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IE - Assessing your Hunger

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Old 04-23-2014, 06:12 PM   #1
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Default IE - The Hunger Scale

This is a commonly used scale to rate hunger, I thought I would post it because I find myself referring to it a lot in various threads when people bring up the question of assessing their hunger. Using this as a guide it is possible to start getting attuned with our true hunger/satiety signals.

1. Famished, Irritable
2. Very hungry
3. Hungry
4. Slight hunger
5. Neutral
6. Appetite goes away
7. Satisfied
8. Full
9. Overly full, stuffed
10. Sick, discomfort

On a personal level, I like to eat when I am at a 2-3 and eat mindfully and slowly until I reach 8. If I eat until a 6 or a 7 I will continue to snack all day - not that there's anything wrong with snacking, I just like to eat and be done with it, I hate thinking about food every hour of the day and much prefer 3 solid meals but that's just me.
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"Binging is a descent into a world where every restriction... is cut loose. At its core is a feeling of deprivation.. a feeling you can never get enough. Binges do not signify a lack of willpower or inability to care for yourself. On the contrary, binges are a urgent attempt to care for yourself when you feel uncared for. They are the voice of survival. Binges are the mark of the self that says, 'I am tired of feeling deprived, of being told I am wrong, that I am bad." - Geneen Roth

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Old 04-23-2014, 06:37 PM   #2
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I'm with you Wannabe. I like to eat a meal and then not snack until the next one. I find it I hit a 6-7 I'll be eating in a few hours, but 8 means that I can wait until the next meal. Depending on the food that will sometimes change. I had a huge salad for lunch full of raw veggies, fruit, and some protein. I am having to eat a snack now because while it was a filling lunch it didn't give me as much energy as richer lunch would have. You're body isn't going to be fooled by fiber and protein- in my experience people who try to bulk up with those foods are not going to be satisfied for very long.
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Old 04-23-2014, 10:46 PM   #3
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Thank you for posting this information. I am very new to IE. I have done some very basic research and have found that I can totally understand the concept and have been reading some good information on here. Thank you to all of you for suggesting this. Since I am new to IE do you have any good suggestions for reading research so I can understand the whole plan better.
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Old 04-24-2014, 04:26 AM   #4
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Hi Mercedes. Maybe you have already read The Overfed Head which is the free book you can get in PDF online. It's short and simple and to the point.

I read the early Tribole and Risch Intuitive Eating book originally published in the mid 90s and recently updated to its 3rd edition. I still like this one and have reread it a half dozen times over the years and seem to find something new to identify with each time, although some people in our group don't like this one as much. There is a .org website intuitiveeatingcommunity.org where you can read the basics and there is a support forum that has a lot of good info. I watched a couple YouTube videos and Evelyn Tribole spoke at the University of Northern California in October 2013 and covers a lot of the basics and answers questions in a 90 minute talk.

And then Wannabe likes Overcoming Overeating by Jane Hirschmann which gets at the emotional cycle of soothing emotions with food and needs to be figured out before IE can really work.

There are dozens of great blog sites worth reading as well. Isabel Foxen Duke has one, Rachel W Cole is another one. You can google and find those and plenty of others.

It gets repetitious but sometimes that's what you need. Wishing you good reading! Come see us in the monthly Intuitive Eating thread with any questions or comments.

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Old 04-24-2014, 07:15 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Locke View Post
You're body isn't going to be fooled by fiber and protein- in my experience people who try to bulk up with those foods are not going to be satisfied for very long.
I would probably agree with you but wouldn't want to speculate on what keeps other people full or not. But I remember I was particularly bothered by diets that urged me to eat copious amounts of raw vegetables to ward off hunger. You know those diets, the ones that tell you that every time you feel a pang of hunger to stuff yourself with raw carrots? Those made me feel especially bad because I was forcing myself to eat something I did not want, it was taking me further and further away from satisfaction and driving me faster and harder into binges.

