Intuitive Eating VI: Feel the Full

Contributed By: Amber Sullivan UGA Dietetic Student


- What is Intuitive Eating: Intuitive eating is the art of listening to your body and eating whatever it desires whenever it desires it. Most importantly, intuitive eating is not a diet.

- Principle 1: Reject the Diet Mentality

- Principle 2: Honor Your Hunger

- Principle 3: Make Peace with Food

-Principle 4: Challenge the Food Police

-Principle 5: Discover the Satisfaction Factor


Principle 6: Feel Your Fullness


Another important part of intuitive eating is knowing when your body is telling you that you're full. To do so, you have to learn to trust your body and understand the cues it gives you when you're full. For chronic dieters, learning to listen to their body's hunger cues can be challenging because years of dieting have taught them to ignore their body's signals. This ignoring of signs can manifest as dieters constantly cleaning their plates and never leaving the table until all the food has been cleared. Most chronic dieters are used to cleaning their plate because they know that their plate has fewer calories due to smaller portions or cutting food groups from their diet. Dieters will also eat until there's no food left if they have placed a time constraint on when they are allowed to eat. Due to this, dieters tend to continue to eat even when they are past feeling comfortably full. This clean your plate mentality can also stem from childhood teachings. Many of us grew up with parents who told us to finish all our food because there are children in the world who are starving and wouldn't let us leave the table until our plates were empty. Breaking the habit of making sure your plate is clean and realizing that it's okay to leave food on your plate is one of the first steps to feeling your fullness.

Another part of realizing you're satiated relies on making peace with food (Principle III of Intuitive Eating). Suppose you fear not eating a particular food again. In that case, it's almost impossible to leave the table without making sure that the plate is clean. The only way to rid yourself of this fear is to give yourself permission to eat unconditionally and know that you'll have access to that food whenever you want.

The most challenging part of feeling your fullness for the majority of chronic dieters is actually knowing whether or not they have achieved fullness. To learn how to tell if you are full, it helps to be mindful when you are eating. This means observing you're eating with neutrality. Take breaks or pauses when eating and check-in with yourself to assess how you feel, what your hunger cues are telling you, and if the food you're eating still tastes good. If you are still hungry after taking a break, then still continue to eat. Check-in with yourself after finishing your meal. Make changes for your next meal based on how you're feeling after finishing this meal. Learning to read your hunger cues and determining whether or not you are full can take time.

 Tips for Honoring Your Satiety


  • Try to eat without distraction
  • Learn to say no in social situations if you're not hungry or if you're full
  • Make an effort to stop eating when you are full. Put up your utensils and plate, leave the tables, etc.


Things That Affect Your Satiety


  • The amount of time that has passed since you last ate
  • How much you ate
  • The kinds of food you eat. If you eat a meal that lacks a decent amount of protein, then you may feel hungry again sooner than later because your body's protein needs haven't been met. It's the same with other macronutrients and micronutrients. Balance your meals and snacks so that they include substantial carbs, some protein, and some fat if you want to feel fuller for an extended amount of time
  • Eating with others can affect how much you eat and what you eat, which will affect your hunger and fullness. Also, when in a social setting, people tend to ignore their cues most of the time.
  • Eating low calorie- non-nutrition dense foods will lead to hunger occurring sooner due to your body not getting all it needs


Resources: Tribole, Evelyn, and Elyse Resch. Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Anti-Diet Approach. Fourth Edition ed., St. Martin's Publishing Group, 2020.