Evaluate how hungry you are before eating, dietitians say

Dieticians say there is an easy way to recognize when you might be eating too much

Food can be comforting, and experts say there is nothing wrong with that. But, mindlessly indulging or stress-eating can cause you to pack on a few extra pounds you may not want.

Signe Darpinian, a certified eating disorders specialist, told CNN that you should take a pause and evaluate how hungry you are before grabbing another bite to eat. She says you first need to think before opening the refrigerator door.

Then, use the 10-point “hunger meter” to determine how hungry you really are, with one being the hungriest and 10 being the least. She says to think of a “9” as thanksgiving day stuffed, and a “6” is the perfect meeting point of satisfied and full -- but not overly stuffed.

Darpinian said you ideally want to eat a meal at level “3,” where you can be calm and mindful about eating. She says using this method can help you assess what kind of snack you may want. If you stop and realize you are at a “4,” instead of making a sandwich, an apple may suffice.

Dieticians say to think about what is causing you to stress eat. What you could be “hungry” for is a nap or a day off work. There are times where you may just want a cookie -- and you shouldn’t beat yourself up over that.

Below is the full scale used in the “hunger meter.”

1 = Starving, ravenous, dizzy, cranky, can’t think clearly, low blood sugar

2 = Very hungry, rumbling stomach

3 = Manageable hunger; a happy place where you want to arrive at mealtime; calm and mindful about eating

4 = You could eat, but you’re not that hungry; snacky

5 = You’ve probably just eaten, and aren’t hungry

6 = The dreamy stopping place; your stomach feels happy and at peace, it’s not overly stuffed

7 = Your taste buds lose interest much beyond this point

8 = You are on the path toward full and feel anchored by your food

9 = Thanksgiving day stuffed

10 = Uh oh. Time to unbutton

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