Explanation of The Intuitive Eating Hunger Scale

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If you were asked to rate your hunger level right now, could you answer on a sliding scale from one to ten? Would this be difficult for you to answer? After trying various diet programs for many years, you might be unable to answer this question quickly. You have probably lost touch with your body’s internal hunger and fullness signals.

The hunger scale can help you recognize your internal signals to honor your hunger and know when you’ve eaten enough or still need more.

intuitive eating hunger scale

The Hunger Fullness Scale

The hunger fullness scale runs from one to ten, with one being famished and ten being full to bursting. It’s important to note that each level may feel differently for different people. In general, here’s what you can expect.

Stage one: Famished

You’re feeling beyond empty. You are feeling dizzy, nauseous, and ill.

Stage two: Exceedingly Hungry

There’s a gnawing emptiness in your stomach. It gives you headaches and makes you moody.

Stage three: Hungry

Your stomach is growling with slight gnawing. You’re low on energy. It makes you obsessively think about food.

Stage four: Could Eat

Your stomach feels empty, and your energy is a little low. You’re thinking about food and feeling a little empty in the stomach.

Stage five: Neutral

You do not feel hungry or complete, and your body has enough energy.

Stage six: Mild Fullness

Your stomach starts to feel full, but you would like to continue eating more.

Stage seven: Satisfied

You are feeling content now. If you choose anything else to eat, you will become uncomfortable.

Stage eight: Uncomfortably Full

You feel the fullness of your stomach, and you’re a bit uncomfortable.

Stage nine: Stuffed

You’re bloated and very uncomfortable. You feel like you need to unfasten your pants.

man pigging out on food

Stage ten: Physically ill

You feel a binge level of fullness. You’re so full that you feel nauseous and physically sick.

The intuitive eating hunger fullness scale isn’t a rule. There’s no right or wrong answer. It’s a tool that can guide you, so you can try to make contact with your internal cues.

Ideally, it would help if you ate when you’re at level three or four. It’s when you are hungry and thinking about food but are not yet uncomfortable. Remember, how you feel can affect how you make food choices. You can still be rational and intentional about the food you eat at these levels.

However, when do you know when to stop? Typically, you should aim for level seven. It’s when you are satisfied and energized enough until the next meal.

Sometimes, you may find level six is enough for you, or maybe level eight feels more satisfying. That’s fine! As mentioned, these levels can feel different for different people.

How To Utilize The Intuitive Eating Hunger Scale?

Here are some ideas on how to apply the hunger fullness scale.

Choose One Meal and Refer To The Scale While You Eat

When eating intuitively, check the scale during one of your meals. Before you begin eating, try to identify your hunger level and write it down.

In the middle of your meal, refer to the scale again and identify your level of fullness. After you eat, recheck the scale.


Reflect on what you felt during your meals. Were you starving, your stomach was growling, and you felt like it wasn’t going to stop? Did you notice how your hunger changed while you were eating? When you finished your meal, were you satisfied or uncomfortably full?

Some people think that intuitive eating isn’t working for them, but sometimes it’s about being conscious and mindful of how you feel. So, reflecting on it can help.

Evaluate The Patterns

To better grasp your internal cues, especially as you begin practicing intuitive eating, you may want to keep a log of your hunger fullness scale. Then, notice the patterns.

You can note when you start to feel hungry, how much you eat, the foods that make you feel fuller, the interval between your meals, and so on. You might see a rhythm throughout your day.

There’s no best number from the hunger scale, so don’t overthink it! Depending on your feelings, you can start at three or four and stop somewhere between six and eight. It may take a while to get in touch with your internal cues.

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