This is the second in a series of tips to help you Stop Emotional Eating. The Word for this Week is “Enough.” It’s all about portion size and satiety – knowing when you’ve had enough food, and learning to stop eating before you become uncomfortably full. Today’s supersize portions are only part of the problem. From childhood, we’ve learned to eat until our plate is empty, regardless of how our stomachs feel. We often see food as a reward, a way to satisfy our emotional needs, rather than a way to satisfy our true physical hunger.
In my last blog I shared some emotions that can drive us to overeat. In this blog, I’d like to share a simple exercise that will help you to recognize your physical hunger cues. This chart is from Why Weight? A Guide to Ending Compulsive Eating by Geneen Roth. The trick is to assess where you are on the hunger scale before you eat, and then to stop when you are at a 6.
|Satiety||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, feel as if you have overeaten|
|6 = Comfortably full, satisfied|
|Neutral||5 = Comfortable, neither hungry nor full|
|4 = Beginning signals of hunger|
|3 = Hungry, ready to eat|
|2 = Very hungry, unable to concentrate|
|Hungry||1 = Starving, dizzy, irritable|
Emotional eating is a complex issue. One exercise won’t solve the problem, but this is a great one to get you started on the right path to Stop Emotional Eating. This goes hand-in-hand with the last tip — wait at least two hours between snacks and meals. That way you will be actually physically hungry when you eat. For a few weeks, keep a food diary. Record times that you eat, and your hunger signals. Over time your eating will start to shift from emotional to rational!