Satisfaction Factor

#39 - Breaking Down The Hunger & Fullness Scale

June 22, 2022 Naomi Katz & Sadie Simpson
Satisfaction Factor
#39 - Breaking Down The Hunger & Fullness Scale
Show Notes Transcript

This week, as a change from our usual high-level discussions, we're breaking down a specific tool that is often used in the day-to-day practice of Intuitive Eating - the hunger & fullness scale. The hunger & fullness scale can be a great tool for building our awareness of our internal cues...but it's not necessarily the right choice for everyone. In this episode we're breaking down the nuances of using the hunger & fullness scale, including: the purpose of the hunger & fullness scale; why some folks can find the scale helpful, and others may find it harmful; how each of us uses the scale in our own work with clients; and some alternative ideas of how to use the hunger & fullness scale without triggering perfectionism.   

You can stay up to date on all things Satisfaction Factor by following us on IG @satisfactionfactorpod!

Here's where to find us & all the information about how to work with us:
Sadie Simpson: www.sadiesimpson.com or IG @thesadiesimpson
Naomi Katz: www.happyshapes.co or IG @happyshapesnaomi

For this episode's transcript, visit: www.satisfactionfactorpod.com

Sadie Simpson:

Welcome to Satisfaction Factor, the podcast where we explore how ditching diet culture makes our whole lives more satisfying. Welcome back to Satisfaction Factor. I'm Naomi Katz, an Intuitive Eating, body image, and self trust coach. I'm Sadie Simpson, a group fitness instructor, personal trainer, and Intuitive Eating counselor. In today's episode, we're going to talk about the hunger fullness scale, which is something that is involved within the Intuitive Eating framework. But we will get to that in just a minute. Before diving in, one thing that we would love to ask you to do for us, to support us and to support this podcast, is to leave us a rating and a review in either Apple podcasts or Spotify. These are two places that your ratings and your reviews really help us. It boosts us up in the podcast rankings, helps us get our message out to more folks, and it is a really simple, easy, free way you can support us. And we just really appreciate it.

Naomi Katz:

We do. We always appreciate it.

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah.

Naomi Katz:

So a lot of the time on the podcast, we talk about kind of high level concepts- universal, high level, like big idea things. But I think that a lot of times when people are curious about Intuitive Eating, are maybe dipping a toe into like the practice of Intuitive Eating, what people really wonder about is, like, what does the actual practice look like? What does- what is the work that we do in Intuitive Eating, especially as it relates to things like food? You know, we talk a lot about how Intuitive Eating is, like, a little bit of food and a lot of mindset and other stuff, and so I think sometimes we don't really talk about the food part on the podcast. And so this is sort of an opportunity to talk about like a super practical part of the food part of Intuitive Eating- the hunger and fullness scale.

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah, well, I think for both you and I, at this point in our work through the Intuitive Eating framework, and with the work we do with clients, and in classes, and things like that, we both- and you can correct me if I'm wrong- but I feel like we both like to do more of the deeper work, more of the abstract work, more of the values connection, more of the tie ins to social justice, and that type of thing. And sometimes- I don't know about you- but I kind of forget, like, the practical stuff, the entry level stuff, the stuff that really helps folks kind of conceptualize Intuitive Eating on a very entry, low level basis. That way, they can kind of enter into this work in a way that's not so big, and so abstract, and so complex. And just to break it down into more of, like, the simplified aspects of Intuitive Eating is really helpful. And something that I often forget about. So yes, I'm excited about doing this.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah, totally. Like, when I think about Intuitive Eating, when I talk about Intuitive Eating, I have a tendency to do it in terms of all the things that I get most, like, amped up, and, you know, passionate, and excited about. And those are the big things. Those are the values things, those are the, like, you know, social awareness and social justice things, and, like, you know, all of that stuff. When I work with clients, we totally do the practical food stuff, too. And it's important for people. Because, while a lot of Intuitive Eating is about unpacking narratives, and mindset, and our relationships to food, and body, and stuff like that, it can also be really powerful for people when they actually start to do some of the day to day things that diet culture has disconnected them from- things like recognizing hunger and fullness, and like being able to trust those signals, and recognize those signals, and interpret those signals, and all of that. Like, that is actually really powerful for people too. And so, yeah, it's worth also talking about that part.

