How Hungry Are You?
One of my favorite weight-loss tools takes the focus off what you eat and puts it squarely on how much you eat. It's called the hunger scale, and all it requires is that you honestly rate your hunger before, during, and after eating.
I use a range of 1 to 5 (1 being ravenous, and 5 being stuffed), but you can create a more nuanced scale if you like. Start by ranking your physical hunger before you sit down to eat. Then at least two times during the meal, put down your knife and fork and rank your hunger again. Finally, when you're finished eating, do one last assessment.
If you're anything like my clients, here's what you'll find:
• When you start a meal at level 1, you inevitably eat way too fast and end up at an overfull level 5. To remedy this, force yourself to sloooow down. Also, try to identify why you got so hungry in the first place, and make an effort not to let it happen again.
• When you begin at a normal hunger level of 2, you eat more slowly and mindfully. This helps you recognize when you're comfortably full and it's time to stop eating. Keep it up!
• When you're already at a level 4 or 5 (perhaps because of too much predinner snacking?), tapping into the hunger scale will help you choose to forgo the meal or just have something light — like a salad.