Intuitive Eating Principle #5: Feel your fullness
Do you know what comfortable fullness feels like? And how often do you stop eating when you reach that place?
We can confuse ourselves when we set rules about when we “should” be full. This can take a lot of different forms, like…
- The “clean-plate club” where you feel obligated to eat 100% of whatever is set before you
- Eating based on calories and making yourself stop eating when your calories “run out”
- Having rules about eating only at certain times of the day
Some of you might even be afraid of your fullness, because you believe that in order to be “successful” at dieting, you should always feel some level of hunger.
But I’m here to tell you this:
Fullness is your friend!
Fullness is an amazing feeling that allows us to have peace around food. When you stop labeling food as “good” and “bad” and give yourself unconditional permission to eat (see my post about making peace with food), you know you can eat that food again anytime. So the urges to eat copious amounts of food go away, and you’re free to stop eating when you’re full.
This might sound simple, but if you’ve spent a long time with food rules and regimens about what you should eat and how much is enough, you might need to take some time to rediscover what fullness feels like. To do this, you can practice some of these tips:
1. Pause in the middle of a snack/meal and ask yourself how your hunger level is. Be open to any answer! If you’re still hungry, keep eating…we are still honoring our hunger! But if you’re full, know that it is okay to stop, no matter how much you have left.
2. When you finish, ask yourself where your fullness level is now. Did you reach comfortable fullness? Did you perhaps pass it?
Take each opportunity to learn a little more about what fullness feels like to you. As time goes on, you will learn what foods make you comfortably full.
You will also learn about foods people consume to “eat without eating.” There’s nothing wrong with a rice cake, but let’s be honest — that is not a satisfying food. The diet industry promotes low-calorie foods as the answer to all your problems, but the truth is that they often create more problems because you never truly feel full eating them.
Foods that contain protein, fat, and/or fiber are more likely to be satisfying. So there’s a huge argument for including each of those elements at each snack/meal as best you can (and please don’t forget about carbohydrates — life doesn’t work without them!)
Fullness is a beautiful thing that means you are fueling the vessel out of which you live your life! Being truly healthy isn’t about deprivation; it’s actually quite the opposite. It’s about finding the things that will truly fill you (and I’m not just talking about food). We were made to live full lives!
Jesus said it best in John 10:10:
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
To see my next post on principle #6: “discover the satisfaction factor,” click here!