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah, well, even on a personal level, whenever I was first learning about Intuitive Eating, the hunger and fullness scale, which is what we're going to talk about today, was something that really helped me kind of enter into this work because I could understand it. Like, there were numbers associated with it. Some of those numbers were associated with feelings of hunger and feelings of fullness. And for me, leaving dieting and exploring Intuitive Eating, it was a good connector piece to kind of bridge the gap from point A, again, working on all the rest of this stuff. So yeah, it's a very powerful thing to learn about. There's some nuance here to discuss. There's easy ways that the hunger and fullness scale can be turned into a diet. And we'll talk about all that in just a little bit. But yeah, it's a very practical piece of this work that is totally worth talking about.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah. Oh, my God, I'm so glad you shared that part of your experience. And, as always, it's like one of the reasons why we have these conversations, is because everybody relates to this in a different way. And so it's so interesting that, like, the fact that there were numbers, and it was like something you could relate to coming from diet culture, and that that was a good entry point for you- and this is part of the nuance that we're gonna get into- for a lot of people, that exact thing is why the hunger and fullness scale is very hard for them, or maybe something they can't do at all. So yeah, I love this so much. It's so interesting to hear your perspective on that.

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah.

Naomi Katz:

Do you want to give us a little bit of a an idea of, like, what the hunger and fullness scale is?

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah. So the hunger and fullness scale- again, this is found within the Intuitive Eating book. It's found within the workbook. If you Google Intuitive Eating hunger and fullness scale, you'll see all kinds of graphics, and pictures, and blog articles, and just all the things on the internet, exists sort of depicting this hunger and fullness scale. And on a surface level, what it is, is a tool to examine and assess our hunger and fullness. And the purpose of it is to be an awareness tool. This is not an exact science. This is not something that can, or should, or ever will be used perfectly. But it's- it's another awareness piece. We talk about that a lot on this podcast- is finding these tools to use for awareness. And this is yet another one of those things. And often when folks are beginning to explore Intuitive Eating, especially if you have the Intuitive Eating workbook- which you and I both use some with our one on one clients- it can be used as a way to journal, as a way to like write down your hunger and your fullness in conjunction with these numbers on the scale, which we'll go through in just a second. And it can also be a way that we bring awareness to things like, not just our hunger and fullness, but the times of day when we feel hungry, or different types of foods that we eat- if they satisfy our hunger, or if they help us to feel full, and that type of thing. When you're looking at a picture of the hunger fullness scale, whether it's on a chart in the Intuitive Eating book, or some random picture on Google, you'll see it as a scale from zero to 10. So on the far end of the spectrum, zero is totally empty, super hungry, might feel nauseous. And on the farther other end of the scale is 10, painfully full, sick feeling, like very, very, very uncomfortable. And I'll break down kind of all the numbers in between in just a second. But I think it's really important to recognize here that, even though I'm going to give some words and descriptors that go along with each number on this scale, this doesn't mean that this is going to apply to all people at all times. This is just another one of those jumping off points, to kind of give you an idea, to describe what these different numbers may feel like for you.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah, that's a really important nuance to this whole conversation. Hunger and fullness feel different to different people. This is a tool, but it's not a box that everybody has to fit into. Your levels might feel different from other levels. And we'll talk about this a little bit more in a second. But maybe that can sometimes be part of how we use this scale, is to explore those differences.

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah. So let's go through these differences really quickly. Again, on the scale from zero to 10, zero probably means that you're totally empty. You haven't had anything to eat in a really long time. You may feel dizzy. You may feel nauseous. You may feel super mega hangry- your favorite word. But this is like that- just, like, primal hunger. Like, you need to eat something. When we get up to one, you're a little bit past that point, but you're still pretty ravenous. You may be irritable. You might have a headache. You just don't feel too great, still, at number one. Level two means you're very hungry. You might be feeling some stomach growling. You are feeling like you are eager and you're ready to eat. Three would still be an empty feeling- you're hungry, you're ready to eat. And then four is this first sign of hunger. So you begin to think of food. So when I think of zero through four- those levels right there on the hunger fullness scale are the hunger side of things- like you are at these different levels of hunger, you know, depending on, again, like, when's the last time you had something to eat, or maybe the last time you had something to eat it wasn't something super filling, maybe it was just a little snack or something like that. And when you're thinking about your level of hunger on this scale, even like the zero to four, you can sort of feel where you might see yourself based on these descriptors. And when you're at level five, this is our neutral ground- you're not hungry, or you're not full. Moving on up the scale into the fullness side of things, six is when you do begin to feel full. So if you're eating, you start to notice some subtle signals of fullness begin to show up. Seven is that nice, comfortable, fullness. Eight would be very full, starting to get slightly uncomfortable. Nine is where you may begin to feel stuffed- so your clothing might feel a little bit tight, you might be starting to get even more uncomfortable. And then 10, on the furthest end of the hunger fullness spectrum, is when you do have that painfully full sick feeling. Not feeling good at all. Whenever this episode comes out, we'll put up a little post on Instagram, so you can have a depiction of the hunger fullness scale too.

Naomi Katz:

Oh, that's a really good idea.

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah.

