This week in our series on Intuitive Eating, we will discuss Principle 5 – Feel Your Fullness. This principle encourages one to pay attention throughout the eating experience. Taking note of how the food tastes and makes you feel. This involves listening to your body to determine your current fullness level and stopping when you feel full/satiated.
So how do we feel our fullness? First, it is important to recognize your hunger and fullness cues. I like to think of this as a hunger/fullness scale rating from 1 to 10. As previously discussed in the blog, Intuitive Eating: Honor Your Hunger, we will use the same hunger/fullness scale to discuss feeling your fullness.
As discussed from the previous post, honor your hunger, a rating of 1 indicates feeling starving, shaky, irritable, etc., to 10 indicating feeling overstuffed and sick, and a rating of 5 being neutral, thus content. It is important to stay towards neutrality throughout the day meaning, when you have the first feelings of hunger, such as a rating of 4, you begin seeking out food so when you get to the point of being ready to eat, such as a rating of 3, you can honor your hunger and eat. By allowing yourself to eat when you become hungry, rather than waiting until you feel starving, rating of 1 to 2, you are able to eat an appropriate portion of food that your body needs. Often, when individuals wait until the point of starvation or feeling “hangry”, we eat large amounts of food very quickly leading us to feel overly full or sick, a rating between 8 to 10.
So what does feeling your fullness have to do with intuitive eating? Feeling your fullness means allowing yourself to be comfortably full and satiated. Often individuals struggle to stop eating a meal, typically a meal one really enjoys, resulting in uncomfortable fullness, even to the point of feeling sick, and negative self-feelings. Often, over-indulging and/or binge eating can lead to foods being categorized as “off-limits”. However, restricting certain foods is unsustainable, thus resulting in the endless cycle of restricting, binge eating, and compensating. You can practice feeling your fullness by checking in with yourself throughout the meal and rating your hunger/fullness. Sometimes, we can feel full, but continue to want to eat. During this time, I would encourage you to set a timer for 10-20 minutes, distract yourself from the food, and afterward, revisit the thought of it you actually want more food or if you are in fact comfortably full. In doing so, you can learn to honor your body, mind, and spirit.
1TRIBOLE, E. V. E. L. Y. N., & Resch, E. (2020). Intuitive Eating: a revolutionary program that works. S.l.: ST MARTINS ESSENTIALS.