Hunger and Fullness Continuum Scale
After toddlerhood, when eating and appetite are most natural, determining hunger and fullness can become complicated. While it is extremely important to listen to internal cues for hunger and satiety, social factors, previous experiences with foods, and environmental cues often override the internal ability to eat when hungry and stop when full.
For those who need to relearn how to monitor feelings of satiety, a scale can help to impart perspective. This tool is especially helpful for those recovering from an eating disorder, where internal cues were dramatically overridden.
To help you in recognizing which type of hunger you are feeling, seriously think about and study this hunger-satiety rating scale as you eat your meals:
Satiety (how full/satisfied)
10 =Stuffed to the point of feeling sick
9 =Very uncomfortably full, need to loosen your belt
8 =Uncomfortably full, feel stuffed
7 =Very full, as if you have overeaten
6 =Comfortably full, satisfied
5 =Comfortable, neither hungry nor full
4 =Beginning signals of hunger
3 =Hungry, ready to eat
2 =Very hungry, unable to concentrate
1 =Starving, dizzy, irritable
Evaluate where your habits fit using this scale. If you wait to eat until you are “starving,” irritable, or unable to concentrate, you will be likely to eat beyond a comfortable feeling of fullness just to get rid of those bad physical feelings. The goal is to start eating when you have early signals of hunger (4) and to stop when you are full (6).
While it is sometimes challenging in the beginning to figure out where you fall on this scale, it will get easier over time. As recovery progresses, feelings of hunger and fullness will become clearer than at first. However, normal feelings of hunger and fullness are still closely tied to eating disordered thoughts and feelings.
References and recommended reading
Albers S. 7 mindful eating tips. National Eating Disorders Association website. http://www.uhs.berkeley.edu/eda/7Mindful.pdf. Published 2004. Accessed September 8, 2015
Hinzey EM. Mindful eating log. Nutrition411 website. http://www.nutrition411.com/content/mindful-eating-log. Updated March 1, 2014. Accessed September 8, 2015.
Hunger satiety rating scale. Bariatric Support Centers International website. https://www.bsciresourcecenter.com/SGLUpdates/Portion%20Control%20Lessons/Hunger%20Satiety%20Rating%20Scale%20Handout.pdf. Published 2013. Accessed September 8, 2015.
Updated and created by Nutrition411.com
Danielle Anderson is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, who's passion is brain and body wellness. Certified in Mindfulness and Integrative Mental Health. NAMI teacher, QPR Instructor, mom of 2, Zumba instructor, lover of cats, the ocean and books!