Naomi Katz:

It's so interesting. Even just hearing you say some of these things, and like associate them with with the numbers, like there are spots where I'm like, that doesn't really sound right to me. And then- and then there are other parts where I'm like- like, I think it's so interesting that six is beginning to feel full and seven is comfortable fullness. Because I think especially when people first start doing this work, they have a tendency to- like, to feel like they- the place where they have to stop eating is that- that first sign of fullness. When the reality is we're going for comfortable fullness. Like, that first sign of fullness is not the sign that like, oh, that's it, I feel full, I've eaten enough, or I've eaten too much. It's like, nope, one step further. So before we dive into some of the details of this, and how we use it, and stuff like that, let's take a second and maybe talk a little bit about why the scale can be so tricky, and why it's so important to approach it with some nuance, and some consideration of the ways that it can not be so great for people.

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah.

Naomi Katz:

I mean, I think the number one thing is that it can bring up lots of feelings and memories about tracking and dieting. Like, anytime we attach numbers to stuff- like, anytime we've got a scale that you have to put yourself on- and then especially when we use it in conjunction with things like journaling times of day, and food choices, and stuff like that- it can feel for people very similar to what we've done in diet culture. And getting that close to a dieting behavior can sometimes bring up a lot of dieting thoughts. Which, you know, leads into kind of the second thing that makes this sort of tricky, and something to be approached carefully, which is that it can trigger a whole lot of perfectionism in people- where people feel like, oh, I have to- if I'm not at a number four, then I shouldn't start eating, because that's the- that's the time that's best to start eating. Or, I'm having a really hard time noticing the difference, or being able to tell the difference, between a three and a four. And getting really, really hung up on those little differences of, am I a three or am I 4, am I two or three, and things like that. And so, you know, some of this is also just sort of recognizing that, again, these are not boxes. It doesn't really matter whether you're a three or a four. It doesn't really matter whether you are starting to eat at a four or at a three, as long as when- whatever choices you make feel right to you in your body. Ultimately, it's really about making your own choices. Like, this is a tool to bring awareness to what the feelings are, not to judge the feelings or set rules about the feelings. And then, lastly- and we sort of touched on this a little bit earlier- the different descriptions at the different levels don't always represent people's personal experiences in their own bodies. Like, what hunger and fullness feels like at different levels can be different for different people. I've worked with people where for- like, a really strong indicator of hunger was like shakiness. Well, that doesn't appear anywhere on this scale. And so that was hard for them to figure out, like, okay, where on that scale would that be- like, does that fit as a hunger cue if it's not on the scale- and so really kind of having to think out of the box for that. By the same token, I would say, you know, that on the fullness scale, that thing about clothing feeling tight, some of us get more distension than others when we get full. And sometimes that happens earlier, or sometimes different foods make that happen earlier. And that doesn't necessarily mean that we're stuffed and overly full. Maybe we're just wearing tight clothes on that day. Like, there's just a lot of nuance in terms of like how these things can present personally for people. And so trying- like, it's really important when we look at this to recognize that this is not like a one size fits all. This- these are not the only ways that hunger and fullness can feel. And that even which signs and symptoms of hunger and fullness are subtle versus more extreme can vary from person to person. And so it's really important for people to be able to explore that themselves.

Sadie Simpson:

