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Aiming for Fullness (What I Ate Wednesday)

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?

Breakfast:

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. 

what I ate wednesday aiming for fullness

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.”

 

what I ate wednesday aiming for fullness

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? 

Lunch

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. 

what I ate wednesday aiming for fullness

Falafel Wrap

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. 

Snack:

what I ate wednesday aiming for fullness

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. 

Dinner:

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.

what I ate wednesday aiming for fullness

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.  

Snack:

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

Tell me,

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? 

 

 


  

41 COMMENTS

  1. Trish | 18th Jan 17

    Your dinner looks and sounds amazing! Hope your day is fantabulous!
    Trish recently posted…A Day in the LIFE>>>>My Profile

    • Cora | 22nd Jan 17

      It was! Everytime. One of my ultimate favorites.

  2. Susie @ Suzlyfe | 18th Jan 17

    I often eat way past the point of fullness. I am not afraid of the feeling of fullness, but I will admit I do have a bit of trepidation about because I know that it won’t stop me. On the other hand, I totally seek it, and I don’t stop until I find it.
    I think it has so many parallels for our lives as well–why are we afraid of getting the utmost from our lives?
    Susie @ Suzlyfe recently posted…Optimized Performance Through Mobility (Studio Three Review)My Profile

    • Cora | 22nd Jan 17

      Yep. There’s definitely some sort of psychological parallel going on. Are we (those like me) afraid of feeling full and spacious in how we live our lives?
      That’s very interesting about your bit of trepidation. In general I think your mindset is healthiest. We should want to feel full and satisfied. In everything.

  3. Stephanie Leduc | 18th Jan 17

    I think I am usually aiming for a 6 on the scale, I rarely feel any type of discomfort from food during the day. Supper is usually the biggest meal and that is the meal where I am most likely to feel a 7, but even then, I don’t think that for me feeling a 7 is what I aiming for, I like the feeling of being more than a little satisfied without having to unbutton my jeans because that seems to be a tad uncomfortable!
    And I do not care how amazing your salad could have been, there is no way it was better than a FALAFEL WRAP!!!!!
    Stephanie Leduc recently posted…What I Ate Wednesday: How To Up Your Veggie GameMy Profile

    • Cora | 22nd Jan 17

      RIGHT!? Falafel will always win. Its my favorite.

  4. Heather @ Polyglot Jot | 18th Jan 17

    I hate that have to unbutton pants level because it makes me almost feel sick! I eat until I’m not hungry probably around the 6 or 7 scale. Feeling overfull makes me feel terrible!
    Heather @ Polyglot Jot recently posted…Food is Just FoodMy Profile

    • Cora | 22nd Jan 17

      Yeah its a really awful feeling. Luckily it passes, but in the moment it doesn’t feel fun.

  5. Kat | 18th Jan 17

    My issue with fullness lately has been more of I SHOULD be full, so I need to stop eating instead of I’m not really full, maybe I should eat more? I tend to look at the fact that I just ate 30 minutes ago [even though it was a small snack after a 2 hour workout] and convince myself that I shouldn’t be eating again. Instead of taking into consideration the circumstances [workout, what I’ve been doing, what I ate before, my macro total], I keep it as a black and white thing instead of allowing for there to be a grey area. It’s something that Im working on!
    Kat recently posted…Chocolate Zucchini Bundt Cake with Fudge FrostingMy Profile

    • Cora | 22nd Jan 17

      Oooooooh boy. Yep. I very much know this. I’m working on it too – the fact that I sometimes feel hungry again 1 or 2 hours after eating when I “shouldn’t” be hungry yet – and being ok with eating again. I think that also teams up with initially eating enough to actually fill me up. Its a long long learning curve. Let’s live in grey girl!!!

  6. Sarah @ Bucket List Tummy | 18th Jan 17

    I love using the hunger scale with my clients. It’s really eye opening to help us trust our bodies and help us understand that we don’ have to be an 8 after every meal. Personally, I don’t like the feeling of being super stuffed, I prefer to stick around the 5/6 and eat again a few hours later. But like you said, some situations where we won’t have food for quite some time, I think it’s important to plan out a little bit and definitely include protein.
    Sarah @ Bucket List Tummy recently posted…Chickpea Pepper PoppersMy Profile

    • Cora | 22nd Jan 17

      Yes protein is necessary to feel full for any length of time. I think it depends on my day. A full day off I like to graze more so don’t want to feel too full, but busy days like this I need that feeling.

  7. Lyss | 18th Jan 17

    there are times where I am good with just being satisfied, but my mind wants a bit more so I get more. And there are times where I feel too full, which I think is normal! I know for me I can’t dwell on it a lot. Because sometimes we just feel pretty bloated and full and that’s okay! Also your breakfast looks amazing. I need that asap!!
    Lyss recently posted…A Change of Pace this SemesterMy Profile

    • Cora | 22nd Jan 17

      It takes time to get to that space where you can feel okay being really full… but I’m getting there! We must trust that our bodies know what to do when that happens. The zucchini oats are soooo goooood.

  8. Patricia @Sweet and Strong | 18th Jan 17

    After dinner is always the hardest for me, I really don’t like being at an 8 or above, but find my sweet and snack tooth kicking in late at night. I also find it hard to plan for the day. If I know I won’t be able to eat for several hours I might over stuff myself. That falafel wrap looks delicious too!
    Patricia @Sweet and Strong recently posted…[Solidcore] Workout Class ReviewMy Profile

    • Cora | 22nd Jan 17

      SAME. In the evening it becomes more of a “satisfaction” thing. I may be “full,” but for some reason evening+couch time just begs for chocolate or some sort of sweet for me to feel fully “done.” It definitely helps to know our day’s schedule in order to guide how much we should eat to last us.

