Use a hunger scale to control eating and lose weight

Use a hunger scale to control eating and lose weight

Use a 0-10 hunger scale. Start eating at 3 (slightly hungry) and stop eating at 5 (content).

Use a 0-10 scale to rate your hunger throughout the day.

  • Learn to start eating when you are slightly hungry (rating 3).
  • Learn to stop eating when you feel content (rating 5).
  • Avoid the extremes of waiting until you are starving to eat, and eating so much that you feel stuffed.

Practice listening to your body’s hunger and fullness cues, especially before and during a meal or snack.

Using the hunger scale can bring awareness to whether or not you are eating for the right reasons (physical hunger vs. mental hunger). It can also be used to practice portion control.

0-10 Hunger Scale (0 = starving, 10 = stuffed)

0 – You are STARVING

You have waited so long to eat you can barely function.

1 – You are very hungry

You are light headed, irritable, and might have a headache. You can’t concentrate and feel very low on energy.

2 – You are moderately hungry

Your stomach has been growling for a while and you know you’ve waited too long to eat. You’ve started losing energy and focus.

If your hunger rating is 0, 1, or 2, you have waited too long to eat. At this point, you probably feel like you could eat anything and everything. When you’re this hungry, it’s hard to make healthy choices and use portion control.

3 – You are slightly hungry

Your stomach is growling and telling you it needs food (energy). This is a good time to start eating.

4 – You are hungry for a little bit more food.

You can eat a few more bites before you’ll feel like you ate just the right amount.

5 – You are CONTENT

You are neither hungry nor full. You ate just the right amount of food, enjoyed it, and feel satisfied.

6 – You have room for a few more bites.

You have room for a few more bites before you’ll start to feel full.

Pay close attention to your 4-6 ratings during a meal or snack. There is a fine line between the point when you are content, are hungry for a few more bites, and you start to feel full.  Eating slower can help you pay attention to this.

7 – You are slightly full

You know if you keep eating you will start to feel uncomfortable.

8 – You are moderately full

You know you ate too much and are thinking to yourself, “I wish I didn’t eat that last piece of (insert food)”.

9 – You are very full

You feel very uncomfortable after eating too much. You feel bloated and nauseous.

10 – You are STUFFED

You are extremely uncomfortable. Your stomach hurts and you feel sick; all you want is to lie down and make the feeling go away.

There are different versions of hunger scales online. Use one that works for you. The most important thing for weight loss is that you learn to pay attention to your level of hunger and fullness. Avoid the extremes of starving and feeling stuffed.

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About the Author
Stephanie Averkamp

About the Author was created by Stephanie Averkamp, a recognized health and fitness professional and sole-author of the content on this website. Stephanie's approach to weight loss emphasizes making small, realistic, and permanent lifestyle changes. Read more...

Stephanie Averkamp

Our Approach: Short-term solutions (like dieting) are unrealistic and ineffective because at some point they end. As soon as a diet or program ends, so do the results. Permanent weight loss is a journey; it's not a race or competition and there is no finish line. Read more...