Mastering Your Eating Habits: How the Hunger Scale Can Transform Your Relationship with Food

hunger scale

Written By:


Ryann Nicole

Let’s be real, when we’re on a journey to better eating habits, the advice “just eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full” can seem as elusive as finding a unicorn in your backyard. But here’s the good news – we have a secret weapon, the hunger and fullness spectrum, to help us decode those tricky hunger and fullness signals that we might have neglected for too long.

What is The Hunger and Fullness Spectrum?

Imagine this scale as your trusty compass, guiding you on your eating adventure. Your aim? To cruise around a comfortable 3ish, avoiding the dangerous over-hunger zone and finishing your meal around a pleasant 7ish.

But hold on, don’t be fooled – you’re not striving for perfection here. Life happens, and you’re only human. There will be days when you’re too busy to eat or, conversely, when you eat to a bit more full. The key is understanding your body’s cues and working towards that 3ish and 7ish sweet spot, setting you up for future success.

Now, let’s embark on a journey to discover how the hunger/fullness scale can be a game-changer for your eating habits:

1. Relearning Your Body’s Signals

When you’ve been ignoring your body’s cues for a while, it’s like trying to remember the lyrics of your favorite song after years of not hearing it. By paying attention to the hunger/fullness scale, you can gradually reacquaint yourself with those long-lost cues. Sure, it might take some practice, but you’ll get there, and it’ll be worth it.

For many, the toughest part is relearning fullness cues. Understanding when to stop at a 7 takes time, but trust me, it’s doable. The key is separating physical fullness from emotional fullness, and with practice, you’ll find your way.

2. Bid Farewell to Clock-Eating

Do you find yourself reaching for lunch because the clock strikes noon, even if you’re not truly hungry? It’s a common habit, but guess what – you can break free from the clock’s grip. When you embrace the hunger scale, the clock takes a back seat. But remember, it’s a gradual process, so start small and take baby steps. Learning to trust your body might stir up some anxiety, but soon, you’ll experience the freedom of eating on your body’s schedule.

3. Blissful Eating at Social Events

Who doesn’t feel a bit anxious when dining at social events? It used to be a challenge for us too, as we often felt powerless over the food choices. We’d either go all-in, enjoying everything to the point of getting unpleasantly full, or swing the other way, refusing to eat anything, only to binge later.

With the hunger/fullness scale in your toolkit, you can approach these events with newfound confidence. You’ll be able to savor delicious dishes without the fear of overindulgence. You can even navigate multi-course meals and save room for that delectable dessert. Trust your body, let go of the anxiety, and embrace life’s pleasures!

Remember, there will be days when you dip below a 3 due to a hectic schedule or sail past a 7 while celebrating special occasions – and that’s absolutely fine! Perfection is not your goal here. You’re all human, and life is meant to be enjoyed. The ultimate goal is to reconnect with your body’s signals because they’re your most reliable guide in this journey.

Must Read Books To Improve Your Relationship With Food 

Just so you know, I do review everything I recommend. When you buy through links on this page, we may earn a commission.

Intuitive Eating by Elise Resch and Evelyn Tribole 

When it was first published, Intuitive Eating was revolutionary in its anti-dieting approach. The authors, both prominent health professionals in the field of nutrition and eating disorders, urge readers to embrace the goal of developing body positivity and reconnecting with one’s internal wisdom about eating―to unlearn everything they were taught about calorie-counting and other aspects of diet culture and to learn about the harm of weight stigma.

Health At Every Size by Lindo Bacon

Fat isn’t the problem. Dieting is the problem. A society that rejects anyone whose body shape or size doesn’t match an impossible ideal is the problem. A medical establishment that equates “thin” with “healthy” is the problem. The solution? Health at Every Size. Tune in to your body’s expert guidance. Find the joy in movement. Eat what you want, when you want, choosing pleasurable foods that help you to feel good. You too can feel great in your body right now—and Health at Every Size will show you how.

Anti-Diet by Christy Harrison

In Anti-Diet, Christy Harrison takes on diet culture and the multi-billion-dollar industries that profit from it, exposing all the ways it robs people of their time, money, health, and happiness. It will turn what you think you know about health and wellness upside down, as Harrison explores the history of diet culture, how it’s infiltrated the health and wellness world, how to recognize it in all its sneaky forms, and how letting go of efforts to lose weight or eat “perfectly” actually helps to improve people’s health—no matter their size. Drawing on scientific research, personal experience, and stories from patients and colleagues, Anti-Diet provides a radical alternative to diet culture, and helps readers reclaim their bodies, minds, and lives so they can focus on the things that truly matter.

Just Eat It by Laura Thomas

With a perfect blend of scientific expertise and relatable anecdotes, the author dismantles societal myths around food and body image. Through practical advice, self-reflection exercises, and a touch of humor, Thomas equips readers with the tools to break free from the cycle of diet culture, promoting self-love and nourishment. This book is an essential companion for anyone seeking to redefine their approach to food, fostering a positive and sustainable lifestyle.

Ryann Nicole

Licensed Therapist, Certified Nutritionist, and Virtual Wellness Coach

Ryann is a licensed therapist and virtual wellness coach who has assisted individuals worldwide in establishing a healthier relationship with food and their bodies.

Are You Ready to Heal Your Relationship With Food? 

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Why Am I Overeating?

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Ryann is a licensed therapist and virtual wellness coach who has assisted individuals worldwide in establishing a healthier relationship with food and their bodies.