What if I never feel full anymore?
Ever just keep on eating and eating because your body isn't shouting at you and telling you that it's full? Believe me, I've been there too!
I have to share something with you. One of the most common questions I get in my inbox is this:
"What if I just can't stop eating? I never feel full, and I think I could just keep piling the food in."
There are many factors that could lead to us eating and eating without feeling full:
- lack of desire to listen to your body
- stress and emotional eating
- years and years of ignoring hunger and satiation signals
Often, this all turns into those signals just not working the way they're supposed to. This is a real issue and a major cause for why we're having trouble stopping when we're full.
I used to be one of those people too. My signals just didn't work because I had ignored them for so long. I ignored the hunger ones, so my body stopped telling me anything. And at times I ignored the satisfied/full ones, so they stopped telling me too.
If you struggle with not being able to stop eating, it's very possible that you've ignored these physical sensations one too many times that they just don't work anymore. You probably aren’t sure how to even feel full anymore.
In a sense, maybe your body has said, “You know what, if she isn’t going to listen to the signals that I am full, I am just not going to tell her anymore, and she can fend for herself.” It has stopped sending you messages because you have stopped responding correctly.
So today, I really want to talk about how we can get you back to LISTENING to those signals and on the path to eating when, and only when, your body truly needs to eat.
KEY POINTS TO LISTENING TO YOUR BODY:
1. Eat Without Distraction: No TV, computer, smart phone, e-reader, etc. Just you and your food. I know these days, it's all about finding the time to get everything done in less time, so we're often eating at our desks to work through lunch, or trying to fit in a tv show while eating dinner, or catching up on the latest facebook drama while snacking. Sounds pretty harmless, right?
Unfortunately, for someone who is trying to work on eating the right amount of food, distracted eating can be detrimental. You won't be able to hear those physical signals your body is trying to tell you over all the chaos your mind is going through by processing tv, work, social media or whatever else you've got it working on.
It's just impossible for your hunger signals to be heard through everything else that's coming at you from every direction. I still struggle with putting my phone down and just focusing on eating the food, but I know that when I do take the time to eat... and JUST EAT... my body thanks me for actually allowing the signals to be heard.
2. Eat Slowly: This is another super important one. It takes your body a whole TWENTY MINUTES to realize it's full. So if you eat a ton of food super fast, your body isn't going to be able to tell you before you are way past the satisfied point.
So this is what I do. I take a bite, place my fork down, chew it completely, and take a drink of water. And repeat.
Every few bites I stop to mentally ask myself, "Are you really still hungry?" Often, my first thought is, "DUH, I'm still hungry, there's food on my plate still!" So then I ask again. "No REALLY. Are you SURE you're still hungry?" Listen carefully. Does your stomach still feel hollow? Is it still growling at you? Do you feel like you could stop and be okay with that decision?
Take your time with this. Learn to recognize your SATISFIED feeling, not your FULL feeling. You'll only get to hear it if you eat slow.
It takes your body a whole TWENTY MINUTES to realize it's full!
3. Eat The Foods You WANT To Eat: This is another big one. If you don't like kale, then don't eat it. Because if you try to feed yourself foods that you don't really like, what's gonna eventually happen? You'll snap.
That's right - the time will come when you're sick of eating all the foods you think you're supposed to be eating and then go crazy and eat all the foods that you actually wanted in the first place! If you would've just chosen what you wanted in the first place, eating slowly and without distraction, you would've been in a much better situation all around.
[Tweet "Do you know how to listen to your body so you don't eat too much? Find out how!"]
I hope this will help you learn to pay more attention to your body and it's physical needs. Remember that it's often a mind game. Once your mind is more in sync with your body and it's needs, life tends to become a bit easier.
Only on day two and this article is helping me immensely. After I finish eating I also sit for a while and “feel” the fullness feeling. Can’t thank you enough for the steps. Gloria
You are so welcome Gloria!
🙂 The HFHL Team
At home I never really had an appetite. Working out constantly, coffee addiction and nicotine addiction. I am now in Kenya and I will be here for a month. The first few days of being here I was eating normal meals. And not much. I would go to bed hungry. As I ate more and more regularly I started getting more and more hungry. I would wake up starving which at home never use to happen. And if it did I would ignore it but here my hunger is so intense I can’t help but eat all the time. Sometimes I will finish a meal and think back of everything I just devoured and I am shocked. I am very annoyed with all of my food struggles, it’s like I’m either eating nothing or everything. I want a normal and healthy relationship with food. I think my body has been told for so long that I’m not hungry or that I can’t eat that that it is finally like fuck you I want to eat everything and I’m gonna do it all the time.
This article was not helpful to me at all . For years I have been eating a healthy diet mostly a whole food plant-based diet with no processed food. I was miserable. Now once I’ve eaten I have a pie or a pint of ice cream or a huge amount of something unhealthy then I feel full and I stop but that’s the only time . I’ve gained weight and I’m miserable because of it so eating what do you like to eat is not the way. I think it’s better to eat foods that you’re not happy eating but they don’t put on weight with them and maybe that’s what I have to do to go back to feeling good about the way I look. There’s nothing enjoyable about eating vegetables and rice and beans the blue you all the time but it At least you stay thin . I think there’s something else going on that some people don’t feel so tidy so that’s why I didn’t find this article helpful .
I’m not a very big person but I know I could be skinnier and more fit. I play 3 sports so I’m always running but I don’t realize that I’m full when I eat until I look at my food and I’m like “whoa how could I still be hungry”. This has been going on for a while. I usually eat lunch, come home and eat again around 3 or 4 then eat dinner around 6 or 7. And I’m like woah I just ate why am I hungry again. And it’s made me really self-conscious lately so I think I’m going to try this.