Since I have allowed myself to eat what I want when I want it I have surprised myself with how much I love carrots. I practically live on raw carrots now, but not because they're pre-approved diet food, but because they're great in salads or stir fries and I love them!
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"Binging is a descent into a world where every restriction... is cut loose. At its core is a feeling of deprivation.. a feeling you can never get enough. Binges do not signify a lack of willpower or inability to care for yourself. On the contrary, binges are a urgent attempt to care for yourself when you feel uncared for. They are the voice of survival. Binges are the mark of the self that says, 'I am tired of feeling deprived, of being told I am wrong, that I am bad." - Geneen Roth
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Old 04-24-2014, 07:03 PM   #6
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Does anyone have trouble determining if they are hungry?
I honestly think I feel real hunger most the day. Like literally 45 minutes after a meal.
But I think its just getting used to not gorging myself any time I want.
I wonder how long it takes to get normal hunger signals again.
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Old 04-24-2014, 09:49 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wannabeskinny View Post
This is a commonly used scale to rate hunger, I thought I would post it because I find myself referring to it a lot in various threads when people bring up the question of assessing their hunger. Using this as a guide it is possible to start getting attuned with our true hunger/satiety signals.

1. Famished, Irritable
2. Very hungry
3. Hungry
4. Slight hunger
5. Neutral
6. Appetite goes away
7. Satisfied
8. Full
9. Overly full, stuffed
10. Sick, discomfort
My problem is that I'm practically always at a 4, slight hunger, and it takes A LOT of food to make me feel full (2,000 cals or more at one sitting), so I just about never reach that feeling.

I'm the girl who ate an entire box of chocolates (perhaps 2,000 cals) at age 4 without any ill effects. When I went through a brief bulimic phase in my early 20s (coinciding with a very bad relationship), I binged on 4,000 cals at a time. Even now, after eating moderately for 2.5 years, I'm able to eat off the charts at an all-you-can-eat Japanese restaurant.

Given my enormous capacity for overeating without discomfort, I have to make a choice between experiencing that pleasant full feeling and experiencing a healthy weight. Can't have both.

F.
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Old 04-26-2014, 08:41 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by freelancemomma View Post
My problem is that I'm practically always at a 4, slight hunger, and it takes A LOT of food to make me feel full (2,000 cals or more at one sitting), so I just about never reach that feeling.

I'm the girl who ate an entire box of chocolates (perhaps 2,000 cals) at age 4 without any ill effects. When I went through a brief bulimic phase in my early 20s (coinciding with a very bad relationship), I binged on 4,000 cals at a time. Even now, after eating moderately for 2.5 years, I'm able to eat off the charts at an all-you-can-eat Japanese restaurant.

Given my enormous capacity for overeating without discomfort, I have to make a choice between experiencing that pleasant full feeling and experiencing a healthy weight. Can't have both.

F.
Wish there was something I could say to help, this is tragic. Might it be worth getting to the bottom of? Have you ever tried to cultivate your hunger satiety levels? It has been a process for me and I still feel like I'm at the early stages of gauging my hunger and fullness but I remember at the beginning it felt more than impossible! I had no idea whatsoever what hunger felt like. I knew what it felt like to want to eat, which I felt most of the time, and I knew what it felt like to be so full that I was really physically sick but the in between was very confusing.

I was eating for many reasons. Like it was dinner time, or everybody else was eating, or we were out at a restaurant, or someone offered me something. All those times I took my cues from my surroundings rather than my own internal cues. But that wasn't even the problem, my real problem has been eating for emotional reasons, I was eating my feelings. I spent a very long time rejecting this idea, a very very long time! Probably because I did not understand how this could be, but now I understand how an uncomfortable feeling gets processed in my brain as HUNGER and what I can do to stop it. Before I really understood this process I thought it couldn't be true, I honestly thought that food itself was causing me to overeat. Granted, food has a chemical effect on our bodies, but it's unexplainable to me that a little bit of sugar or a piece of bread can drive someone into the despair of binges. That doesn't add up to me, binges are NOT food driven.

But freelancemomma, I'm willing to bet that there is hope for your hunger/fullness signals to become more prominent. It's worrisome that you can never feel physically ill from food, are you sure that is truly the case?
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"Binging is a descent into a world where every restriction... is cut loose. At its core is a feeling of deprivation.. a feeling you can never get enough. Binges do not signify a lack of willpower or inability to care for yourself. On the contrary, binges are a urgent attempt to care for yourself when you feel uncared for. They are the voice of survival. Binges are the mark of the self that says, 'I am tired of feeling deprived, of being told I am wrong, that I am bad." - Geneen Roth
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Old 04-26-2014, 10:11 AM   #9
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I agree perhaps there is an emotional eating aspect to your problem. I think some people reject this idea because they assume that it means you are depressed. But it doesn't have to, I mean I use to eat all the time when I was happy or wanted to celebrate something food was used as reward for anything.

