The Hunger Satiety ScalePosted by Victoria on Jun 27, 2012 in Mindful Eating, Weight Management | Comments Off
We eat for many reasons besides feeling ‘stomach hunger’. Sometimes we eat because of time constraints – its lunch break or dinner is on the table. Sometimes we eat because we are feeling jittery or low in energy. Or there is a tempting plate of fresh baked cookies. Or we are feeling bored, lonely or upset. This is all part of normal eating.
However, if you are struggling with eating too much food at times, it can help to become more mindful of the stages of hunger and satiety. Stomach Hunger and Satiety are simply signals from our wise bodies. Mindful eating helps you connect with your body’s inner nutritionist.
- Level Empty – the stomach is uncomfortably empty and you may be feeling anxious and edgy. If you have been dieting or restricting food intake, this level of hunger can trigger overeating or even binging.
- Level 0 – 1 – there is no remnant of food in your stomach from the previous meal – your stomach seems empty and you feel hungry. You are not starving but there is a definite need to eat.
- Level 2 – 4 – you are comfortably eating and food is being digested. There is no sensation of hunger
- Level 5 – you start to feel satisfied. This is a good place to pause. It takes about 20 minutes for the brain and body to coordinate fullness and satiety messages. Slow eating helps you eat to satisfaction or to the ‘point of energy‘.
- Level 6 – you are full, but at the point of maximum comfort. Eating past this point usually depletes your energy. It’s not a good idea to let your satiety get past this point.
- Levels 7 and 8 – the stomach is uncomfortable full and your energy depleted lower than when you started to eat.
- Level Full – you can’t eat another bite and the thought of food makes you sick. You feel lethargic. Eating to this level of fullness is stressful to all the organ systems in your body.
Practice slowing down and listening to your body. Experiment with eating to different levels of satiety. Noticing how your energy feels after eating. Learning to eat ‘to the point of energy’ will maximize energy, stabilize moods and rebalance weight. This exercise is about getting to know yourself, and learning to trust yourself and your body. This bodysense takes time and practice to remember, but we were all born with it. It’s in us waiting to rediscovered.