It has taken me a while to learn my hunger cues but im slowly learning them. If your hunger comes on suddenly out of nowhere or after something emotionally upsetting (fight with spouse, etc...) then your eating out of emotions. How i can tell if im really hungry and it's not emotional eating, it comes on gradually like a baby crying for food is how i have heard it described. A baby starts out whimpering then it builds slowly that's how i can tell if i am really hungry and it's not an emotional outlet. When im full i let out a sigh. What does everyone else think?? I have seen this posted before and a lot of people don't know when they are truly hungry.
And rather than 'eating until you're full'... eat what you serve. Decide how much is going to be enough, cook and serve that amount and then stop eating when it's gone. That's actually a better strategy than presenting yourself with a great mountain of food and relying on 'feeling full' to know when to stop. The more you serve, the more you eat.
I don't know if this is recommended or not, but I let myself get physically, stomach-growling hungry if I can eat whenever I want. I don't mean RAPACIOUSLY hungry--I respond to the "rumble" immediately when I notice it. I have found that it is VERY counterproductive to let the sensation build; I tend to overeat if I wait too long. But to me, it is a very distinct signal that really has nothing to do with "wanting to eat X or Y." It's an "I need food in my stomach now" feeling. Eating urges, on the other hand (which are NOT hunger), are a sense (not a physical sensation) that I want something specific OR that I want to eat but I don't want certain things OR that I want to stuff myself . . .
I hope this makes sense. I am definitely NOT encouraging people to ignore physical hunger pains--just the opposite. I need to experience them every so often, at a very mild degree, to remind myself what "hunger" feels like. If I am feeling physical hunger and have eaten my allowance, I eat more that day (it doesn't happen very often), assuming that my overall activity has taken its toll and I NEED more. I try to make that eating as effective as possible-I was still gettin hungry off and all day one day last week, even with good "meals," and I ate an entire bunch of celery over the course of the day--and I LIKED it. When I eat celery just because I want to munch, I NEVER like it very ycg. How weird is that, but true!
mkculs: this is exactly what i have been working on doing - i find so far it's a good strategy for me, too :)
p.s. rapaciously is a fabulous vocabulary word! :D
Of course there are degrees of hunger. On a scale from 1 to 10 how hungry are you? If you were to drink a glass of water (and take some deep breaths), would you still be hungry or was it an emotional trigger to eat?
I try to not get more than 7 or 8 (out of 10) hungry, nor more than 8 or so full (also out of 10 - which I guess would be about a 2 or so hungry if we were to put them on an overlapping continuum). To take the whole thinking out o fit, I do eat on a meal snack schedule all day.
Unfortunately, it takes 20 minutes from the time food hits your stomach until the brain registers that you've eaten. This calls out for an eat slowly strategy.
I also like the suggestion above of plating out your meal into proper portions (e.g. don't eat out of the bag). If after some time after you've finished that portion if you are still hungry, then maybe eat some more.
What i meant is that food is so readily available now everywhere (fast food, 100 calorie snack packs etc....) that hardly anyone eats when they are truly hungry i dont recall ever in the past 36 or 37 years eating when i felt hungry. I don't even recall what hunger feels like. Alot of people like you say eat at set meal times etc....why eat when your not hungry just becasue someone says "its breakfast time" we had set meal times when i was growing up. Now with the world so fast paced most people have to eat and run. No wonder we have an obesity epidemic. That's what i meant i am trying to go more on my hunger cues and to stop eating out of emotions. Im trying to deal with my emotions first then if it's true hunger then eat. Like you said durgy it does take 20 minutes for your food and brain to register that you have eaten. Also thats why diets tell you to drink water all day to curb hunger. (keeps you hydrated). No, i dont put a mountain of food in front of me i portion my food. Plus i am trying to eat slower, it does work. I remember growing up they always told us to eat each bite at least 20 times. It does work. You do get fuller faster that way. Putting your fork down between bites etc.....