The purpose of eating is to nourish your body — it is a basic need for survival — yet so many of us eat for other reasons. Feeling sad? Let's eat. Time to celebrate? Bring on the food. No date tonight? That's OK, order a pizza. It seems like we, as a society, are constantly eating! When practically everything we do and every emotion we feel leads to some form of eating, it's no wonder we end up misusing food, overeating, and putting on excess weight.
In order to control your habits and overcome impulses, Dr. Phil suggests that you have to relearn how to identify your hunger signals and recognize the different types of hunger you're experiencing. To help you regain a normal, healthy perspective on when and how much to eat, Dr. Phil shares a Hunger and Fullness Scale in his new book, The 20/20 Diet: Turn Your Weight Loss Vision into Reality. He suggests using this tool every day until you are more tuned in with the physical symptoms associated with hunger, as well as the differences between physical hunger, mind hunger, and habit hunger.
Before you start each meal, you should be at a 3. In fact, you shouldn't ever let yourself fall beneath a 3. "If you wait until you're just famished, you'll eat anything that's dead or seriously slowed down," Dr. Phil explains in the video above. "You don't want to get into that serious situation." In other words, that's precisely when you set yourself up for failure.
On the other end of the scale, instead of getting so full after a meal that your pants are busting and you feel nauseated, you should put your fork down when you reach a 6, even if there's still food on your plate. "The ideal range is to stay between 3 and 6 so you never go to the extremes," Dr. Phil explains.
Adapted from The 20/20 Diet: Turn Your Weight Loss Vision into Reality ©2014 by Phillip C. McGraw, Bird Street Books.