So that's a good segue into talking about some signs and symptoms of both hunger and fullness, and noticing some nuance, and how these different subtle differences in hunger and fullness can be unique to us as individuals, and where these signals may show up on this hunger and fullness scale. So a couple of signs and symptoms of hunger may be that your energy level is low, you're tired, you're sluggish, you're kinda lethargic, you don't feel great. And another sign and symptom of hunger may show up in your head. So you might have trouble concentrating. You might have a headache, you might be dizzy, or you might feel lightheaded or unable to focus. And then the next place you may feel hunger is with your mood. Like you might feel irritable, you might feel cranky, crabby, again, hangry, generally just disinterested in what's going on. And then finally, you may feel hunger in your stomach. Your stomach might be growling, you may have some hunger pains, you might have some empty feelings in your stomach, kind of that gnawing feeling. And whenever I think of energy, head, mood, and stomach- those sort of four levels of hunger- those can show up in that zero to four in the hunger fullness scale. And I don't want to assign a specific number to a specific feeling, because I feel like some folks may say that moodiness, irritable, cranky might be a zero for one person, and it might be a three for another person. So again, I think it's really important to recognize your unique hunger signals, and where they might fall on this spectrum for you. And another thing, when we're talking about hunger, that may be a sign or a symptom of hunger, is simply thinking about food, thinking about eating. Because a lot of times if you're, you know, in the middle of working, or you're watching TV, and, you know, suddenly you start to think about food, or you see a commercial on TV, and you're like, huh, that cheeseburger from McDonald's looks really good- that may be a symptom or a signal that it might be time to eat. So yeah, there's a lot of different signals for hunger that will show up differently for different people, during different times of the day, different times of the week, different times of the month. And I don't know how many more times I can say different in one sentence.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah, that's a really good point. And, you know, the other thing is that some of these signs and symptoms have like gradients too. So like, let's talk- just take thinking about food and eating as an example. Like, that can be a really early sign of hunger, like something that might show up at like a four, right? And then there's, I can't stop thinking about food and eating, I'm like obsessed with thinking about food and eating, I'm fantasizing about food and eating. That might be like a zero, you know? Like, so it's- you know, there's gradients to all of this stuff, too. I think what happens, though, is that there are- there are some common signs and symptoms of hunger, that I think when we, again, have spent a lot of time in diet culture, we think that those are like the first early signs of hunger. But for most of us, they're actually signs of more advanced hunger. So honestly, stomach growling- like if you- again, you know, the scale is not a Bible- you know, it's not, like, you know, carved in stone, true for everybody- but it is notable that stomach growling is that two on the scale. It's not the first sign of hunger, right? It's like pretty advanced hunger. Ditto for things like a headache, or dizziness, or lightheadedness, mood changes, like crankiness, and stuff like that. Obviously, a lot of this stuff is unique to individuals. For instance, the extent to which it affects your mood might also have something to do with the state of your blood sugar- you know, like, are you hypoglycemic? Does that- like when you get hungry do you have like a blood sugar crash that like throws you into that- like really affects your mood and stuff? There's like a ton of other factors that are very individual that can affect where these things come into play. But I think that, again, within diet culture, there's this belief that certain things are the first signs of hunger, when the reality is the first signs of hunger are usually way more subtle. Like, it's usually things like thinking about food, or sometimes it can be like feeling cold, a little bit.

Sadie Simpson:

Oh yeah.

Naomi Katz:

But I mean, it also just might be like a drop in your energy level- not to the extent that like, oh my god, I can't focus on anything, I need to take a nap, like anything- but just a little bit- like, ugh, I'm feeling low energy right now- like, just something very- like subtle shifts in energy levels, subtle shifts in, you know, our attentiveness to detail. And again, shifts in our thoughts about food. That- stuff like that tends to actually be earlier signs of hunger than, like, your stomach growling, which most of us recognize as that first sign of hunger.

Sadie Simpson:

This is lifelong work, like everything else. But even just last week, I can remember saying to my husband- we were sitting there like watching TV, and I told him, I said, man, I'm gonna go take a nap, like, I just do not feel good. And then, you know, I kind of thought about it, thought about my day. I'm like, oh, yeah, I haven't had anything except peanut butter crackers for, like, a super long time. I probably need to just eat something, and I'll probably feel a lot better. Because sometimes, you know, you just get distracted with your day, and stuff happens, and you're like, oh, I didn't eat anything. And sometimes it's like a reversal hunger fullness scale- when you're like, in the moment, and you think to yourself, oh, this is why I am at this level of hunger, and this is why I feel like this, because I am at a one, and I need to eat something.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah, totally. That's a really good point. One, about the fact that this is stuff that we're always still tuning into. And two, that, like, sometimes having the scale- just like generally being aware of it- can help us like reverse engineer-

Sadie Simpson:

Yes.

Naomi Katz:

-what we need, too. So that's hunger. Let's talk about fullness a little.

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah.

Naomi Katz:

I think the thing that most people recognize primarily as a feeling of fullness is feeling fullness in your stomach. Which, again, is like one of those things- like, I don't know about you, but like when I was growing up, I always learned that you were never supposed to define a word using the word that you were defining.

Sadie Simpson:

Ooh, yeah.

Naomi Katz:

And this is- so I have such a hard time with- with even like saying this one, because I'm like, oh, a sign and symptom of fullness is feeling fullness.

Sadie Simpson:

But it is.

Naomi Katz:

But basically, it just means, like, maybe a little bit of heaviness in the stomach. It can sometimes come with a little bit of a distension of the stomach. It's actually perfectly normal for your stomach to be- like, to distend a little bit when you're full. Like, it doesn't mean that- it doesn't necessarily mean that you've eaten too much. Like, it literally just means there food- there's food in your stomach. That's one of the reasons why I, like, cringe a little about that clothes are fitting tight at that like super high level, because that can actually happen earlier.

Sadie Simpson:

Mm-hmm. Oh, yeah.