Emerald Kat says
I'm curious if anyone has encountered what I'm experiencing. I had my daughter more than 16 years ago. But from the time she was born (I noticed this about 2 months after) I cannot seem to feel full like I did before. I was really skinny before my pregnancy, and even lost weight during the first 5 1/2 months (mostly due to the fact that I had horrific morning sickness 24/7 throughout the entire pregnancy). Consequently, I only gained a total of 18lbs during the whole thing. She was born very healthy, but all my weight was baby, amniotic fluid and weight in my breasts. I lost most of my gained weight immediately (literally right when she was born).
Despite all the awful symptoms of my pregnancy, I really loved the experience and did have a minor bout with postpartum depression. I had thought at the time that the whole thing was causing my not feeling full anymore, but now years later, I still feel the same.
I don't know if any of that plays into this, but I just cannot find anyone who seems to know what I'm referring to. The best way I can describe it is that while I do get some signal that I'm full when I would expect to, it certainly isn't profound in anyway, and it isn't lasting anymore. Within 5 minutes of finishing a meal where I feel like I should, I suddenly get the urge that I need more. I often feel like I'm starving myself throughout the day because of this. I really have to watch what I eat now, as it is really easy to overeat this way (although I'm not obese or anything at this point, but it is a very real fear I have now). I am generally happy though and don't feel like I eat for any emotional reason or anything like that... It's more like my body sends me a signal that I've eaten my fill at dinner, and then by the time I get all the dishes to the sink, I feel like I need a snack. Someone suggested I may have a hormone deficiency causing this, but I've also been told there are few tests for it. I'm in my 30s now, but something just feels wrong.
Honestly, i was thinking about this today and my theory for myself comes down to one thing...... WATER! I seriously dont drink any water.. Water is my favorite drink. Actually ice water is my favorite drink, the colder the better... i havent drank soda in 15 years and dont drink sugary drinks or anything carbonated (it burns my throat and i hate it) but I never properly hydrate my body. On average for the past year i drink probably one 16 oz bottle of water a day even 1 bottle every 2 days! I know thats so not healthy or smart but i only drink when im thirsty and because my job is like a desk job(im an artist) and i dont have kids, live alone i dont get thirsty much but maybe because the lack of water in my body, when i eat i never feel full.. I dont keep eating until im full because i know its not normal to eat an entire large pizza in one sitting by yourself... But i know if i let myself i could, no problem. I usually eat 4 or 5 pieces and force myself to stop(which is never satisfying then all i have is thoughts of the rest of the pizza haunting my mind all night) tho i know most would only have 2-3 pieces and feel full.. My theory is because the lack of water or fluids in my body i never feel full so i want to over eat to compensate for the lack of fluids... I feel like if I drank the proper amount of water a day my tummy would be more full so when I eat I eat less. Im going to try and drink a half gallon of water a day or more but at least half a gallon and see if that improves my appetite and makes me eat less and feel full. I will come back in 2 weeks and let you know how it works....
Molly Watkins says
Same with me been months I think its because I just don't eat I skip meals like eat breakfast then nothing until later at night I feel hungry all day I just don't want to eat. It gets to the Point im so hungry i get sick and still Skip a meal i dont Know what to Do im starving it feels Like
Bethany Vega says
I'm a stress/emotional eater. I have a lot more on my plate, pun intended, than most. I am the mother of a disabled adult son, & my husband's health is declining. I've been on disability for over 15 years myself as well. As we are getting older, it's getting more and more difficult to deal with our son's issues. I have always turned to food in crisis, & thus I became morbidly obese. I had a gastric sleeve just over a year ago & have lost 100 lbs. but I'm falling back into old habits. I'm eating too fast again & mindlessly doing so. This is excellent information for anyone who "never feels full!"
Connie D says
My issue is different from all of yours. I have never had a problem feeling full in my life. About 3 or 4 days ago, I was hungry when I woke up and have been hungry every minute of the day. It is that annoying stomach growl you get when you are truly hungry. And I am eating twice what I normally eat in a day. I have even eaten so much that I have to throw up, but I still feel hungry. The doctor thought there was something wrong with my Thryoid but all tests came back normal. The look of food makes me feel ill. I hope this goes away the same way it came on. Because I feel miserable.
This is very helpful thank u so much
I don't know what's going on w/ me. Over the past few weeks I haven't felt full at all no matter how much I eat and I've been eating so much. I think I've gained about 3-5 lbs. Help?
Hola! I've been reading your site for a long time now and
finally got the courage to go ahead and give you
a shout out from Lubbock Texas! Just wanted to tell you keep up the excellent
Holly Waterfall says
Thank you so much!
Tom @ Waegook Tom says
Now this is definitely food for thought. My diet has been atrocious over the past few months - constantly working, not much time to eat and when I do eat, it's a LOT and not great stuff. I can devour a pizza or box of chicken no problem without my tummy even grumbling.
Nice tip with the 80% rule. I'm fed up with my eating habits now and am craving fruit and vegetables by the bucket load - although I think I'll need to train my body again so that it knows when I'm full because right now, that only happens if I eat until I burst.
Thanks for the comment Tom! You're right on when you say you've just been too busy to keep healthy eating habits. I know how easily life can just get in the way, but maybe a question to ask yourself, "how important is my health and my eating habits to me?" Maybe we should learn to make the necessary time to plan out some healthy meals.
That is great that you're craving fruits and veggies though! Maybe as soon as you get your produce home from the store, get them all washed and prepared. Maybe even divide them out into portion sizes so you aren't over-eating. Yes, I Know it takes extra time, but it's just a one time thing each time you buy your produce. Get it done and you'll be set for the week!