Intuitive Eating Disordered Eating Counseling

Respecting your Fullness: How to Stop Eating When You’ve Had Enough

Respecting your fullness means listening for the signals your body sends when it’s satisfied, approaching fullness and full — and making decisions about whether to stop or continue eating considering what your body is telling you. In a nutshell, respecting your fullness means not eating past fullness.

Respecting your fullness will help you arrive at the weight where your body is happiest and healthiest. This is also the weight that will be easiest for you to maintain long term. Remember – losing and regaining weight is more harmful to your body and psyche than staying at a heavier weight.

When learning to respect your fullness and stop eating when satisfied, remember the following:

  • Eliminating distractions can really help you tune into your body’s efforts to communicate when it is satisfied, full or still hungry. If you are reading, talking, watching tv, browsing the internet or daydreaming it will be easy to miss your body’s attempts to tell you it has had enough.
  • Eat slowly. It takes time for your body to register that it is satisfied. Eating slowly will help make sure that you don’t get too full before your body has had the time to register that it’s had enough.
  • If you are really enjoying a food and want to keep eating for the taste even though you recognize you are no longer hungry, remember you can finish it later. Put it aside and check back with yourself an hour later to see if you are hungry again. If so, eat some more. If not, wait until you are hungry. You will enjoy the food even more if you eat it when you are hungry!
  • Fullness and satiety can feel different for everyone. Figure out your body’s unique ways of telling you it is satisfied, full and still hungry. Most of us do not know how to interpret the signals our body sends right way so expect to have to practice for a while. Trial and error will bring you closer to recognizing when you are satisfied than any article or book can.
  • Trust your body to tell you when to stop and when to keep eating – you CAN leave food on your plate and you CAN go back for more. Your mind may try and take over and make rules and restrictions (or justify eating when you’re already satisfied) but only your body knows what it needs in any situation. Dieting has allowed your mind to be in charge for years. It’s time to let the true expert – your body- take charge.
  • Respecting your fullness requires that you also respect your hunger. It is difficult to eat slowly and mindfully when you have let yourself get too hungry.
  • Don’t let all the focus on signals of fullness keep you from enjoying your food. Continue to savor every bite.
  • Remember — Satisfied, not deprived or uncomfortably stuffed, is what you are aiming for.
  • If you happen to miss your body’s signals that it’s satisfied and eat to the point of being uncomfortably full, don’t beat yourself up. Chalk it up to a learning experience and make it a personal challenge to figure out how to keep it from happening the next time.

Respecting your fullness, like respecting your hunger, is respecting yourself!