Handling Hunger

March 28, 2021
By Swati Chandrasekhar,

Handling Hunger: Are you concerned about being hungry even when you want to follow a diet?

Are you really hungry?
Most of us find it difficult to distinguish between true hunger, a desire to eat, and a craving.

1. Hunger: When you’ve fasted for several hours and your stomach is empty
2. Desire: Not really hungry, but desire to eat as there is food around
3. Craving: A physiological and emotionally driven urge to eat

What happens if you do?

Here’s an easy way to monitor your hunger. Pick a day to note how you feel before, during, and after a meal. Also, rate your hunger on a scale of 0 to 10, with 0 being not hungry.
1. Before you sit down to eat the meal, notice how your stomach feels
2. Halfway through the meal, pay attention to how your stomach feels
3. Rate your hunger once you’ve finished eating
4. After 20 minutes, observe how you feel


Sample of Hunger Chart

Time Hunger responses Scale of Hunger (0-10)
Before the meal
Halfway through the meal
Immediately after the meal
20 minutes after the meal


How does it work?

When you carefully observe your hunger sensations in this manner, you’ll soon be able to identify the difference between hungry, and not hungry. You can repeat this exercise if needed.


1. If it has been anywhere between 20 minutes to 3 hours since you’ve eaten a reasonably sized meal,  any urge to eat is probably due to  desire, and not hunger
2. Load your meals with a sufficient amount of proteins which help to curtail your hunger
3. Make sure your meals include foods high in water and fiber, like fruits and vegetables

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