Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Back to basics part 1

The Hunger - Fullness Scale

Here is a post written quite a while ago.  For those having read it before, hopefully it will be a refresher.  And for those new here, some instruction on using the H-F scale to help you create a vocabulary of fullness and learn to reidentify with what your body is telling you.

......Yesterday, I talked about not getting uncomfortably full -- ever. Simple enough in concept. How are you going to make that happen in practice?

One easy way to start this process it to understand how to use a hunger/fullness scale (think a 0-10 scale -- hunger 0-3 and fullness 8-10). For the sake of a starting point, let's start on the fullness side.
8 Full
  • You feel the first sensations of fullness
  • Anytime you have any sensation of anything in your stomach you are at least an 8!!!
9 Very Full
  • Your stomach is starting to stretch
10 Extremely Full
  • There is a large enough volume to cause the stomach to feel significantly stretched

 One of the ways to think about fullness is to visualize a balloon.

 When you have gotten the balloon out of the package and put the first small breath of air into it and it has started to take shape, that is a level 8. The sides of the balloon haven't started to stretch but there is something in there.

After you put another small breath of air into the balloon, the walls will start to stretch -- when the stretch happens, that is the level 9.

With the next small breath of air, the balloon will be an entirely different size than it started out -- this is the level 10.

At a level 8, chances are you will still feel like you should/could/want to eat more. But the thing to keep in mind is the physical sensation of hunger is gone. Eating after that point is just for your head -- your body is taken care of.

The advantage of having scale numbers to write down in your journal is that you can't argue with them. If your goal at the beginning of the meal is to eat until you reach a level 8 -- you can eat to that level and then stop. If you are relying words to describe how full you are, there is some wiggle room for the extra bite (or 3)that your head wants to experience.

And remember:

The whole point of being Mindful in your eating, is to cut out a few bites so you can lose weight while still enjoying the foods you love.

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