Naomi Katz:

You know, that feeling of fullness can- it's one of those signs and symptoms that has gradients, you know-

Sadie Simpson:

So how do you use the hunger fullness scale when like it can be subtle, or it can be really uncomfortable. But certainly in your stomach, one of the places where we feel fullness. Fewer thoughts about food and eating- so basically like the flip side of, when you're hungry, you're thinking about food and eating. When you're not hungry, you're thinking about food less. Another one is the diminished desire to eat. For most of us, when we're tuned into our hunger and fullness, and when we- when we aren't driven by a ton of other narratives, we don't want to eat when we're full. Or even, we don't want to eat when we're not hungry. Personal experience- I was out with Ben the other day, and he was super excited, he was gonna go get himself lunch, and I was like, oh, God, I am just so not hungry, that it doesn't even sound good to me. And it was food that I generally love and, like, go out of my way for. But I was like, I just- I don't want to eat right now. Another one is increase in energy. So again, that's kind of the flip side to, when you're hungry, you might have that like drop in energy a little bit. And it makes sense. Like, when you eat, you're literally putting calories, aka energy, into your body. So getting that little energy boost when you eat makes sense. Pleasant or relaxed mood can be a symptom or a sign of fullness. The flip side of hangry, right? Like, where you just- and that one also makes sense. We feel safe, we feel secure, we- it's soothing- like, food does all of those things you're working with folks through the Intuitive Eating for us, so it makes sense that our mood levels. And then drowsiness. Drowsiness is one that gets a bad rap. And, you know, it makes sense. Like, we- in the world that we live in, where we tend to be very scheduled, and like very go go go a lot of the time, feeling drowsy after, say, like eating lunch in the middle of the day at the office, can feel really inconvenient. But it's not necessarily a sign that we've eaten too much, or that we've done anything wrong, or that we've eaten the wrong things, or anything like that. It's kind of an extension of that like pleasant or relaxed mood. If you think about like babies and animals, they tend to nap after they eat. You know, it's just because of the structure of our world and our society we don't get to do that. But drowsiness isn't necessarily a symptom of fullness that, like, indicates we've eaten too much, that we're like too high on that fullness scale, or anything like that. When we talk about fullness, most of the like extreme fullness signals are really just discomfort- like physical discomfort, maybe nausea, you know, things like that. But things like- you know, it's not like, the more you eat, the better your mood gets. Whereas, like on the hunger side, it's like, the longer you wait, the worse your mood gets- like that- it doesn't really work that way. framework?

Naomi Katz:

That is a good question. So, I introduce the hunger part of the scale when I'm working with folks on honoring hunger. And I do it sort of in conjunction with like exploring what hunger cues feel like on an individual basis. So like, we will talk about, like, what does hunger feel like? What are some common cues of hunger? What do you recognize as your personal hunger cues? You know, and like, making it personal. And then we talk about the scale, and we have a conversation about, like, whether it feels okay to them, whether they want to use it at all, whether they want to use it in a way that's tailored for them, which is something we'll talk a little bit more about later. For me, I really stress like a couple of things. So the first is that it's totally not a requirement. We absolutely can do work on hunger, and hunger levels, and hunger cues, and all of that, without using the scale, or without tracking things, and stuff like that. I also stress that, initially, it's maybe okay- maybe best- to ignore the fullness half of the scale altogether, because that's not something we need to concern ourselves with when we're just getting to the point of, like, are you eating when you're hungry. Like, we don't need to complicate it with, yeah, but am I eating too much? So starting with just the hunger side of the scale, and then, yeah, I work a lot with them on, if they want to, that they can make the whole like hunger scale practice their own. They can create their own different definitions for the levels of hunger. They can decide what information they want to track, or what they don't want to track. They can change what the practice is called- some people don't like that it's called a scale. I think the whole point of Intuitive Eating is to let go of outside rules, and expectations, and definitions, and so we really approach this as, like, this is an opportunity to redefine this whole part of this for you as an individual, if you want to.

Sadie Simpson:

I love that you have them create their own definitions, if that feels appropriate in the moment, and define what the different levels mean to them. Because I feel like that makes this really catered and unique to the individual. And it helps it- like, I hate to say it like this- but it helps it stick. Because if we can sort of come up with our own rules, and our own words, and our own numbers, or whatever, it just- having that personalization makes it really impactful. Totally. You know how I feel about things like scripts, and stuff like that. Yes.

Naomi Katz:

Like, I'm all about, like, make this yours, because then it'll feel like internalized for you.

Sadie Simpson:

Yes, yeah.

