The Hunger Scale: 10 Levels of Hunger Sensations

Levels of Hunger Sensations.

Stomach growling, feeling faint, and low on energy?  Or too many bites, feeling bloated, and “Thanksgiving Day full”?  Let’s review the Hunger Scale below.  The hunger scale can help you know when to stop eating. The scale goes from 1 through 10 (one being the most hungry). Perhaps we should tape it to the refrigerator this week and monitor ourselves!

1. Empty. Feeling faint or sick because you are so hungry, as if you haven’t eaten for days.

2. Starving. Your stomach is growling. You are easily irritated and edgy. Ravenous.

3. You are hungry, you feel a little low on energy and are slightly uncomfortable.

If your hunger lands from 1 – 3, eat with caution. It’s easy to overeat when you are this hungry. Carry snacks with you and plan ahead so that you don’t feel this way often. If you are from 1 – 3, it’s important to remember that bulking up our bellies with fiber is an ideal way to deal with hunger.  Also, remember to slow down – it takes at least 20 minutes for the brain to get the message that you are full.  So chew well and slowly, and savor every bite. There are foods that will fill you up in a more healthy way:



Moving on to 4 – 6, it’s time to eat. You are hungry and food sounds great. You have more self control than you do from 1 – 3. In this part of the scale you can practice mindful, healthy eating.

4. You feel hungry but signs and symptoms are manageable.

5. You feel neutral though hunger is on the horizon.

6. You are comfortable and can eat with control.

You are now entering the “I”m full and should stop eating” section of the Hunger Scale. If you find yourself poking around the fridge, ask yourself what it is that you really need. Maybe you are tired, bored, procrastinating something. If you are full, remember that you don’t need to eat.

7. You are feeling full. Stop eating or don’t start eating yet.

8. Feeling too full, a few too many bites.

9. Uncomfortably full, bloated.

10. Thanksgiving Day full. Not hungry at all. You never want to look at food again.


Here’s the Hunger Scale in a form that you can print out and stick to your fridge:





This week keep track of your hunger level every time you open your mouth to eat.  Simply add a number from 1 – 10 (using what you’ve learned about the Hunger Scale) before eating each meal or snack.  It just may teach you more about how your emotions are tied to your eating habits.

My Hunger Scale
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday


Did you know?

  • Carbohydrates boost the hormone serotonin, which has a calming effect on the body?
  • Research suggests eating a diet lacking in variety can lead to cravings?
  • Macaroni and cheese has more fat calories than carbohydrates?

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