A scale actually worth thinking about this season, (graphic by @emmasmythnutrition.)
Lots of folks worry about the scale that weighs us physically and have totally bypassed learning about their internal scale. The one that actually gives us a decent gauge of where we are, how we feel and how we are doing. The one that encompasses the bigger picture. The weight we read on the scale also often makes more sense to us when we master our hunger-fullness scale first. We were born with the ability to eat when we are hungry and stop when full, simply by listening. When we tune into our body's signals, we can then decide the appropriate response- a great way to tune out all of the confusing and often false nutrition messages, and a better way to answer the question I get most often, "what and how much should I eat?"
The sweet spot lies in the middle, when we recognize when we are hungry and eat until comfortably satisfied. Some days this may not happen, but that does not = failure. They are opportunities to learn when moving forward. Because it is important to remember that what we do the majority of the time that impacts our health the most.
Here are some tips from Boston's Children's Hospital dietitian, Katelyn Castro,
(who I also had the pleasure of working with at McLean Hospital's eating disorder unit!)
"What Can I Learn From Using the Hunger and Fullness Scale?
The more you check in with your hunger and fullness before and after eating, the easier it becomes to listen to your hunger and fullness cues. Tracking where you fall on the scale can help you and your nutritionist evaluate your eating patterns:
If you notice you’re starving by the time you decide to eat… it may be helpful to plan more frequent meals and snacks so you can stay better fueled.
If you only feel somewhat full after eating… changing the composition or size of meals to make them more filling and satisfying with a balance of food groups and nutrients may be helpful.
If you tend to eat until you feel uncomfortably full… it may be helpful to consider what factors may have led to overeating (ex. waiting until you were too hungry or eating in front of the TV) and practice slowing down to give you time to check in with your body’s signals.
Important Note: It’s impossible to respond to your physical hunger and fullness cues accurately 100% of the time. In fact it’s healthy and natural to eat for reasons other than hunger, like in social situations, during holidays and celebrations, or when you’re just really craving something. Your body is very adaptive and adjusts when you may eat more or less than your body needs. The goal of intuitive eating is to be able to recognize and respond to hunger and fullness appropriately the majority of the time. You cannot fail at intuitive eating because it’s not about perfection; it’s about learning how to listen and trust your body."
Check in with yourself now, where do you fall on the scale? I encourage you to give this scale a try today.