Naomi Katz:

The other thing that's really interesting about when people write out different definitions for themselves on that scale, is that sometimes when we get further into the practice, and like- because hunger is one of those things where, a lot of times people do the work, and they get to the point where they're honoring their hunger to a point, and we go on, and we do other work, and stuff like that, and then they realize, like, huh, I'm not actually all the way honoring my hunger still, I was holding back because of XY and Z. And so sometimes we have to come back and revisit hunger, with like a little bit of a deeper attention, and a more expansive understanding of what honoring our hunger is. And so sometimes when people write their own levels, it's interesting to have them come back later and rewrite those levels again, and notice how, like, maybe things that they were- that they thought were early hunger are actually more advanced hunger- that now they can recognize what those subtle signs are. It's a really interesting evolving practice. And then later, when we do fullness, like we do look at those fullness levels, but we look at them in conjunction with satisfaction levels, and we really pay attention to how important satisfaction is, even in terms of how we feel fullness, and to what extent we're able to honor our fullness. We also really stress that it's like the corollary to honoring hunger, and that like recognizing our feeling of fullness can help us to make sure that we're honoring our hunger by eating enough. This is one of the reasons why sometimes it's helpful to reintroduce this in fullness, is because it's an opportunity to look again at that- those hunger levels, and notice how these things interact. You know, so- just as an example of how that works- is, like, okay, maybe you have somebody who's like constant- who feels like they're constantly hungry. They're hungry, like, every hour, or something like that. And so, like, we can look at their fullness- like, we can have them track their fullness a little bit, and then we can see, like, oh, it's because you're never really eating to comfortable fullness, and as a result, you're hungry again really soon, because you're never full. And like how might that change if, when you eat, you eat to comfortable fullness? And then like maybe you're not ravenous again in an hour. So it's a- it's a layered practice when I do this stuff with- with the folks that I work with.

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah.

Naomi Katz:

How about you? How do you use this when- in your coaching?

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah, a lot of what you already mentioned sounds very similar to what I do. I have found that a lot of the folks that I work with tend to be chaotic, unconscious eaters- tend to be very busy, and forget to eat because of work, or parenting, or whatever. And for the most part, I have found that I have definitely spent more time working with folks on the honor your hunger side of things, and not so much the feel your fullness side of things. Like fullness- the conversation comes up, and there are some folks that I've worked with fullness more on than others. But generally speaking, there's a lot more emphasis on recognizing hunger signals, honoring those hunger signals, eating- and again, this sort of overlaps into fullness- the eating to satisfaction, so that, like you just said, you're not constantly feeling these subtle hunger signals all day long after just eating. But yeah, especially for kind of chaotic, all over the place, busy type of people, hunger tends to be one we spend a lot of time on. So looking at this hunger scale has been really helpful for some of the folks I've worked with, for sure.

Naomi Katz:

Do you find that, for people who are that, like, chaotic, unconscious eating style- which, by the way, if you're curious what we're talking about, you can go back and listen to our episode on finding your eating persona, about the unconscious eater- do you find that for people who are in that eating persona, that working with this kind of hunger scale helps them to be more mindful and tune in to their hunger cues? Like because there's a scale that they can- that there's like a concrete thing for them to associate it with?

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah, so just to give a specific example- and this may be helpful for folks out there listening- a lot of times when I have worked with someone who is a chaotic, unconscious eater, one of the practices that we will try to do is set some benchmarks throughout the day to check in on their level of hunger. So say, for example, it's somebody who works at a desk, and instead of setting a timer for every hour, or something like that, which feels very stressful for a lot of folks- it feels stressful for me to even say that- sometimes what we'll do is have them come up with certain times throughout their day that they can do a little check in. So maybe it's whenever they get up to go to the bathroom- they think to themselves, on a scale of one to 10, what is my hunger level? Or maybe whenever they have to- you know, they finish a zoom call, then they take a brief moment and sort of check in on their level of hunger. And based on that level of hunger, you know, take a break, go get something to eat, or, you know, continuously do some little check ins throughout the day. But what happens is that it becomes more of a natural thing for folks to start to start to recognize the hunger signals that they have. And instead of saying, okay, every time I send an email, I'm going to check in on my hunger, they began to do it more automatically versus having those external cues to check in.

Naomi Katz:

I love the idea of, instead of setting timers- because I also- like, when I work with folks, sometimes you have to like- you know, you set remind- you have reminders through the day- you set like a framework for checking in on hunger cues. I think that it's especially true for people who don't have a lot of routine, or definitely for folks who maybe are neurodivergent, and things like that. But yeah, like everybody hates getting reminders. So I love the idea of like anchoring it to something else that you're doing during the day. And I can totally see how that could just help make it part of your existing routine instead of adding a new routine on top. I also think that that's a practice- again, for people who are neurodivergent- sometimes that is something that needs to stick, and I think anchoring it to another part of your routine is much more sustainable than having random reminders.

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah. Because once it's automatically, you're like, okay, I'm going to the bathroom, then I'm gonna go get a snack maybe if I'm hungry. But at least it makes you more aware of what's going on like physiologically in your body.

Naomi Katz:

Totally. I love that. So let's talk a little bit about- because we've- we've mentioned it a few- we've hinted at this a few times, once or twice, as we've gone through this- but how do we incorporate this hunger scale- or how do we incorporate this kind of thing without it being triggering or diety? Or alternatively, like, how do we practice Intuitive Eating without this scale, if we do find it triggering or diety?

