How to Stop Eating When Full – Part 2


The day after Christmas, a post on how to stop eating when full seems a bit after the fact perhaps. But the holidays aren’t over, and in truth, it’s a challenge many face throughout the year, so we’re taking this opportunity to follow up to last week’s  Part 1 on the subject.

In that post, we explored what physical fullness might feel like, but once a person is capable of recognizing fullness, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they will stop eating when full.  There are plenty of triggers that encourage people to eat beyond a comfortable feeling of fullness and minimizing these triggers is a smart place to start in managing overeating.

Some common triggers you might struggle with are:

  • mindless/distracted eating
  • taking large portions
  • eating too quickly
  • pairing eating with a specific activity so eventually the activity triggers cravings for food
  • eating with others who need/eat more than we normally do
  • extreme flavors triggering cravings for an opposite flavor
  • constant food exposure
  • emotional eating

If you’ve eliminated some of the above triggers, but the desire to keep eating lingers, even though you are comfortably full, here are a few tips for wrapping up a meal at that point:

  • remind yourself that you’ll eat again, this isn’t your last meal
  • remind yourself that food actually tastes better when you are hungry, so choosing to eat more later will  be more satisfying than just finishing everything now
  • allow yourself to have whatever it is that you want at the next meal, even if it’s a non-traditional food
  • try a closure habit such as a cup of hot tea, coffee, seltzer, mint, gum, piece of chocolate, or brushing your teeth to cleanse the palette of the taste of whatever you were just eating.
  • reward yourself immediately after the meal so you can transition from one rewarding activity to another instead of feeling down about the meal ending, you can be excited for the next activity.

Do any of these ideas sound appealing to you?  If so, which seem like they might be helpful strategies for you?


5 responses to “How to Stop Eating When Full – Part 2”

  1. r says:

    this was such a great post. though i’ve been a recovering/recovered compulsive overeater, i still find the holidays challenging, especially the buffet of foods. my disease tries really hard to take over and it’s a struggle. the constant food exposure of the buffet is what challenges me. going into another room often doesn’t help because i know the food is still there. i feel like my only options are to either leave the event, which is often not fair to my spouse/family as they would have to leave to, or not attend the event at all, which cuts off some socializing for me. i wish there was a happy medium.

  2. Shannon says:

    I like the idea of a closure habit. I am big on sweets and always want dessert but perhaps finding a non-food substitute like an herbal tea might be nice, especially when I’m already full!

  3. Deborah says:

    A couple of the strategies appeal to me:
    – telling yourself you can have WHATEVER you want for the next meal (as I’m loath to stop eating something that tastes good even if I’m about to explode / feel sick. Hopefully planning to have it later – rather than just knowing I can – will help!)
    – moving onto another exciting opportunity (food is SUCH a big thing that I feel deprived if I can’t have as much / all that I want, even if really full, but having something to look forward to – presumably not more food – might work!


  4. Dr Bill Dean says:

    This 2 part series addresses one of the most important aspects of eating, being aware of the process This is often not talked about but crucial for those who struggle with the demands of the senses of taste and smell Some of us are in a way cursed with the desires to feed the senses of taste and smell and this leads to a very strong desire for “just wanting to taste it” At other times it’s just the plain need to continue to desire the taste (and smell) over and over again But the process begins with awareness that this is the issue, that is feed the senses By and by supported with this awareness some degree of temperament can take place Just this realization is a huge step for all of us as overeaters
    Thanks for starting this important discussion point

  5. Robyn Priebe says:

    Thanks for the feedback, everyone. I’m glad some of these tips sound like experiments you are willing to try. I hope you find them to be helpful!

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