Here is exercise physiologist/certified personal trainer Bob Greene’s Hunger Scale, a tool to help people avoid mindless eating.
You are supposed to decide how you are feeling — from 1 to 10 — and eat only when you’re feeling 1, 2, 3 or 4. Put your fork down at 5 or 6 and wait until the next scheduled meal or snack. If you’re trying to lose weight, stop at 5, the point at which you’re eating a little less than your body is burning.
1: Weak and light-headed. Your stomach acid is churning.
2: Very uncomfortable. You feel irritable and unable to concentrate.
3: Uncomfortably hungry. Your stomach is rumbling.
4: Slightly uncomfortable. You’re just beginning to feel signs of hunger.
5: Comfortable. You’re more or less satisfied, but could eat a little more.
6: Perfectly comfortable. You feel satisfied.
7: Full. A little bit uncomfortable.
8: Uncomfortably full. You feel bloated.
9: Very uncomfortably full. You need to loosen your clothes.
10: Stuffed. You are so full you feel nauseous.
The Kramer Hunger Scale
1: Desperate. Willing to eat pet toys, inorganics, Slim Jims
2: Ravenous. Still have appetite even if food is radioactive or infested with mites.
3: Crazy Hungry. Can’t concentrate on simple tasks such as bathing and complaining. Starting to empathize with The Donner Party.
4: Intense Hunger. Gnawing on unthawed Lean Cuisine spa collection meal.
5: Kind of Hungry. Stealing Easter candy from children who are not yours.
6: A Little Hungry. At sub shop, when counter person asks, “Whole or half?” you reply, “Both.”
7: Barely Hungry. At Wegmans the nice lady handing out free samples says, “I’m sorry, Sir, if I give you any more I’ll lose my job.”
8: Moderately Full: Able to go up to 20 minutes without thinking about food. Much.
9: Full. Able to make it most of the way home from restaurant with box of leftovers unopened.
10: Stuffed. Barely have room for a pint of Haagen-Dazs Salted Caramel Truffle.