Aiming for fullness.
That is not something I’ve had on the agenda in the last number of years.
Throughout my eating disorder I’ve been very against the feeling of being full. I’ve believed that feeling full automatically meant I would not be hungry for my next meal. And eating when I’m not hungry has been – and still is – a big challenge. I’ve had zero trust, even with the experiences proving me otherwise, that my body would actually work OFF the fullness and, low and be hold, eventually be hungry again. What a crazy concept, huh?
This was about 2/3 of my zucchini chocolate baked oats recipe. It comes out pretty large so I scooped out what I thought would be enough. But when I was done, even though I may have felt satisfied, I felt like I could eat more. So I ate the last 1/3 (unpictured here) with a little more peanut butter. Then I felt full. But not in pain or uncomfortable.
Zucchini Chocolate Baked Oats / Peanut Butter / Blueberries
Now of course, there is a hunger/fullness scale and there is a difference between feeling “satisfied,” feeling “full” and feeling “over full.”
Taken from Kylie’s blog
I don’t think any of us like that feeling of being a 9 or 10 – feeling SO full that we are pained and cringe at even the thought of food.
But how many of you like the feeling of being an 8? It seems I know plenty of people who love that feeling of being totally, happily stuffed. Contented with having just enjoyed a big, full meal. That’s why so many people love all you can eat sushi... no?
I had packed a great salad for lunch – filled with quinoa and goat cheese and avocado – but then my colleagues and I were surprised with a massive drop off of catered wraps. I thought of still having my packed lunch, but I just knew that a salad (even with protein and fats) would not leave me feeling full. And I actually wanted to feel full. A falafel wrap not only sounded delicious but I knew it would leave me feeling much more satisfied. Both physically and mentally.
And then there is the ‘6’ on the scale – the feeling of being satisfied, but without any added sensation in the stomach.
In the past, it seems that this is where I’ve always tried to land myself. A level of satisfaction where I am no longer “hungry” but feel I can go another howeversomany hours without eating. Any discomfort in the belly would equate to feelings of having gone “too far.”
But is being just “satisfied” ACTUALLY being satisfied?! Its nice to have made the hunger pangs go away, but without that bit of discomfort in the stomach, I’m always left asking myself if I want more. Its a tricky and fine line to always pressure yourself to find.
Apple (recycled pic)
I am not one of those people who enjoy the feeling of being at an ‘8’ level of fullness. At least yet. That feeling of being stuffed still elicits guilt and worry. I just have trouble remembering that even when you feel full, your body WILL be able to use it and you WILL feel hungry again. Probably sooner than you may even expect.
BUT. I think I have now moved my comfort zone up from a ‘6’ on the scale, to a ‘7’ – that feeling of fullness where you are both satisfied and have some discomfort in your stomach. Recently, this new feeling seems to be where I’ve been shooting for on a more constant basis. It still causes some initial worry, but it’s nice to feel that certainty that you do not need any more food. And I’m getting better at trusting that the little feeling of discomfort will pass.
Protein works pretty well for fullness and satisfaction. Meat, especially… at least for me. The combo of roasted sweet potato, taco spiced ground beef and melted cheese is one of my favorites. Like real quick sweet potato nachos. Mmmmmm.
Roasted sweet potato / ground beef in tomato sauce and taco seasoning / steamed spinach, broccoli and spiraled zucchini
Having a busy schedule where you are only allotted certain times to eat should require you to eat to this natural point of fullness.
So does having to be so engaged mentally in some activity – like writing an exam or leading a presentation – that you cannot risk having your mind wander off to food.
Before bed is one time where I am always extra conscious of feeling full. I know that I will not sleep as well if there is even a slight question of whether or not I am still hungry. So I often have my after dinner snack and still find myself grabbing an apple or pear right before going to bed. However, I often feel like I have trouble reading my hunger levels and end up eating too much, which then elicits guilt. On this night, I had a bowl of rice chips. When I was done I couldn’t quite tell if I was still hungry or not, but I went back and had a second bowl. Then I felt quite full, which did cause quite a bit of guilt. So I’m still learning how to gage my hunger levels, but also continuing to try and not feel guilty when I feel like I’ve eaten past my comfort zone of a “6.”
Sour cream & onion rice chips x 2
This is what rehearsing is teaching me. My rehearsals are so important and I need to be so 100% focused that I do not for one moment want to have my thoughts floating off to food (which I know it does when I am hungry).
So I have been much more conscious about eating past just “satisfaction.” Not overstuffing myself, but to feel full enough that I know I will not think about food for another 3 ish hours. And this requires feeling that little bit of discomfort. But that little feeling will go away and – surprise surprise – pretty darn fast. That’s what our bodies do. They take the energy we give it and use it. And when our minds are focused on other things – our passions, our friends, and the things that make us happy – that feeling of fullness will be gone before we even know it and we’ll be ready for our next meal again. We just need to trust our bodies.
Thank you to the WIAW crew for helping me share my eats from Monday
What level of fullness do you tend to aim for??
Do you like the feeling of being TOTALLY full??
Are you good at knowing when to stop in order to reach that “ideal” level of fullness?
Is there a number on the scale that elicits guilt?
On Tuesday I shared a guest post about Intuitive Eating with IBS. What…