How to Feel Satisfied: The Fullness Formula


plate modelTodays post is a guest post by Janet Zimmerman, RD and Green Mountain at Fox Run Nutrition Intern

  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?

8 responses to “How to Feel Satisfied: The Fullness Formula”

  1. bowesc says:

    I have no sense of hunger ever. If I am busy I can forget to eat for a full day. I will sometimes get a headache or feel wobbly because I have not eaten, I do get cravings and I do binge sometimes. I have been on a regular diet of timed meals for years at a time and I have never felt hungery if a meal was missed

  2. Harriet Krivit says:

    Once again (re:bowesc,and thank you)how individual this disorder is. I can’t imagine to “forget to eat for a full day”. Very clear..out of my home I’m aware of all of the above and stay quite conscious and managing what wonderful food choices and how much etc. no matter who or what is around. A great feeling. At home…the total opposite…”best laid plans” etc. After grazing on a whole variety of non-restricted, as always, some point I’m uncomfortably full and the previously powerful drive goes away, disappears.

  3. Robyn Priebe says:

    Thanks for the comments. I do find people can get very good at ignoring hunger. I also find that if you establish a pattern of meal skipping (especially those earlier in the day) the body may not send out clear hunger signals. Bowesc, maybe you could work with an alarm on your phone or pop-up reminder on your computer to help you remember to take breaks to eat. Over time you won’t need these once your body is used to eating at regular times, it will remind you.

  4. Rhods says:

    Why do I not feel satisfied after eating? my husband can eat a meal and not eat the rest of the day. I have always had the feeling of never being satisfied after eating even when I eat a large meal.

    • Harriet Krivit says:

      Thank you Rhods…me, too. Tell any other addicted behavior person to “do it” 3 times a day or more. Oh well, just very relieved the DSM Psych. Dr.’s book finally includes binge eating as an eating disorder. And, I don’t deprive myself of any food I desire. But, that fullness thing…the very act of eating food..and letting go of being in that place. That’s the kicker for me. At times I’ve had what I call remissions but it comes back. I have tremendous compassion for myself and all who struggle with this “disorder”…been life-long for me but I never give up trying.

  5. Tom Kent says:

    For people who are suffering from eating disorder, this will really help. Even for me, as a basketball player. I sometimes feel that I am not in the mood to eat. 🙂 But now, i know how to deal with it. Thanks for this article. 🙂 Good job robyn priebe!

  6. Mary Pavlovsky says:

    I feel like the people on 600 pound life. There is no cure for my addiction, and I’ve tried everything. So far the best success I’ve found is just fasting between binges. Down 72 pounds, it’s not ideal…a part time job really…but it keeps me out of Lane Bryant. Please anyone, any ideas on how to become “normal?” I would give my live savings for a cure.

    • Lesley Wayler, MSW says:

      Hi Mary, my heart feels for you! While I have never existed in a fat body, I understand the pain you’ve been going through. Reach out to me via email at or by phone/text at (619) 719-1882. I would love to chat more with you one-on-one! Lesley Wayler

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