Nutrition and dieting can be a tricky game, even if you’re feeling confident that you’re nailing it and doing it correctly. If you’ve managed to cut out sweets, fried foods, and processed foods in general, now you’ve got to nail the timing aspect. If you go too long without food, you may end up overeating, whereas if you eat too frequently, you may be consuming more food than your body actually needs.

A new way to accelerate your weight-loss progress is to use the “hunger scale” concept, which allows you to rate your level of hunger and satisfy it accordingly.

The hunger scale is a scale from one to 10, with one representing the hungriest you could possibly be, and 10 representing feelings of discomfort, nausea, and illness due to eating too much.

Here is the hunger scale and descriptions for each level:

1: Starving, irritable, headache, dizziness, lightheadedness

3: Hungry, growling stomach

5: Comfortable and neutral: not hungry, and not full

6: Satisfied

8: Too full, and tired from eating too much

10: Stuffed, nauseated, sick

The point of using the hunger scale is to become more familiar with how often you need to eat. Ideally, you want to grab a snack or eat a meal when you’re at level three, and stop eating when you reach level six. Allowing yourself to get to level one could result in the loss of lean muscle, irritability, and hormonal imbalance, which could lead to poor decisions with food choices as well as overeating. On the other hand, stuffing yourself and reaching a level 10 could result in weight gain, overeating, and nausea or sickness.

If you’re still in the process of becoming more familiar with your body and with living a healthy lifestyle, the hunger scale can help you stay on track. If you’re feeling the urge to grab a snack due to boredom or out of habit, stop and ask yourself where you are on the hunger scale. If you’re not at a three, you may want to drink a glass of water and occupy yourself until your hunger level finally reaches a three.