Do you feel like you don’t really know how to feel satisfied by your meals? If your answer is yes, you are in good company. After years of trying diets/restricting food and then inevitably overeating due to being over-hungry, many people have a hard time identifying what foods (and how much food) help us leave a meal comfortably full and energized.
Although, fullness looks a little different for every person and even looks different based on how hungry we are prior to eating, there is a science to feeling full.
Questions to ask yourself before/while eating to leave a meal pleasantly full and satisfied:
- Are you hungry? If you are not physically hungry to begin with, the food will not be able to satisfy you or fill you.
- Is the meal or snack I am eating balanced? To leave a meal feeling more satisfied, choose fruits/vegetables for fluid and fiber (this stretches the stomach), foods with fat (signal satiety through hormone CCK), foods with protein (signal satiety hormones and keep us fuller longer), and foods with carbohydrate (decrease our hunger hormone ghrelin and increased our fullness hormone leptin).
- Ask yourself the 3 T’s. What taste, texture, and temperature food are you in the mood for?
- Are you working, driving, watching TV, or doing _____ while you eat? If we are mindful of the food we are eating, we are much more likely to be able to identify when we have had enough rather than eating on “autopilot”.
Fullness Formula= eating when physically hungry and filling the stomach to point of satisfaction + balancing food groups to regulate hormones/stomach stretch + choosing the food that you want + eating mindfully without distractions.
Like everything, this process of feeling your fullness takes time, experimentation, and detective work. If you cannot identify fullness even using these questions, start asking how long your meals last you before you are hungry again.
What are the ways that you identify fullness?