“How do I know when I’m full?” // “How do I stop when I’m full?”
Two reasons people struggle with knowing when they’re full and stopping at that point: (1) They don’t know how what “normal fullness” feels like and (2) they’re confused by how long food should hold them over (or how long they want their food to hold them over). <– Yep! You have a choice :).
I get these questions all the time from my readers and clients, so we’re addressing them in a full post today.
Get to know yourself. Are you more of a live to eat person? Or an eat to live person? Do you like to eat every 2-3 hours? Or do you like your food to last you from meal to meal? Look at your schedule, look at how often you “wish you could” eat, etc…
If you’re a live to eat person who likes to eat every 2-3 hours, then you’ll want to give yourself room to be hungry every 2-3 hours. This means that you’ll likely do best eating until that “just satisfied” point. It won’t be often that you really feel too hungry or too full. You’ll mostly want to stay in the middle, feeling just right most of the time. You’ll want to keep a snack with you in your bag, so you can honor your hunger right when it hits.
If you’re a eat to live person, who prefers to just eat three meals a day, and not deal with snacking (unless your hunger surprises you), then you’ll want to eat slightly fuller meals. You’ll be reaching for that spot of “normal fullness” where your stomach feels full, but not stuffed. You feel comfortable, like you enjoyed a solid meal that will hold you until your next meal, and you’ll feel pretty satiated. You’ll get back to whatever you’re doing, and will likely not think about food much in between meals. Several times throughout the day you’ll feel hungry for a meal. Your stomach may growl, since it’s been a while since your last meal. You might even feel slightly nauseated, but this is okay because you know you’ll be getting a meal soon. You don’t really fear the hunger, even if it’s a little uncomfortable.
What would I recommend? Again, this depends on your day to day and eating preferences… For the most part, those who are just starting to move away from dieting and into intuitive eating need to feel “safe” before they can go long periods of time without food. With that in mind…
If you’re just now deciding to ditch diets, I would recommend eating just enough so that your hunger will return every 2-3 hours (sometimes it will return sooner). This is so that you can begin to develop a TRUSTING relationship with your hunger. You’ll know that it always shows up, and that you can eat anytime it does show up. The longer you can experience this, the more comfortable you’ll get with waiting a little bit longer to eat. In Finally Free, we teach our girls to start here. We’ll be talking about this in our 28-Day Pleasure Plan as well (a jumpstart to eating intuitively and increasing your energy!), which starts Sunday. So invest in yourself and jump in with us — part of having more pleasure in life is being willing to make these investments in yourself! You can read the info and purchase the plan here.
Note: this can take years. Don’t expect yourself to completely trust your body within a few weeks. Just let the process flow. You’re on this journey for a lifetime, now. Listening to your body in a beautiful gift that will continue to unfold it’s benefits right in front of you.
If you’ve been eating intuitively for a while, and you’re not afraid to feel a little hunger, then I would recommend allowing yourself to eat the three meals, *IF* this feels good for your body. Why would I recommend three meals? Is it better for your body? Answer: I don’t know. You ultimately are the best person to determine what is best for YOUR body. And I also feel that when we have three meals a day, we have more room (time) in our day for other things. Like, enjoying the pleasures of life. That being said, if your day is full of tedious, mundane, or stressful things… you might not feel like you’d look forward to this… Perhaps food is one of your greatest pleasures right now? Let’s change this. It doesn’t have to be this way. Again, I would love to have anyone reading this join all of us girls in the 28-Day Pleasure Plan. This is a quick, jumpstart into intuitive eating and we’ll definitely be upping that pleasure in each of our lives. You won’t want to miss it. You can see more info and sign-up here.
So, to wrap it up: Get to know yourself. Do you identify more with “I totally live to eat,” or “Nah, I think I eat to live”? Do you *prefer* to eat every 2-3 hours? Or do you *prefer* your food to last you from meal to meal?
Once you learn this, you’ll know the amount that is right for you in each meal. And instead of thinking things like:
“I should eat less.”
“I should only eat half.”
You’ll begin to have reasons for how much you eat… The reasons might sound like one of the following:
“I want to stop here, because I know if I do then I’ll be hungry in two hours and can enjoy the rest.”
“I want to get comfortable full (not stuffed) so that this meal will hold me over until dinner.”
And to clarify once more, normally fullness feels like you’ve enjoyed a solid meal. You can “sigh” and be thankful for that meal, but you’re still comfortable. You’re not overly stuffed. You’re right around “just right.”
Last question to answer, because I know some of you are wondering: What happens if I’m the second one (eat to live, three meals per day) and I randomly get hungry in between my meal? Did I mess up because I ate a full meal AND am hungry for a snack?
Nope! You didn’t mess up at all. In fact, when you notice your hunger, this is your body working. She’s used up all of the food you previously ate and is now asking for more.
I hope this post was helpful for you, girls. If you have any questions feel free to send an email or comment on this post.