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!

2 Comments on Stop Emotional Eating – Satiety, Recognizing “Enough”

  1. Leslie
    February 9, 2015 at 10:34 am (4 years ago)

    Thanks for this great topic Sharon! I found myself doing this immediately after losing my mother all the way through having my children. I would eat because I was upset, happy, tired, worried, excited, etc. you name it I celebrated or pouted with food! And then I saw a photo of myself- yes that photo that makes you say have I really gotten that big! I was disappointed at myself but it motivated me to act immediately because I wanted to be a healthier person for myself and certainly a healthy mom for my children who watch and do as I do. I began watching my intake and learning to eat only when I was truly hungry and stop eating when I was full! Smaller plates and measuring cups really have helped me a lot. I’m proud to report that after delivering my baby girl in June of last year I have since lost 45 lbs with clean eating, portion control, exercise and a true determination! I feel so much healthier and my clothes are already fitting much better! I still have more to lose but I’m happy that I’m moving in the right direction and am doing this as a lifestyle change as opposed to a short term diet! I love your topics, very useful, keep writing!

    • Sharon Gerdes
      October 18, 2015 at 1:13 pm (3 years ago)

      Leslie – Thanks for the comment and for being brave enough to admit to emotional eating. Recognizing it is the first step to conquering. It sounds like you have conquered. Hooray!


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