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  • Are You Actually Hungry?

    Get in touch with your body's signals, and learn to tell the difference between having an appetite and being hungry.

  • Need to eat vs. Want to eat: Yes, there IS a difference! Unfortunately, many of us have lost touch with our body’s hunger signals. The human body is pretty amazing and has a system in place to tell us when to eat, what to eat and when we’ve had enough. The human brain is even more amazing because we have learned how to outsmart and ignore our hunger signals.

    Let’s review these signals so we can learn to listen to them once again:
    • Hunger is a physical need for energy by your body. When you are physically hungry, you will feel your stomach growling, hunger pangs in your stomach, or have a hard time concentrating.
    • Satiety is better known as the feeling of fullness. Your brain gets a signal from your stomach that you are satisfied.
    • Appetite is the tricky one because it is the desire for food, and it can override hunger and satiety. Have you ever continued to eat even after you were full just because it tasted so good? Yep, that’s your appetite at work.

    Get back in tune with your hunger and satiety signals. To help you learn to tell the difference between appetite and true hunger, use a hunger scale. There are several versions of hunger scales, but here is one from WebMD.*

    The Hunger Scale

    1 - Starving, weak, dizzy
    2 - Very hungry, cranky, low energy, lots of stomach growling
    3 - Pretty hungry, stomach is growling a little
    4 - Starting to feel a little hungry
    5 - Satisfied, neither hungry nor full
    6 - A little full, pleasantly full
    7 - A little uncomfortable
    8 - Feeling stuffed
    9 - Very uncomfortable, stomach hurts
    10 - So full you feel sick

    Tips for using the hunger scale:

    • Eat when your hunger is at a 3 or 4. At this point, you have physical symptoms of hunger, so your body actually needs the energy.
    • Try to avoid waiting until you are at a 1 or 2 to eat because getting too hungry leads to overeating and poor choices.
    • Take your time to eat. It takes 20 minutes for a signal to reach the brain that you are full. Stop when you’re at 5 or 6.


  • Used with permission. ©2014 Walmart. All Rights Reserved. 

    Important Walmart Disclaimer: All content provided is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to substitute for the diagnosis, treatment, or advice of a medical professional. Consult your medical professional for guidance before changing or undertaking any diet, exercise or health program, or before using any prescription or over-the-counter drug. Neither the author nor assumes any responsibility for errors, omissions or contrary interpretation of the subject matter. Walmart does not sponsor, recommend or endorse any third party, product, service or information provided on this site. If you have dietary restrictions and/or allergies, always read the ingredient list carefully for all products prior to consumption. If the ingredient list is not available on the product, check with the product manufacturer, or do not consume the product.

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  • Dieting & Exercise Are Easier at Walmart
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