A Simple Trick to Tame Your Appetite

Ever get up from the table and feel like you’re going to bust out of your jeans? You’re not alone!

To get back in control of your eating, you can use a helpful tool called the hunger scale. It’s simply a way of rating your hunger and fullness levels so you know when to start eating, and when to stop.

I use a range of 1 to 5; with 1 being ravenous, 5 being stuffed. But you can create a more nuanced scale if you’d like. Start by ranking your physical hunger before you sit down to eat. Then at least two times during the meal, put down your fork and rank your hunger again. Finally, when you’re finished eating, do one last assessment. It might seem a bit unnatural at first to take pauses during meals, but trust me—the results will be revealing.

If you’re anything like my clients, here’s what you’ll find:

  • When you start a meal at level 1, you inevitably eat way too fast and end up at an overfull level 5. To remedy this, force yourself to sloooow down. Also, try to identify why you got so hungry in the first place, and make an effort not to let it happen again.
  • When you begin at a normal hunger level of 2, you eat more slowly and mindfully. This helps you recognize when you’re comfortably full and that it’s time to stop eating. Keep it up!
  • When you’re already at a level 4 or 5 (perhaps because of too much pre-dinner snacking?), tapping into the hunger scale will help you choose to forgo the meal or just have something light, like soup or a salad.

For more clever weight loss tips, check out this advice from big weight loss winners.