hunger scale
Binge Eating

Reduce Binge Eating and Over Eating with the Hunger Scale

September 19, 2020

Ryann Nicole

Hi, I’m Ryann.

Your Not-So-Average Food Freedom Therapist & Virtual Coach. As a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), Certified Nutritionist with a BA in Psychology, and a MA in Professional Counseling, yes I do a little of the "so how does that make you feel".

But my ultimate goal is to provide you with the resources you need, in an easy-to-understand way, on healing your disordered relationship with food and your body. 

TOp categories
Get The Free 5 Steps To Stop Binge Eating Guide
Download Now

Binge Eating

Healthy Habits

Body Image

Emotional Eating

Mental Health 

A hunger scale is a beneficial tool when you are trying to balance out your eating habits. I don't know about you, but when I was struggling, people used to tell me,” just eat when you're hungry and stop when you're full,” I would look at them and think, but I don't know what that feels like. When you can think about your hunger and fullness on a physical scale, relearning those cues after rejecting them for so long is easier. 

Here is the Hunger Scale I Use:

The goal is to eat around a 3 to avoid dropping into that over-hunger zone that will make you more likely to overeat or binge. And the goal is to stop eating around a 7 to avoid feeling uncomfortably full or overeating. 

I want to emphasize the word “goal” here.

We are human, and the goal isn't perfection. There will be days when you are busy and undereat and days when life happens, and you overeat. However, by better understanding your hunger cues and aiming for this 3 and 7 when you eat, you set yourself up for future success. Below are three ways the hunger/fullness scale can better your relationship with eating:

01. Relearn hunger/fullness cues 

When you ignore your hunger and fullness cues for a while, it is natural to forget what those feel like. By focusing on the hunger/fullness scale when you eat, you can learn what those cues feel like. This might take some time to tap into, but with more practice, you will get there.

For me, the most challenging part was relearning fullness cues. Learning how to stop around a 7 and what that felt like took a while. I also fear that if I lived my life stopping at a 7, I would never feel proper fullness again. For me, this meant separating body fullness from emotional fullness. It took time, but I learned, and you can too!

02. Break your attachment to clock eating 

Do you know when 12 rolls around and you feel like you must eat lunch then? Most people (whether they realize it or not) let the clock dictate when to eat. This is the way it is in our society! When you eat with the hunger scale in mind, you entirely take the clock out. For this to work, you must fully commit to listening to your body and eating when it tells you to eat. This is regardless of what time it is or how long it has been since you last eaten.

With any changes, remember baby steps. Learning to trust your body can create a lot of anxiety. Start small if you feel anxious about not following a clock to eat. Look at the clock a little less each day. I promise you, though, listening to your body over the clock is one of the most freeing feelings! You will get there!

03. More enjoyment at social food events 

Who else gets significant anxiety when attending an event that includes a meal? This used to be very hard for me because I felt I had no control over the food I was eating. This would usually go one of two ways for me:

  1. I would say, “F-it, I'm already eating this food, might as well enjoy it,” and then eat until over full.
  2. OR I would say, “I'm not eating any of this,” Then get home starving and binge.

Using the hunger/fullness scale, you can eat these fun foods without overdoing them. You can use the scale with coursed meals to ensure you have room for the next meal and dessert! Again, trust your body. Let go, and allow yourself to enjoy more life!

There will be days where you're super busy and drop below a 3 and days where you enjoy yourself and eat past a 7. That is okay! Perfection is NEVER the goal. Heck, I just did that the other day for my birthday! We are human, and this is life, and life is meant to be enjoyed. The ultimate goal is to relearn how to listen to our bodies – they do not lie!!

Grab A Free Resource

kickstart your journey to food freedom

free guide


free lesson


Your Not-So-Average Food Freedom Therapist & Virtual Coach