Do you have a hard time knowing when to stop eating?
Intuitive Eating Series Principle #5 - Honor your fullness
“Thou shalt not waste food”. Do you have a hard time not cleaning your plate because you’ve either been taught to eat it all, you’re starving and can’t shovel it in fast enough, or are you on another binge because when you’re diet starts all this yummy food is off limits? How do we even listen to and feel full when we have all these emotions interrupting our meal?!
Today, we are working on feeling our fullness.
When thinking about fullness and satiety, it's important to pay attention. So many of us lead busy lives and we sometimes forget to pay attention when we actually eat - in fact, would you say you're more of a mindless eater?
FIRST, WHAT DOES FULLNESS FEEL LIKE TO YOU?
My challenge for you today is simple. First, figure out what fullness feels like to you. What kinds of signals does your body give you? For some it is a feeling of fullness in the stomach, for others, it's a feeling of satisfaction. For me, I know I'm done when the little voice in my head says "that's probably a good last bite - if you go any further you know you'll feel stuffed and overfull".
Haven't you had that sensation at a restaurant where you know you should probably stop there because your body tells you it's satisfied? The question is - what do you do about it? Do you stop or keep going? No answer is wrong or right, but just notice what you tend to do - this can help you a ton when learning to honor your fullness.
ASK YOURSELF ONE QUESTION
Now that you know what fullness feels like to you, all you need to do is ask yourself one phrase throughout a meal (and try your best to practice this by sitting down and eating a meal as mindfully as possible, it will help you on those days when you don't have time to sit down and eat mindfully).
Ask yourself "Where am I at?" That's it. Ask yourself the question at the beginning of a meal. Are you starving? Lightly hungry? Ready for a meal? Just ask yourself where your hunger is at on a scale of 1-10 (1 being starving and 10 being stuffed).
Throughout the meal ask yourself that question a few more times.
Then, when you get to your level of fullness or satisfaction (which for most people is about a level 7-8), stop there. Listen to your body and stop. Give yourself 10-20 minutes of being away from the table or doing other things and then ask yourself again where you're at.
Do you feel like you ate until you were full or satisfied? Are you still hungry? It might take some time to learn your body's signals, but remember, you're learning! If you're still hungry, eat a little something more. If not, remember that feeling of fullness for next time and cheer yourself on for listening to your body!
Now, sometimes hunger and fullness can be hard to listen to, especially if you've ignored it most of your life through dieting, or being too busy to eat mindfully. But, practicing this regularly can really help you become more in tune with your body.
If you need a little extra help in trying to listen to your body, you can also ask yourself some of the following questions to help you determine your hunger and fullness levels.
- Ask yourself:
"How much time has passed since I last ate?" Maybe you realize it's been a while so you probably should start thinking about eating.
"What kind of food did I eat at my last meal?" Did you eat a balance of good protein, fats, and carbs to help keep you full or was breakfast a quick bagel on the go that never really keeps you full for very long?
And lastly, "What does my food environment look like?" This can greatly affect you being able to listen to your hunger and fullness cues. If you're at a restaurant maybe you know you struggle to stop when you're full. Try a new technique and ask for a to-go box right when you feel satisfied with your meal. Don't let it sit out in front of you, because you know you'll find ways to pick at it all night.
Remember, you don't have to finish everything on your plate. It's ok to say no if you're not hungry. Listen to the voice in your head giving you your fullness signals - when it says stop, honor it. You can always come back later if you still feel hungry.
Don't forget to download my hunger and fullness workbook and then get to practicing!