How to Recognize Feelings of Fullness to Prevent Overeating

by editor on September 12, 2016

recognize feelings of fullness when dieting

Many of the latest healthful dieting trends are recommending that you eat until you feel satisfied. Starving yourself is no longer the way to go. It just doesn’t seem to work, particularly over the long term. However, being able to recognize feelings of fullness is very important to the success of this technique. Eating until you’re full may seem like an obvious practice, but it’s actually a little more complicated than it may seem.

Our current lifestyles and portion expectations have actually worked against our ability to recognize feelings of fullness. Overeating has become a regular part of our lives. We don’t eat until we’re full. We eat until we’re stuffed. As a whole, we aren’t listening to the signals our bodies are sending us, and we keep eating until we simply can’t have another bite.

In essence, we haven’t practiced being able to recognize feelings of fullness and as a result, we don’t really know how. This makes it easy to confuse the feeling of hunger with a range of other needs and signals in the body. Therefore, we think we aren’t full yet and we just keep eating.

The feeling of hunger is actually something that is quite complex. The stomach works with the rest of the digestive system, the endocrine system and the brain. When the body requires more fuel in order to function, it starts to grumble and ache. That is the actual feeling of hunger. When you eat, it eases this sensation because the body is gaining the fuel it needs.

Just as the sensation of hunger is actually the result of activity in the brain responding to signals in other parts of the body, so is fullness. These sensations are produced by the hypothalamus part of the brain. Once our bodies have had enough fuel, the hypothalamus registers this condition and provides a feeling of fullness – also known as satiety. The stomach begins to feel comfortable, not filled up. You begin to feel energized, calm and alert, not cranky and dragging. Once we learn to recognize how that feels, we can know that it’s time to stop eating.

That said, it’s not a perfect system. It takes about 20 minutes from the time you start eating for the satiety signals to reach the brain. So if you’re wolfing down a ton of food, you might be full long before your brain has the chance to register the situation.

Learn to recognize satiety properly with the following tips:
Eat calmly and slowly. Chew your food thoroughly and pay attention to how it tastes.
Watch for feelings of sluggishness after you had been picking up. It’s a sign of overeating.
Pay attention to signs of discomfort or pressure in your stomach. This can also be an indication that you’ve had too much.
If you think your appetite is simply too large, consider an appetite suppressant like Phenblue.

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