Low-Calorie Dieting For Dummies
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What happens when you don’t eat? You set yourself up for a binge in the not-so-distant future. Food deprivation never helped anyone lose weight in the long run. The trick is to figure out if you’re really hungry, and to eat just enough to satisfy your hunger. One way to know if what you’re feeling is true physical hunger, and not emotional hunger, is that when you’re truly hungry, you’ll feel better by eating just about any type of food. When you’re emotionally hungry, you usually crave very specific types of foods that you’ve used to comfort yourself in the past.

One component of mindful eating that dietitians and other weight experts often use is a hunger scale, like the one that follows, that can help you determine just how hungry you are or how full you are. The scale ranges from 0 to 10, with 0 being so hungry you could eat a bucket of beans and 10 being so overstuffed you can’t get up out of your chair. You want to avoid these extremes by using this scale to decide when to eat and when to stop.

0 Extremely hungry
1 Very hungry
2 Hungry
3 Slightly hungry
4 No longer hungry but not yet full
5 Comfortable
6 Beginning to feel full
7 Beginning to feel too full
8 Uncomfortable
9 Very uncomfortable with a slight stomachache
10 Extremely overstuffed and uncomfortable; possibly nauseous

Whenever you’re following a low-calorie diet and you feel hungry, you need to eat. Period. Don’t give it a second thought. Better yet, try not to let yourself get to the point where you actually feel hungry. Eat something.

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Susan McQuillan, a registered dietitian, writes about food, nutrition, and weight control from her home in New York City. She received her bachelor’s degree in dietetics management from New York University and her master’s degree in human nutrition from Hunter College, both in Manhattan. She was formerly a food and nutrition editor at American Health magazine and Reader’s Digest general books division. Susan is the author of Breaking the Bonds of Food Addiction (Alpha/Penguin) and a contributor to many health and nutrition-related books and cookbooks. Her articles and recipes have appeared in Woman’s Day, Family Circle, Cooking Light, Prevention, Fitness, Women’s Sports and Fitness, McCall’s, and Fit Pregnancy magazines.

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