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah, well, like I said earlier, personally, it was helpful for me at the beginning of my exploration into Intuitive Eating. And for some folks, it may be helpful when you're still building this awareness around your personal hunger and fullness signals. But again, that may not be the case for everybody. And I think it's really important to note that you're not bad, or it's not wrong, if you find yourself regularly in the outliers of this scale. If you're regularly in like the 0, 1, 2, or the high end of eight, 9, 10- it's not wrong, it's not bad. Again, it's just another awareness tool to add to your toolbox.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah, I think that one of the big things is that we really need to make sure that we're clear on the purpose of tracking, and that we really frame this in like the right context, right? That like, one, it's information. Like, it's just information. Like, there's no right, there's no wrong, everything is information. Also, if we're tracking it alongside food choices, or times of day, or things like that, that, like, we're not judging the food choices. Like, we're not trying to limit what we're eating. We're trying to make sure that we're eating enough, if anything. And again, we're just gathering information.

Sadie Simpson:

This is meant to be a neutral tool. This is not supposed to be something that is extreme. But I can see how this could be triggering for someone, especially if someone, you know, has a history of dieting, and using numbers and trackers, and things like that. It could be an easy, slippery slope to work back into- into that kind of a mind frame. And for folks that may not like the scale- and I'm not talking about the scale scale- but the Intuitive Eating hunger fullness scale- you know, the zero to 10 might not feel right for you. And instead of using numbers, another thing that we can use are words to describe our level of hunger or level of fullness. So simply checking in and asking ourselves, do we feel pleasant, do we feel unpleasant, or do we feel neutral might be a better way to do this hunger fullness assessment. One, I do like it because it removes the numbers. But it, like, makes it less complex, because it's just three things, versus 11, versus zero to 10. Like, you only have to think pleasant, unpleasant, neutral, versus this whole long scale of numbers. Yeah.

Naomi Katz:

Totally. And it's also an interesting way to- especially for people who maybe have been avoiding fullness, or, like, who feel like all fullness is unpleasant, or something like that- that it sort of introduces this interesting framing of, like, what would pleasant fullness feel like? Ditto for hunger- like, what would pleasant hunger feel like? And really being able to, like, distinguish that neither of these things are inherently pleasant or unpleasant- that there are pleasant and unpleasant versions of both of these things- and helping them, like, lean into figuring out what that would- what those look like. Yeah, I love using just words instead of numbers. That's- That's a great way to do that. The other thing is that, like, you don't have to track it or write it down. Like, it can just be like a mental practice. Yeah, Sadie, similarly to like what you were talking about earlier about, like, oh, every time I go to the bathroom, I check in on, you know, how I'm feeling on my hunger levels, or something- like, that doesn't mean that you have to write it down, you just like check in, have a moment, think about it, and move on, kind of. It doesn't have to be something you track. Alternately, like, I offer for folks to send me voice notes in Voxer about it. That way- I think this is especially helpful for people who like structure, but feel a little triggered by the tracking of it- this is like a good in between, basically, where it's kind of like tracking, but it's not visible. Like, they can't look back and assess every- assess or obsess- about everything that they've eaten, or like any of that stuff. But I am still getting it, I can respond to it. It just is a little bit- it's like an in between, sort of, where you're like tracking, but not. And I imagine that that's something that people could do- like if you don't have a coach- that it's something you could do with like voice notes in the Notes app or something like that. I don't- I'm not really sure how that would play out, doing it on your own, but I imagine there's got to be a way to do something similar. You know, the other thing is just to like, you know, as we're going through this practice, to really just stay tuned in to noticing if perfectionism is popping up for us, so that we can explore that. Again, everything's information. So like, if that does happen, again, it's not that you're doing it wrong. It's information. It's something about this practice is triggering that perfectionism. This is one of the reasons why it's really helpful, by the time you get to this kind of work, to like have already done work around rejecting diet culture, and unpacking some of the societal stuff, and like mindset, and all of that, around that- is that you've already got some practice in recognizing narratives, and in like reframing narratives. And so, by the time you get here, you might have the awareness to be like, oh, hello perfectionism, and being able to, like, talk yourself through that, or, like, have a resource to talk through it with.

Sadie Simpson:

I love that. And I think it can be very, very easy for those of us who have perfectionism tendencies to want to do this perfectly. And there is no perfect way to do this. And I think that also ties in to creating awareness, again, with everything- exploring our own hunger signals, recognizing the nuances that are unique to us individually- versus, like, my stomach's growling, this is a universal hunger signal- because it might not be the same signal for you as it is for the next person. And also recognizing what is very hungry, versus what is just a little bit hungry. What is snack hungry, versus what is meal hungry. There's a lot of layers to this that we could discuss, but we're starting to run out of time. But using this personal information, and reflecting and redefining the levels in a way that makes sense for us as individuals. Yeah. And then, I would say, lastly- and I think I mentioned this a little bit earlier- is, like, try calling it something other than a scale. Honestly, I've never thought about that. But yeah.