Like, finals are over? Time eat. Birthday party? Time to eat! etc. I think probably food for a lot of us integrated with almost every emotion we have whether the emotion is good or bad.

I am not saying to see food purely as fuel and never use it as enjoyment but I have learned to rethink using food as reward because it shouldn't be.
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Old 04-26-2014, 10:59 AM   #10
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Thank you so much for the information! I started reading the Tribole and Risch Intuitive Eating book and already am thinking WOW they are talking directly to me I will check out your other suggestions as well. One thing that is already sticking out to me is that a couple years a go I did a Very extreme NO carb No sugar diet and dropped 50 lbs in 3 months, then gained it all back with in 6 months plus an extra 20lbs but during that diet since it was NO carbs or sugars, I did not eat any fruit pretty much those 3 months. even couple years later I find myself thinking, oh I should not have fruit for a snack b/c of the sugar. it is completely crazy to think like that and I am totally not doing the no carb no sugar diet anymore and never will again. but in my mind I have that little voice saying "fruit is bad, you cant have that, you should have protein only" prior to that crazy diet I loved fruit and ate it all the time. I am really hopeful with the help of learning more about IE I can eat when I am hungry and not just eat what was "allowed" on some of my past crazy diets which I am not even following but still have the learned behavior of only eating certain things.

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Old 04-26-2014, 11:05 AM   #11
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I thought I was the type that could eat enormous loads of food without discomfort. It turns out I was feeling discomfort but simply ignoring it because I was so used to the feeling after eating to discomfort for three + meals per day. That's not to say that this is the same for you Freelance, as we're all different.
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Old 04-26-2014, 12:40 PM   #12
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Mercedes I know what you mean about he fruits. I've spent almost 2 decades on and off low carb diets which have resulted in nothing but weight gain, a poor relationship with food and low self esteem due to my inability to stick to it. I'm not knocking the science, I know darn well that modern Americans eat more refined carbs than their bodies can handle, I'm not interested in eating all the carbs in the world. I'm interested in building a relationship where carbs and I can coexist without abusing eachother. I've spoken at length with my nutritional therapist about the carb issue because I feel so much guilt about eating them. She assures me that not only are carbohydrates not evil, they are also necessary for my brain to produce seratonin. She has also assured me that in all her years working in her field of nutrition that she has never met a low carber who has sustained it for life. It's always a struggle to maintain and low carbers have bouts of on and off behaviors with periods of weight gain and guilt in between.

My first clue that low carb wouldn't work for me was when I heard people staying away from carrots because of the "high sugar content." That's when I knew that this is not the kind of person and eater I long to be. I wanted to be "normal" not someone with crippling dietary restrictions and strange eating behaviors.

....carrots!!
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"Binging is a descent into a world where every restriction... is cut loose. At its core is a feeling of deprivation.. a feeling you can never get enough. Binges do not signify a lack of willpower or inability to care for yourself. On the contrary, binges are a urgent attempt to care for yourself when you feel uncared for. They are the voice of survival. Binges are the mark of the self that says, 'I am tired of feeling deprived, of being told I am wrong, that I am bad." - Geneen Roth
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Old 04-26-2014, 02:33 PM   #13
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I used the hunger/fullness scale briefly last year to gauge how I felt compared to what a standardised chart said and I found that for me personally, my feelings never followed the chart so I abandoned using it after a week.

I can go straight from a 2 or 3 to a 10 on the chart simply by eating say, an apple, and after an hour, I eat more not because I feel hungry but because I feel weak. So to me, hunger is not just a localised feeling in my tummy.
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Old 05-02-2014, 06:51 PM   #14
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Freelance
I could of written exactly what you wrote. When in binge mode I can easily eat 10,000 calories. It's not often like it used to be but when it starts it takes a real long time to get back to healthy eating (without going into starvation mode)
Thanks Wannabe for the list. It is helpful
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