Am I Really Hungry? Use the Hunger Scale.

Drinking water is a great way to curb appetite.

Last week, I launched the hugely popular Davey Wavey Weight Loss Program and I’ve been getting a lot of great feedback and questions. One of the more common questions is about identifying true feelings of hunger.

As I’ve mentioned before, there’s a difference between hunger and appetite. Hunger is the body’s need for food whereas appetite is more about psychological desires for food. Because of appetite, we consume food when we’re not really hungry - often as a way to cope with stress, to deal with boredom, to self-sooth, etc.

To become more aware of the difference between cravings and true hunger, many nutritionists recommend using a hunger scale. While you can use any range of numbers, I prefer scoring hunger and fullness on a scale of 1 to 10 as follows:

  1. Insatiably hungry
  2. Seriously hungry
  3. Stomach growling hungry
  4. Slightly hungry
  5. No longer hungry but not yet satisfied
  6. Comfortably satisfied
  7. Starting to feel full
  8. Feeling quite full
  9. Starting to get a stomach ache from so much food
  10. In actual pain from overeating

When you feel yourself reaching for food, rate your hunger. If it’s a 4 or higher, maybe you can just have a tall glass of water with lemon to hold yourself off for a half hour. Or maybe, if you’re somewhere closer to a 3, an apple might hold you over until your next meal.

Ideally, you’d like to stay somewhere in the 3 - 7 range. If you become insatiably hungry, for example, you’re more likely to overeat (as it takes up to 20 minutes for the stomach to signal to the brain that is full). To do a better job of self regulating, it’s just as important to rate your fullness after eating.

Using this hunger scale, you’ll slowly learn to both identify true hunger and do a better job of differentiating psychological desires for food.

For more information about losing weight and keeping it off, download The Davey Wavey Weight Loss Program.

About Davey Wavey

Davey Wavey is a certified personal trainer and YouTube sensation with more than 250 million video views. For Davey's fitness tips and secrets, sign up for his free monthly newsletter - or download any of his affordable and effective workout programs.


  1. So, is this a real article or just one more way of plugging your new weight loss program?

    seriously though, I have been in pain from lack of eating, never had pain from over eating.

    Also, when you’re feeling hungry you should stop and consider whether you’re actually tired - often the mind confuses tiredness with hunger.

  2. I learn so much from your articles! You have a gift for selection pictures that are insanely sexy and have something to do with the article! I love it!

  3. eat slow… when the time you finish the half bowl you already feel full… (previous experience)

    now even intense… eat only quarter or less already feel full… (but anyway don’t waste your food! share with other…)


  1. […] you start to feel the munchies, experts recommend rating your hunger on a 10 point scale wherein 1 is insatiably hungry and 10 is overly full. If you’re feeling a 4 or higher, you […]

  2. […] need for food whereas appetite is the psychological desire for food. With this in mind, rate your hunger on a scale of 1 to 10 - with 1 being insatiably hungry and 10 being in pain from overeating. Using this hunger […]