4 Strategies to Determine Your Hunger

19 Aug 4 Strategies to Determine Your Hunger

What if I told you that hunger is just a tool and not an indicator of deprivation or struggle? And that hunger and fullness are valuable signals that can spark very interesting realizations about your eating patterns and habits?

When losing weight, I find it helpful to know the urge to eat is not always driven by genuine need for nutrition. That’s because hunger is not just one thing, it comes in three distinct forms: physical, emotional, and what I call faux hunger. Physical hunger comes on slowly, while emotional hunger is the exact opposite: it’s erratic and prone to setting in with no warning. What I call faux hunger comes on when you see, smell, or hear about delicious food. If you’re able to recognize what kind of hunger you’re feeling, you’re able to make better food choices. 

Use these 4 strategies to determine when you’re truly hungry and what’s behind your urge to eat.

1.Become more aware of how hungry you are with the hunger scale.

0= starving, 1= hungry, 2= getting hungry, 3= satisfied, 4=getting full, 5= stuffed.  You can also use this system to rate your hunger throughout the week. Are you eating because you’re hungry or because that donut was on the counter? You can also use these descriptions to help you understand what “getting hungry” or “satisfied” feels like for you.

Are you hungry - Liz Josefsberg

2. Look at the clock. A timepiece can be a great or a not-so-great tool. It’s not so great when you think you “should” be eating because the clock says its lunchtime. If you’re not hungry, time doesn’t matter. Pay attention to when you’re hungry and eat when your body tells you it’s time. If you’re just beginning to understand your hunger signals, the clock can be a lifeline! Check in with yourself every hour to see if you have any signs of hunger.

3. Know faux hunger when it calls. If I say, “ooey, gooey, warm chocolate chip cookie,” what happens in your mouth, brain, and body? Do you have an instant reaction that feels a lot like being hungry? If it’s faux hunger and you distract yourself and walk away, the pull will be intense for a moment but you’ll soon forget about it altogether. When you pay attention to when and what you last ate, it helps you determine the type of hunger you’re truly feeling.

4. Separate the emotional from the physical. One way to know if you’re physically or emotionally hungry is to imagine that instead of staring at a cookie, pretend it’s an apple. Would you eat it or walk away? This is also a great way to battle your late night munchies!