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Are You A Mindless Eater?

By Christy Minges,
MMH Registered Dietitian

Sometimes it’s easy to mistake hunger for stress, boredom, excitement, fear or any number of emotions. If you are eating in response to feelings, you may find it difficult to stop, and end up overeating; this is referred to as ‘mindless eating.’ To help reduce the chance of this happening, try using the below Hunger Scale. This scale is a great way to recognize when you are full and should stop eating.

How it Works

  • On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being ‘Starving’ and 10 being ‘Uncomfortably Full,’ rank your hunger right before you start eating. If you find you are at a 5 or above, but still feel the urge to eat, chances are you want to eat in response to emotions. Instead of eating, try a stress relief technique (i.e. deep breathing, meditation, yoga), drink a full glass of water, talk with a friend, or do a favorite hobby. Check back in with yourself again later to see where you fall on the scale. You might be surprised how much your number changed!
  • Halfway through your meal or snack, rank your hunger again using the same scale. If you are at a 5, 6 or 7, put your fork down and stop eating.

Get in the habit of using this scale at every meal and whenever you feel the urge to eat. You can learn a lot about yourself and your eating habits by using this quick and easy tool. For more information, visit The Center for Mindful Eating.