It's amazing how feeling famished can suddenly sneak up on you. One minute you have an inkling for a little nibble, the next you want a gallon of cookie dough ice cream and you want it now!

Your temperamental tummy is likely not the problem—the issue is that you’re misreading its cues. “Not all hunger is created equal, but we often treat it the same,” says Susan Albers, Psy.D., a clinical psychologist at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio and author of Eat. Q. “We're prone to say we're hungry, and yet there are different levels of hunger.” And this miscommunication may lead to making bad food choices, which can result in sugar spikes, fatigue, brain fog, weight gain, and other health issues.

Learn how to interpret your stomach, however, and you can hone in on how hungry you truly are and act accordingly. Use this guide as your Rosetta Stone to keeping your healthy eating (and weight!) on track as you progress through a typical day.

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