Hunger-Body-Mind Connection Assessment
When your body is hungry, it tries to get your attention in a variety of ways, from mood and energy changes to increased thoughts about food. The longer you wait to nourish your body, the more intense the experiences will be. Chronic dieting or going through cycles of over-eating followed by under-eating, can skew your hunger and fullness cues. This means that you might only feel hungry when you are over-hungry. This type of hunger is sometimes called ‘primal hunger’ and it often leads to over-eating and choosing foods that are the most calorie-dense, resulting in feelings of guilt and restriction afterwards.
Here are some different ways that you may experience signs of hunger. Over time you may notice that your body is more sensitive to more subtle levels of hunger and satiety, but knowing and re-learning what those signs are can be very helpful.
A variety of sensations including rumbling, gurgling, gnawing, or emptiness. While this is a common way of experiencing hunger, there are many people who do not experience hunger signs in their stomach
Throat & Oesophagus
Dull ache, gnawing
Cloudy thinking, light-headedness, and headache, difficulty focusing and concentrating. Experiencing more thoughts about food and eating.
Waning, perhaps even to the point of sleepiness. There can be dullness and even apathy towards doing anything
Irritability and crankiness. Perhaps you have to work harder to refrain from snapping, even though you don’t present irritable to the others
Getting to know your hunger.
To get in touch with the nuances of your hunger and fullness, try to check in with your body many times throughout the day. A handy way to do this is by using a rating scale from 0 to 10, where 0 is painful hunger and 10 is painful fullness. There is no right or wrong number, this is merely a method that helps you listen and become attuned to your hunger and fullness cues. The following chart gives you qualitative descriptions of the 0 to 10 scale in more detail.
0 Painfully hungry. This is ‘primal hunger’, which is very intense and urgent
1 Ravenous and irritable. Anxious to eat
2 Very hungry. Looking forward to a hearty meal or snack
3 Hungry and ready to eat, but without urgency. It’s a ‘polite’ hunger
Normal Eating Range
4 Subtly hungry, slightly empty
5 Neutral. Neither hungry nor full
6 Beginning to feel emerging fullness
7 Comfortable fullness. You feel satisfied & content
8 A little too full. This doesn’t feel pleasant, but it has not quite emerged into an unpleasant experience
9 Very full, too full. You feel uncomfortable, as if you need to unbutton your trousers or remove your belt
10 Painfully full, stuffed. You may feel nauseous
Hunger discovery assessment
Use the Hunger Discovery Scale journal to keep track of your hunger rating, the quality of your hunger, and the foods eaten for a meal or snack. Do it for 5-7 days and record a usual day below so that we can explore this during your next appointment.
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