This week we are continuing our overview of the 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating. Last week we dug deeper into Principles 1-4:
- Reject the diet mentality
- Honor your hunger
- Make peace with food
- Challenge the food police
- Today’s topic: Respect your fullness
Most of us know what it feels like to be at a 10 on the fullness scale. This is that feeling after you have overeaten and are miserable. This isn’t what I mean when I say eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full. The goal is to stop when you are comfortably, pleasantly full. You should feel better after you’re done eating than before you started – after all you were actually hungry when you started eating, right?
Fullness is experienced due to multiple factors. With the presence of food in our stomach, our brain recognizes when it’s getting full (similar to a balloon when it starts to stretch). Food in the stomach stimulates the digestive process and the body starts secreting enzymes and hormones involved in digestion and energy balance. The influx of these chemicals tells the brain that we are eating and will need to stop soon when we are no longer hungry. And finally the absorption of the nutrients and energy (calories) from the food sends a signal to the brain that the body has been nourished, which the brain registers as fullness. Pretty cool stuff.
Because of the biology of how our brain perceives fullness, we often migrate a little higher on the fullness scale about 10-20 minutes after we stop eating. Landing at just the right spot for satisfaction will take practice. Sometimes you might undereat and wish you had more, and sometimes you might overeat and feel uncomfortable. Be gentle with yourself. Your body can handle it. Over time your instincts will truly become intuitive.
Tomorrow we’ll discover the difference between fullness and satisfaction.