Naomi Katz:

I have had more than one person mention to me that they don't like calling it a scale. And I get that. I totally get that. So maybe it's a guide. Maybe it's a hunger and fullness guide. Maybe it's a hunger and fullness exploration. You know, something like that instead. Choose your own word. It's a hunger and fullness adventure.

Sadie Simpson:

I love that.

Naomi Katz:

But pick something that feels good, you know, that feels positive, that feels curious, you know, that doesn't have that kind of like emotional response, like scale does.

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah.

Naomi Katz:

Bottom line, as with anything else in Intuitive Eating, this is just not a one size fits all solution for everyone. It is a tool that's going to work for some. It might work really well for some, and it might not work at all for others. Doing the work of exploring whether this is a good fit for you personally can actually be a great exercise in recognizing narratives, and also in prioritizing your own individual needs over external tools and concepts, and stuff like that.

Sadie Simpson:

Yes, I love that. And that really wraps up this whole conversation. As always, to make your life more satisfying, prioritizing your individual needs, tapping into these internal signals, recognizing that we can get our own needs met, we can learn how to meet our own needs. Specifically in this episode, when it comes to hunger, and even fullness, recognizing what we need as individuals is a lot of work. It is not easy. However, it can make your whole life more satisfying.

Naomi Katz:

Totally. And if doing some of this practical work on Intuitive Eating is something that you want to explore more, just a reminder that Sadie and I both offer Intuitive Eating coaching, and that's something that you can get more information about at the links in our show notes.

Sadie Simpson:

And if you enjoyed this episode, if you learned something new, come on over to @satisfactionfactorpod on Instagram, send us a message, let us know what stood out to you in this episode, share about this episode in your stories, if you learned anything, or if you liked it, or if you just want to support us. Because, again, that is one way we receive feedback and know you relate to and like the content we're putting out.

Naomi Katz:

So Sadie, what's satisfying for you right now?

Sadie Simpson:

I am satisfied with summer vacation from school. So I don't know if I've talked about this before or not, but my husband, Trey, is a teacher. You know that, but I don't know if I've talked about this publicly on the podcast. But my husband, Trey, is a teacher, and he's out of school slash work for the next couple of months. So it is great to have him home, and it's always this weird adjustment to our routine. Because a lot of times what happens when he's home in the summer, obviously our childcare routine is shaken up a little bit. Sometimes I've worked more in the summer, which makes sense because he's home, and he can do more of the childcare stuff, I can do more of the working. And we just have the opportunity to, like, go do more stuff during the day, during the week, which is awesome. And I'm very much enjoying that right now.

Naomi Katz:

That is so awesome. The idea of having like a cyclical schedule like that sounds really satisfying. And then also, just like having a certain time of the year where, like, you just get to spend more time as a family. Like, that's just- that sounds really nice.

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah, it is nice. And it's nice, too, because usually, by the end of August, we're all ready for our schedule to change again. Like we all need sort of our space from each other after we have all been together a lot. So it is kind of nice, like these different seasons that we have to look forward to. So yeah. What's satisfying for you right now?

Naomi Katz:

So I've talked about this on the pod before. Like, around my birthday, we did a whole bunch of work on redecorating my office. And it is officially done now.

Sadie Simpson:

Yay.

Naomi Katz:

And like I have all my art up, I've got new lighting, I've got- like, everything's on the walls, all the new furniture is in. Just everything. And I could not love it more. Like I-

Sadie Simpson:

Oh that's awesome.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah, right? Like, for the first time, I have a workspace that just feels like mine, and like reflects my style, and my preferences, and just everything. And I just feel so comfortable and happy in it. I didn't even realize how much of a difference it was gonna make for me mentally to have a workspace that I love this much.

Sadie Simpson:

Oh my gosh, well, that is a great hot tip for folks out there listening who work from home and have a home office. That's a good refresher, like to feel good about yourself, to feel good about your workspace. And even just a couple of little changes here and there. Even if you can't do a full remodel or whatever. Like a couple of little changes in your space that you spend a lot of time with, can really change your mood, like during the day. Because you're there a lot, so it might as well be a space that you like.

Naomi Katz:

Totally. I spend so much time in this office. And it's so funny- like now that it's all redone- like I don't even know how I managed to not lose it in my old office. Like, but also, maybe I did a little. Like the- the the feeling of stress. It's not that I'm not stressed about the work that I have to do anymore. Because, I mean, life is still- life stress is still stress, and all of that. But like, I don't know, it just feels different. Like it feels more manageable.

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah, that's awesome. Okay, well, that's all for us this week. We'll see you next time.