Feel Your Fullness: Intuitive Eating for the Holidays and Life

Do you feel full often? Is it ever to the point where you are uncomfortably full? Have you stopped feeling fullness because you’ve become numb to the feeling after dieting for so long and never quite reaching that point?  Are you a plate cleaner? These things happen to many people. I promise you aren’t alone. Whether or not you feel these feelings, it’s important to be satisfied with the amount of food you eat. You should feel comfortably full, but not overly stuffed or just barely not hungry.

After dieting for a long time, meal times are often the only acceptable times to eat. Many times because of this, people either finish everything on their plate because they are so hungry or they don’t feel full because they aren’t eating enough.

Fullness feels different for everyone, some people consider it as satisfied, content, feeling their stomach as filled, or nothing-not hungry, but not full. On our scale of 1-10, we like to be around a 6/7/ maybe an 8. Anything else becomes uncomfortable.

Some ways to help relearn this are to:

-Slow down. Take time in between bites and put your fork down so you can enjoy the bite you just had. At this time pay attention. Does the food taste good. How hungry or full are you feeling with this bite? Are you distracted by something? Are you answering emails, watching TV? How is this distraction affecting the way you’re eating? Does it help you pay attention to how you feel and how your food is tasting or are you focused on something else?

-Limit distractions: It is so difficult to eat without something in front of us like a tv or phone, but it will only make it harder for you to connect with your body enough to understand how you are feeling. It can take 20 minutes for your stomach to send a signal to your brain that you are full.

-When you finish eating, ask yourself what is your level of fullness? Using our scale of 1-10, where is your fullness? Are you comfortable or did you eat beyond that level? -Did the food still taste good towards the end of your meal, or were you getting bored with it?

-Don’t feel obligated to finish all the food on your plate. But also don’t feel like you need to leave food on your plate. Eat until you decide you are done.

-If you decide to stop eating, reinforce that conscious decision to stop. Once you decide you don’t want to eat anymore, do something to signal you are done: push the plate forward, put your utensils or napkin on your plate.

-Once you feel full, take into account how you are feeling: are you full enough to last you until another meal, or will you be hungry again in two hours? Not that either is better than the other, but it can affect the timing of your next meal and may interfere with scheduled plans.

Sometimes we may feel full, but we still want more. Does your stomach feel like it’s gotten enough food, but you still feel like you need to eat? This happens often because you didn’t quite get something that would satisfy you as well as address your hunger.



    November 26, 2019 at 3:22 PM

    Leaving food behind has always been a challenge. It wasn’t until my mid-20’s that I realized (subconsciously) that it was acceptable not to clean your plate. Do you run into a lot of people who retain the habit of plate cleaning from their childhood? Also, speaking as someone who eats half their meals between calls in the front seat of an ambulance, do you know of a good trick to remind yourself to slow down?

    1. katyfortman

      April 17, 2020 at 3:21 PM

      It’s super common, hell, I’m even a plate cleaner and it’s hard not to be. Some things to try to slow down are putting your fork down in between bites. A lot of times, we’ve got the next bite ready to go before the one in your mouth is even swallowed. Trying to be in the moment as much as possible can also help. Thinking about eat bite: how does it taste, what’s the texture, is it what you wanted, how full are you feeling with each bite? It gets easier, but it’s such a hard habit to break, especially when you aren’t even eating at a table! Hope all is well Jeremy!

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