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Intuitive Eating Principle 6: Feel Your Fullness


Just as we learn to honor our body by feeding it when it is hungry, we need to learn to honor our body by respecting the feeling of being full.


Being pleasantly, comfortably full should feel good! Ending a meal when you are still hungry doesn’t feel good, and ending a meal when you are uncomfortably full feels...uncomfortable! Try to think back to a time when you ended a meal feeling pleasantly full and satisfied with what you ate. This is the feeling we are aiming for when finishing most of our meals.


It can be helpful to pause halfway through eating a meal or snack to ask yourself if the food still tastes good, if you are feeling satisfied, if you are ready to be done eating.


But before you are able to really listen to your body’s fullness cues, it’s important to make sure that you have been working on your relationship with food and have stopped dieting. If you think that pausing halfway through means that you have to be done eating, it can quickly become another diet. When we trust that food will always be there, we don’t have anxiety about stopping eating before all the food is gone.


A key component in listening to our fullness cues is trusting that we can always have more food if we truly want it.


It can be very easy to miss the subtle fullness signals our body sends us if we are distracted. Especially at the beginning, try to have more awareness around what you are eating at meals and snacks so you can learn to identify the ways your body lets you know that you are done eating.


Our fullness levels can vary day to day and meal to meal. A meal that fills us up one day may not be enough the next day. So many factors can affect how full we feel when eating, including:

  • How long it has been since we last ate

  • Whether we are eating alone or in a group

  • What types of foods we choose (i/e nutrient dense foods such as nuts or very voluminous, low calorie foods such as iceberg lettuce that fill us up but don’t satisfy)

  • How active we were during the day or even the day before!

Check in with your fullness levels several times through a meal or snack to see if you are ready to be done eating. It may take a little time to get the hang of this, especially if you have been a long time member of the “clean-your-plate club.” But over time you will gain trust in your body’s ability to self regulate!


Are you interested in learning more about how the Intuitive Eating approach can help you reach your health goals? Reach out to us and set up a consultation with one of our Registered Dietitians today, or click this link to sign up for our 6-week online Intuitive Eating Program!


Author: Becca Sprague, MS, RD, LD