THE SNACK FACTOR DIET 1 What's Your HQ? Using the Hunger Quotient to Time Your Meals and Snacks In our first session together, I always ask new clients, "How hungry are you when you eat?" Some people say they are never hungry. "How could I be? I'm always eating," they'll joke. Or they'll say, "Famished! I make myself wait to eat until I am starving, but I'm usually stuffed when I am done with a meal!" As basic as it is, many peopleespecially superbusy peoplehave a pretty feeble grasp of their Hunger Quotient. Maybe they just eat constantly, without thinking about it. Or they eat in such a spartan wayas if their virtue is measured by how few calories they consumethat they're never really satisfied. So when hunger does catch up with them, the pangs are powerful enough to knock them right into the nearest Taco Bell. Years of not-so-great eating habits have made us tone-deaf to our body's hunger messages. Sure, we can listen to our body when it tells us we're tired, that we're coming down with a cold, or we've worked out too hard at the gym. But it's difficult for many of my clientseven the ones who know the exchange rate for the Japanese yen or the exact floor plan of Neiman Marcusto answer this simple question: "Right now, how hungry am I?" That's because most of us eat whether we are hungry or not. We eat because we think it's time to eat, or because the food tastes good, or maybe just because it's in front of us. the Snack Factor Diet will boost your HQ so that hungerand only hungerdictates your eating behavior. Your hunger will tell you when it's time to eat your meals and snacks. You don't need to plan them around my schedule, or one devised by nutrition researchers in a lab somewhere. The whole point of the Snack Factor Diet is to help you find a regular eating pattern that suits your body, your metabolism, your goals, and your lifestyle. No matter what anyone tells you, there is no ideal time between meals. Everyone is unique and needs to know his or her HQ before picking up a fork. Some people need to eat every few hours, while others should wait closer to four hours before eating between meals and snacks. I've got clients who are breakfast-snack-lunch-snack-dinner people, and I admit that's the style of eating that suits me best, too. But I've also got breakfast-lunch-snack-snack-dinner clients, and even a few breakfast- lunch-snack-snack-snack people! In fact, just by jotting down their HQ levels, my clients usually figure out their style in a few days. The Exception to the Rule There is one exception to my let-your-hunger-be-your-guide rule, and that's breakfast. People are hungry at breakfast, even if they don't know it. Your body has probably gone ten to twelve hours with no nourishment at all, so it's running on empty. And the start of your workdayespecially if it involves getting kids ready for school, fighting morning traffic, or diving into a less-than-scintillating sales reportoften demands serious mental energy. In a perfect world, we would all wake up craving nutritious breakfasts that complemented our busy days. The bad news is that many of my clients come to me with the reverse metabolic scenario: they skip breakfast, or if they eat at all, it's usually nothing but empty carbs. Then, in an effort to be "good," they don't snack and maybe even eat a bare-bones salad at lunch. But all that noneating doesn't help them lose weight; in fact, it has the opposite effect because it slows thGlassman, Keri is the author of 'Snack Factor Diet The Secret to Losing Weight--by Eating More', published 2007 under ISBN 9780307351470 and ISBN 0307351475.