Is Your Hunger Sabotaging Your Weight Loss? – Lithia Weight Loss 

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One of our most basic, primal, instincts, is hunger. The body is hardwired to know exactly when and why it should trigger the onset of hunger, prompting you to consume food to survive. Just as it triggers hunger, it also sends signals for us to recognize when we are full, when our stomach is at capacity and so we don’t over eat.

Well, babies are experts at recognizing these instincts, but as we get older, our brains mature and other influences start to play a role. The media, more complex emotions, critical thinking skills, social environments, a whole slew of factors that can hinder our ability to discern those hunger and fullness cues. Leading to excessive hunger, over eating, and difficulty losing weight.

Now you might be thinking, well how can I get those instincts back and stop sabotaging my progress? A tool and skill that you can develop in order to hone those hunger/fullness cues again, is mindful eating! 

Researchers, and health experts from the Duke School of Medicine, Ruth Wolever, PhD., Beth Reardon, M.S., and Tania Hannan, came together and compiled their work into a book called The Mindful Diet, which breaks down the science into actionable steps we all can utilize.

Using mindful eating as a tool to hone our hunger in more ways than you could imagine, and help you achieve long term weight loss success. Read on to learn about their key points, and some suggestions we have to help you get started! 

The Hunger-Fullness Scale

As with anything goal oriented, remember, the more detailed the better, and if you make it measurable – do it! A scale is perfect for this. Which creates a measurable way for you to check-in with your hunger before eating, with your fullness during eating, and begin to develop the skill of mindful eating. Here is a what their scale looks like:

Best Diet Plan in Tampa Florida

You might be able to gather that reaching a 1, or a 7, is not exactly ideal, and might be what you find yourself getting caught in a cycle of currently.

In reality, even when on a weight loss journey, there is no need to starve yourself, which in turn leads to over compensating, and doesn’t result in sustainable weight loss. If it happens every so often, that’s pretty normal, we all get caught in a bind every now and then, the when it becomes a regular common pattern for you, that’s when you might notice the scale isn’t dropping, your stress levels go up and you’re more frustrated than ever.

The key that is emphasized here with this scale is to eat when you are in that moderate range of hunger, and stop when you feel moderately full. Next we will dive into what these sabotaging patterns are, and how to begin reversing them.

1. You Often Get to the Point of Excessive Hunger

  • Is that you? Time flies and by the time you can take a breather, you’re starving and need to eat ASAP? Then you often feel over full afterwards? Let’s dig into this a bit to really understand your hunger at this point. Is it your schedule? Is it your stress? Maybe you’re too focused on a project or work? Whatever it may be, clearly it’s taking your attention away for long enough that you ignore your body’s cues! So, what do you do? The Mindful Diet suggests eating when you are around a 2.5 on their hunger-fullness scale. Well, if you aren’t aware of your hunger, how will you know when you’re at that point, right?
  • Try timers to check-in with yourself – starting out with more frequent ones, then as you feel you’re mastering your hunger cues, you can taper off!
    Take some notes of how your body feels at those check-ins and where you feel you are at on the scale. Then use those notes to help build up those mindfulness skills, and in turn, fire up those instincts again. 
  • Start meal prepping snacks to have on hand – Our LIVE LIFE LEAN community is a great resource for keto friendly foods!

2. You Often Get to the Point of Feeling Overstuffed

This could be happening at each meal or a certain meal, maybe you feel it’s happening because you wait too long to eat (#1 above), then as a result, overeat because you feel ravenous. Another common situation this happens during is social outings, eating with others. So, what can you do to build your awareness around your fullness when your attention is elsewhere?

  • The 20 min rule – set a timer to go off 20 min after you start eating. (set it to vibrate or have it next to you if you’re out with others). Lots of chemical signals and processes are taking place, registering that you’re eating, and it takes roughly 20 minutes for your brain to receive those signals that trigger the feelings of fullness. After that 20 minutes, take note of where your fullness is and if you should ask for a to-go box!
  • If you’re out, and maybe don’t want to use a timer, ask for half your meal to be boxed before it gets brought out to you, then after that meal evaluate your fullness. 
  • Try chewing longer, this also allows for more time to pass and to give your body and brain the chance to connect and signal your fullness. 

At STRONGLIFE Weight Loss in Lithia, FL, we can help you address any underlying issues, whether you realize they’re there or not, and improve your overall health.

We hope that you found this as valuable as my patients have over the years. If you’re interested in a patient-centered process that takes into account all aspects that affect your health, then we would encourage you to visit our website at

Justin Scott DC - Weight Loss Lithia/Tampa

Dr Justin Scott
Founder / Clinical Director

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