The Hunger Game

Coach Ryan and I were reviewing client questions this week and the habit of of eating to 80% full came up.

What does that mean…eating to 80% full?

Developing an awareness about your hunger cues will help you learn the spectrum of hunger and how you should adapt your eating across that spectrum.

The Hunger Game (from Precision Nutrition) is a form of Notice & Name (a lesson in a prior post) that focuses specifically on your hunger cues.

Just Before Eating

  • Take notice of how you’re feeling.
  • Hunger scale target: 7 out of 10
  • Name it: are you physically hungry?

Physical hunger signals include things like a rumbling stomach, lightheadedness, irritability, etc.

Immediately After Eating

  • Take notice of how you’re feeling.
  • Hunger scale target: 2-3 out of 10…which is eating to 80% full.
  • Name it: satisfied, not stuffed.

Give yourself about 15-20 minutes before you eat more. This allows your brain time to catch up with your stomach. 

1 Hour After Finishing

  • Take notice of how you’re feeling.
  • Name it: physically satisfied with no desire to eat another meal.

2 Hours After Finishing

  • Take notice of how you’re feeling.
  • Name it: starting to feel a little hungry.  Could eat something, but the hunger isn’t overwhelming.

3-4 Hours After Finishing

  • Take notice of how you’re feeling.
  • Name it: getting a bit hungry (4-6 out of 10). Give yourself some more time before you eat again.
  • If you find yourself at 7 or higher, eat.
  • Not really hungry yet? That’s perfectly fine!

4+ Hours After Finishing

  • Take notice of how you’re feeling.
  • Name it: you could be quite hungry by now.
  • If you find yourself at 7 or higher, eat.
  • Not really hungry yet? Again, that’s fine too.

Keep checking in with yourself.

Learn and follow your body cues.

Please note…you may find you need to act fast once your body decides to be hungry – so be prepared with a healthy and quick option…just in case.

Eating on a Defined or Crazy Schedule

For some people, they are on tight schedules where they have to eat at certain times instead of allow hunger cues to drive meal timing.

If you fall into this group, think about how you can adjust your meal accordingly.

As an example, you are at work and lunch times are scheduled. If you are only at a 5 out of 10 on the hunger scale, reduce your meal size so you can still target a 2-3 when finished.

How Hungry Am I? 

Here is a quick summary of The Hunger Game.

Goals:

  1. Stay aware of your physical hunger cues and learn to calibrate your eating. This takes time. Initially it will take more focus. Over time—months and years—you’ll be unconsciously competent with this skill.
  2. Start eating when you’re around a 7 or higher.
  3. Stop eating when you’re around a 2 or 3 (eat to 80% full).
  4. Notice your thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations around eating times.
  5. Try to distinguish “need to eat” from “want to eat” from “should eat”.

The more you practice observing your physical hunger cues (and differentiating them from just wanting to eat) the better you will get.

Physical Hunger Cues

  • Growling stomach or sense of stomach emptiness
  • Lightheadedness; headache
  • Irritability; shakiness

Being able to adapt your habits to eating when your truly hungry versus eating because your bored, stressed or emotional is a skill that will help you control your food intake on a daily basis.

Learning to eat to 80% is one of our two anchor habits we will share more about in the future.

It’s Friday (woo hoo!) so I thought I’d share a game that you can begin playing with to see if you can learn your hunger cues.

Please reach out if you’re interested in talking more about our coaching program.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s