Below it a real life play by play of the hunger scale in action--I’m the person doing the assessing and eating.
I find myself wanting to eat. I stop and do a “stomach hunger” check. Where am I on the hunger scale? I find I’m at a 3. That means I am truly hungry.
I think about what I really would like to eat. It’s noon and I decide upon a peanut butter sandwich, a carrot and a nectarine with a glass of milk. My meal consists of some dairy, some protein, some fat, some fruit, some veg.. It has a good macro nutrient balance--that’s to honor my health. But I might have had some potato chips just as well, had I desired them. Today I didn’t desire them. (Good thing too since there were none available.) Now if had wanted pizza I would have had that…or a hot dog..or a hamburger…you get the idea. I chose what I desired today. And since this is an actual happening I’m reporting what I’m actually eating and doing.
My portion of each food is prepared (by me!) and sets before me. How much will I eat--the whole portion? Not necessarily. I may eat more, I may eat less. The amount remains to be determined. I have given myself permission to eat until I am full. I have given myself permission to leave some food if the prepared amount is too much…as well, I may add to the portion should I find myself still hungry when it is gone. No stress here…no limitations, no restrictions, no feelings of deprivation.
I take note again, as I begin eating, where my hunger is on the scale. Getting closer to a 2 now. I begin to eat. Periodically I assess my hunger level…am I nearing neutral (5), where I am no longer hungry, but yet not full? And taste…does the food really taste good to me? If it doesn’t taste good I’m certainly not going to eat it if there is anything else available. Eating food that does not taste good may fill me, but it won’t satisfy me. Food satisfaction is very important when/where choices exist. Were I living in a third world country and all I had was a bowl of rice--well then I wouldn’t have any choice. But it wouldn’t be a problem…because there wouldn’t be food I could go foraging for and devour after I finished my meager bowl of rice.
I continue to eat, periodically assessing my hunger/fullness level knowing this: I don’t have to stop---that I may, should I desire, eat past the fullness level--- as in overeat. But--and this is the big but--- why would I do that when I can eat what I want, when I want, in the quantity I want?
Now I’m at a 7 on the scale and I’m feeling full. Taking a moment to assess slows my eating down a tad and gives my body a chance to get the “full” message to my brain. I also note: that peanut butter sandwich tasted really good when I started eating it but it’s not tasting that great now---do I really want those last 2 bites? And the carrots…they’re o.k. now too..but not great…maybe I’ll stop here. And I still have my nectarine. Think I’ll save it until later…when I’m hungry again. Being thirsty, I decide to finish the last few swallows of milk in my glass and then I call it quits. I’m full.
BTW: I put 2 tablespoons of peanut butter on my sandwich! It’s organic and a good fat to boot. The rest of my meal contained minimal amounts of fat. Note though, I’m not restricting fat---just pointing out that I chose my meal based on what sounded good and my choices today were good. Some days they may not be as good from a health standard, but if they are what I’m craving, what I’m desiring, I will be less likely to overindulge. And I believe that over a day or two or three my food choices will promote health and nourish my body. That’s the IE way of thinking and living.
Follow up: Since I was running errands following lunch I took my nectarine with me. I got hungry later and ate it in my car sitting in the parking lot of Kroger’s before I went in to do my shopping. Might I add that it was juicy, sweet and delicious! Good thing I had some napkins and wet wipes in the car.