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09 Sep

How Full Is Too Full?

That line between feeling satiated and feeling slightly sick is often blurry when we don’t check in with our bodies. When we follow prescriptive diets that feature restriction for an extended period of time, we often along with our hunger cues, lose track of our satiety signals.

We become resistant over time to the key hormones that alert us to when we have eaten enough.

Ways to reintroduce this part of the narrative include, being mindful when you eat. Try, when possible to steer clear from eating in front of the TV or in the car. This will allow you to give yourself and meal the attention that they deserve, without distraction.

Have a mid meal check in. Ask yourself how does my body feel? How does the food taste? Am I continuing to enjoy or am I trying to just get to the end?

Use the concept of the hunger and fullness scale. This scale will help to identify where you are with your fullness in a consistent way. This is not a tool that I suggest using forever but in terms of initially understanding your body and its needs again, it is a solid place to begin. Aiming for 5 or 6 on the scale below is where feels best for most.

  1. Ravenous: Too hungry to care what you eat. This is a high-risk time for overeating.
  2. Starving: You feel you must eat now!
  3. Hungry: Eating would be pleasurable, but you can wait longer.
  4. Hunger pangs: You’re slightly hungry; you notice your first thoughts of food.
  5. Satisfied: You’re content and comfortable. You’re neither hungry nor full; you can’t feel your stomach at all.
  6. Full: You can feel the food in your stomach.
  7. Very full: Your stomach feels stretched, and you feel sleepy and sluggish.
  8. Uncomfortable: Your stomach is too full, and you wish you hadn’t eaten so much.
  9. Stuffed: Your clothes feel very tight, and you’re very uncomfortable.
  10. Sick: You feel sick and/or you’re in pain.

Check in tomorrow for another instalment on the Intuitive Eating Series.