Why Do I Eat When I’m Not Even Hungry?
I believe that so many of us eat when we’re not hungry because we are no longer tuned into our basic physiology, our body and its needs.
Unlike many animals, we eat for many other reasons besides our body’s signaling to us that it needs fuel. Sometimes we eat simply because the food is there. It’s there so why not eat it?
How many parties have you gone to where you weren’t hungry but ate stuff on the buffet table just because it looked good or simply because it was there and eating it seemed the thing to do?
I’d like to introduce you to a tool that I often use in my therapy practice with women who are trying to tune into their bodies’ natural hunger cues. It’s called the Hunger/Satiety Scale.
The Hunger/Satiety Scale
Hunger has a wide range of intensities. Pay attention to your hunger and fullness cues. Imagine hunger as a scale from 1 to 10 where 1 is hunger to the point of light-headedness, 5 is no hunger, and 10 is “Thanksgiving full” where you may even start to feel pain. Ideally, you want to stay in the middle of this range between slightly hungry and comfortably full. If you allow yourself to get too hungry, everything starts to look good and it’s easy to overeat. On the other hand, if you are always eating before you feel hungry, you are ignoring the natural signals that help you maintain a regular body weight. It is important to stop eating just before you feel full because it takes time for the brain to get the fullness message. Some days you will be more active and require more energy than others, so respond to hunger cues appropriately.
To learn about satisfaction, at your next meal, try eating half the food on your plate, and then give yourself a rating of where you are on the hunger/satiety scale. If you are at number five or above, stop eating.