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Measure Progress by How and What You Eat


No matter how hard I try to shift clients away from a weight focus, they often come back to it as a way to measure progress. Although I’ve blogged on other ways to assess forward movement ( and (, clients are so used to the ultimate culturally-approved standard, that they keep drifting back to it. The goal is to evaluate what and how you’re doing, from thoughts and urges for food when you’re not hungry to how compassionate you are with yourself when you overeat.

Rather than write down or chart what you weigh or eat, instead, each day answer these questions about your eating and related issues.

Urges: How often did I…

  • feel the urge to eat when I wasn’t hungry? _____
  • refrain from eating when I wasn’t hungry? _____
  • eat when I wasn’t hungry? _____

Hunger: When I was hungry, how often did I . . .

  • wait until I was moderately hungry to eat? _____
  • eat before I was moderately hungry? _____

Food Choice: When making a food choice, how often did I . . .

  • eat without thinking through the consequences of making it? _____
  • think through the consequences of making it? _____
  • eat because it’s what I wanted and not because others were eating it? _____
  • take time to consider better choices? _____

Eating: While I was eating, how often did I . . .

  • eat slowly, chew my food carefully, savor each bite and rest between them? _____
  • rush through eating without tasting my food? _____
  • feel guilty eating something I felt I “shouldn’t” be eating? _____
  • eat without distraction, that is, without doing anything else? _____
  • eat while doing other activities? _____
  • feel relaxed while eating? _____
  • feel tense and/or upset while eating? _____

 Fullness (quantity) and Satisfaction (enjoyment): While I was eating, how often did I . . .

  • consider that I was full or satisfied and stop eating? _____
  • consider that I was full or satisfied and continue eating? _____
  • never think about fullness or satisfaction? _____
  • do a great job at stopping eating when I had enough? _____
  • do a poor job at stopping eating when I had enough? _____

After eating: When I was done eating, how often did I . . .

  • with curiosity and without judgment, consider how I’d done with food? _____
  • feel compassion for myself when I was disappointed in my eating? ____
  • been hard on myself for how I’d eaten? _____
  • problem-solved about how I could have done a better job? _____

Use this chart or modify it to your specific eating issues. To remind yourself to use it every meal, put it where you usually sit when you eat. Keep track of where you’re progressing and where you’re having trouble moving forward. Put it on your phone. Throw out your scale!