you will need to listen to in order to really hear your body’s wisdom. This whisper is faint and subtle and is often ignored.
Remember that the sensation of hunger is satisfied with fuel food while the emotion of hunger is satisfied with self-love. -10 -9 -8 -7 -6 -5 -4 -3 -2 -1 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10.This is a hunger scale used for physical hunger only.
It runs from -10, which is starving, to +10, which is stuffed. Zero is neutral where you are not hungry and you are not full. This scale is used as a gauge, like the fuel gauge in your car. When your body gets to -2, it’s time to feed it. When you get to +2 you should stop eating. This will keep you in a range where you will never really get too hungry and you will never feel deprived. You will feel satisfied all day long. Your body will know that it’s going to be fed habitually according to its desires.
If you can learn to reallyapply this tool, you will solve your weight issue for good!
This is a challenging because at first when you stop at 2, your emotional state will surface and feel uncomfortable. For now you must understand the simple truth that stopping at 2 on a regular basis is the first indication that you are truly connected to yourself and your body. I suggest you look at the scale, and stay within a small range right in the middle. It is about the size of your stomach (which is about the size of your fist.) As you get to know your -2, you will recognise it is time for a little fuel. It won’t scream or interrupt you with a loud growl. It is a subtle emptiness with a little gentle growl.
At this point, you have enough time to prepare a small meal or snack and eat. As you are eating, you will slowly notice your body moving from -2 to -1 to 0. Then, you will feel your stomach filling up and moving to 1, then 2. As you arrive at 2, you will need to stop eating. This means that if you are right in the middle of a meal, a sandwich, or a protein shake–stop.
At this point, I suggest being hyper-vigilant. This is very important in terms of training your bodyto trust your brain recognising that you are listening. This is not a time for justifications or rationalization. Do not judge your body for its opinion. Just get to know it.
Many times, you will be shocked at how quickly they get to 2. For some, it takes very little food. It is amazing to eat so little and not feel physical deprivation. By the very definition of being at 2 on the hunger scale, you will feel satiation and not physical deprivation. Other times, diet flashbacks and worry will come up. Just let those feelings surface and remember that you are truly physically gratified. As you might have guessed, by eating according to your body and its wisdom, you will be eating more often throughout the day. This usually requires some planning. You will need to have food with you so you won’t go beyond -2. You will feel comfortable stopping at 2, knowing you have more food available for the very next time you get hungry. It is okay to play around with the food scale and eat only a few bites to get you to -1. This will hold you over for the approaching dinner time or planned event.
Be careful not to let yourself get too hungry. Keep yourself fed before you go past -2, soas to not eat everything in sight. When you get too hungry, you set yourself up to eat convenient foods and not necessarily what your body needs. Stop eating at 2 so you can feel light and not feed your body more than it needs. Listening to your body and honouring its signals is one of the true forms of self-love. This is a practice and a way of life. It requires you to invest your time and energy into your relationship with your body. It requires you to respect it. It requires you to listen to it.
Remember, these are not guidelines to be followed without concern to your body. If you find your body has a different plan, your body wins! But this will help get started:
*Eat six small meals a day every three hours (two of these meals can be ahigh-grade nutrition bar or protein shake).
*Eat a serving of fuel carbohydrates “good carbs” and a serving of fuel protein at each meal (more information on fuel foods later).
*Make sure at least three of the meals have a serving of vegetables.
*A serving size is the size of your fist (this is the actual size of your stomach).
*Drink an 8 oz. bottle of water every two hours.
When you eat small meals all day long you stay within the range, never getting too hungry and never getting too full. It delivers a steady stream of energy throughout the day, keeps you within a sensible range on the hunger scale, and is in line with what most bodies need.
1. How does your body feel at -2?
2. How does your body feel at +2?
3. How does your body feel at 0?
4. How does your body feel at -4?
5. How does your body feel at +4?
6. When are you most likely to overeat?
STOPPING AT +2
One of the best feelings you will encounter is when you stop eating at +2 on the hunger scale. Many times you will want to keep eating even though you are physically full. The reason you want to keep eating is an emotion. When you give yourself the gift of stopping and feeling you will learn so much about yourself and your relationship with food.
1. What does it feel like to stop at +2 when you want to keep eating?
2. What is the dominant feeling that comes up?
3. Is it difficult not to obey or react to this feeling?
4. What thoughts do you notice that may be causing the feeling?
5. How long does the feeling last?
6. Does overeating past +2 prevent the feeling or just distract you from it?
Thus contact me if you need weigh loss assistance or coaching in Johannesburg, Pretoria or anywhere in Gauteng. I’m a great motivator.
By Mark’s Jones