Hunger & Appetite

What is the difference between hunger & appetite?

  • Hunger is the survival instinct that drives us to feed when the body requires food.
  • Appetite is the feeling that we need to eat which is influenced by emotions such as pleasure, happiness, boredom, sadness, anxiety etc.

Eating to 80% full

Whether your aim is to maintain or lose some weight we normally have to eat less than what we do currently. Learning to stop at ‘80% full’ is a very helpful way to do this without tracking calories, weighing ingredients or uploading every single food item consumed onto MyFitnessPal. Eating slower, while practising this habit will really help you identify when you have eaten enough. 


Creating awareness

  • ‘80% full’ is not a specific number, but rather an understanding: Eating until “just satisfied” or “no longer hungry” but not full or stuffed.
  • This habit continues to teach appetite awareness, building intuitive understanding and control of hunger/fullness. Over time, you will learn to sense your hunger and satiety cues properly, as well as distinguish physical hunger from cravings.

  • This habit helps analyse your eating habits as a process (rather than something that “just happens”). By identifying situations and cues that contribute to your eating habits you will improve understanding and awareness of how much to eat.

How to practice this habit

It is important to be patient with this habit because at first, you may not be able to feel hunger or fullness, or any stomach cues. This could be because you are too busy and suddenly find yourself starving or have eaten too much without paying attention. However, tracking your progress each evening on the App will help you become more aware of the practice. 

When possible, pay attention to any signs that you are physically hungry or full and record them in the notes of daily habit reminders on the App. Look out for:

  • “hunger headache”; light-headedness or “spaced out”; being “hangry” (hungry + angry); growling or empty-feeling stomach; etc.
  • Over-fullness cues (ate too much): feeling stuffed/bloated; heartburn; feeling nauseated or gassy; feeling heavy and sluggish; etc.
  • Satiety cues (ate just enough): feeling energised and no longer hungry; feeling generally satisfied; feeling as though you could get up from the table and do something such as go for a walk or feeling ready to tackle the afternoon’s meetings etc.

Hurdles you may encounter

Actually knowing what ‘100% full’ or even ‘120% full’ might need to be established before you can identify 80% but remember this isn’t feeling exactly 80% full but more about awareness about how you feel after you have eaten e.g. energised or sluggish.

Mastering this habit and your appetite cues will enable you to stop short of ‘stuffed’, help you plan to eat before getting too hungry, make good food decisions and stop overeating. 

Starting this habit immediately with slower eating will give you a far greater chance of becoming more aware and mastering your hunger and appetite bringing you far more understanding over your weight management.  


What’s next?

This habit will now appear in your schedule every day at 7:00 pm. for the next two weeks.

Check off the habit each day even if you haven’t managed to practice it.

You are not expected to achieve a 100% hit rate, you are looking to notice and become more aware of your hunger and appetite. 

When you have managed to practice the habit, please note down what you felt and became aware of.