By Suzanne Doerries RD, LD

Trudging into the house after a long day at work, you grab a bag of chips, plop down on the coach, and zone out in front of the TV. Before your show is over your fingers hit the bottom of the bag. Slightly shocked that the chips you just opened are already gone, you toss it to the side and zone out again. In that short span of time you mindlessly consume hundreds of calories that your body didn’t need and your taste buds really didn’t enjoy.

Buffalo chicken dip, chips, cheese, fruit, little hot dogs, and baby quiches fill the appetizer table at your holiday party. Four small plates later, dinner is served. As you sit at the table a feeling of mild discomfort is a slight annoyance. You push this feeling to the side and eat two helpings of the luscious dinner that was prepared. Not 10 minutes later you feel miserable and never want to eat again.

These two scenarios are probably quite familiar. As you have most likely experienced, eating for other reasons besides hunger, like stress, boredom, happiness, or social reasons is pretty common. However, weight gain and gastrointestinal distress, and feelings of discomfort are a few common side effects of throwing your hunger signals out the window. Paying attention AND LISTENING to your hunger signals is a great way to prevent weight gain. The Hunger Satisfaction Scale is a great tool to help identify if you are physically hungry.

The Hunger Satisfaction Scale

1-      Starved


3-     Physically hungry- START



6-     Satisfied- STOP


8-     Very Full


10-   Stuffed


Here are a few tips to use this scale. If you master this and choose foods that make you feel great, calorie counting can become obsolete!

Never wait to eat until you are a 1 because you will probably eat until you are a 10. This makes breakfast very important! Don’t “save” up your calories for a party by not eating the whole day. You will go to the party and eat anything and everything in sight. It is a lot harder to make healthy food choices when you are starving.

Eat slowly. Your body will have a chance to catch up to what you just put in it.

Pay attention to the way your food tastes. This will help with satisfaction.  Eating slowly will also help with this.

Check in with yourself before and after your meals. Are you eating because you are physically hungry? Are you overeating?

This Thanksgiving is a great opportunity to prevent that miserably full feeling!

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