  9. Emily Swanson | 18th Jan 17

    I totally agree with Kat that sometimes I eat to being what I think is full, but I’m hungry 30 min-1 hour later, but I think I shouldn’t be eating. I’m actually trying to eat to a point of 7-8 on the scale especially in the evening so as not to be really hungry in the morning when I do some morning studying and such… <3 That way I won't be really hangry in the morning, but I'll still eat a good breakfast. I love that you talked about this, because I think eating to fullness (comfortable fullness) is one of the hardest things for someone in recovery.
    Emily Swanson recently posted…Recent Post: January 2017, Huskies, Peanut Butter, and HANGERMy Profile

    • Cora | 22nd Jan 17

      It sounds like you and I are on exactly the same page. Both trying to eat for a higher degree of fullness… especially in the evenings. I wonder why we – or those in recovery – find the feeling of being totally satisfied a hard one?

  10. Miss Polkadot | 18th Jan 17

    That’s a good one and in fact something I’ve been struggling with lately, too. It depends on the situation – i.e. if and when I’ll have the chance to eat again – which number on the fullness scale [though I don’t have this concept in mind] I aim for. Generally, I want to get to the point where I’m satisfied and not thinking about food anymore so I can focus on more important things. So maybe a 7? It definitely doesn’t always work for me.
    Miss Polkadot recently posted…Trusting your future self.My Profile

    • Cora | 22nd Jan 17

      Agreeing with every word you’ve said. It definitely depends on the situation, but I think from now on I want to always aim for at least a complete level of satisfaction so I am not thinking of food anymore. I think in the past I’d shoot for something even below this. And then sometimes, if I know I’ll be going a long time without eating, I want to be okay with that feeling of even a higher degree of fullness.

  11. Joyce @ The Hungry Caterpillar | 18th Jan 17

    Oh, Cora. Feeling full. I hate it. And as someone with IBS, I very frequently get to the feeling of 8–or 9–or, at times in my life, even an extremely uncomfortable 10–after eating a completely reasonable or even quite small portion of food. This is one of the reasons (although not by any means the only reason) I developed an eating disorder. Still today, even though I know I need to eat enough to feel full, I really don’t like to be anywhere above about a 4 on the hunger-fullness scale. Which I know is dangerous and irrational.
    I think it’s awesome that you’re making a conscious effort to eat to a higher threshold of fullness. It seems good psychologically and physically, for those of us who are undereaters, to make a concerted effort to make sure we’re getting enough that we won’t find ourselves distracted and snacky within an hour or two. It especially makes sense for you with your rehearsals–definitely want all your focus on those.
    Joyce @ The Hungry Caterpillar recently posted…Low-FODMAP Green Chili Chicken StewMy Profile

    • Cora | 22nd Jan 17

      Oh gosh. I am definitely aware of your past (hopefully not too present) struggles with fullness. Having IBS presents a wholeeee other set of frustrations and questions. I suppose its a matter of learning a new routine that works for you and your digestion. If you feel you only want to risk eating to a “4” – you’d just need to learn what and how often to eat to still get your nutrition in. I know you’ve done SO much work figuring all of this out, so you know what to do for your body better than anyone!

  12. rachel @ athletic avocado | 18th Jan 17

    I need to be more mindful of fullness as well, especially when it comes to lunch. Usually I don’t eat enough at lunch so it only keeps me full for about an hour and then I have classes until dinner time so I am ravenous by then! I need to figure out what will keep me full haha. BTW those sweet potato nachos look so good 🙂
    rachel @ athletic avocado recently posted…Paleo Chunky Monkey Breakfast BarsMy Profile

    • Cora | 22nd Jan 17

      Yes its something we all need to consciously try and learn and be mindful of. I sure as heck can’t be in class when I’m hungry!!

  13. Kate | 18th Jan 17

    I think your last paragraph alludes to the idea of physical vs emotional fullness- both must be satisfied to really feel “full.” Sometimes I don’t eat a snack after dinner because I don’t think I’m hungry, but then it often results in me not being able to fall asleep because of that nagging hunger feeling. Sometimes I’ll eat a little past fullness if I am afraid I won’t get to eat for a while or if I just really like what I’m eating- haha.
    Also, this day of eats looks fabulous!! I want it ALL. Heck yes for free lunch!

    • Cora | 22nd Jan 17

      There is definitely a huge mental part of being fully “full.” My stomach can feel full but I can’t usually end a meal or go to bed without something sweet. They may put me into a 7 or 8 but then at least I know I’m completely satisfied and don’t need anything else.

  14. Evangeline | 18th Jan 17

    I usually try to shoot for a 6.5 on the hunger scale. It depends on the day though. Sometimes, especially after a hard workout or a busy day, I want that completely satisfied feeling, but other days, that same level of fullness makes me feel guilty. I’m still learning to tap into a foodie intuition that will tell me to eat until I’m satisfied (which means something different daily) and then chill. I think that’s what Em Swanson’s post the other day about mindless eating was getting at.
    Evangeline recently posted…WIAW #18: Bachelorette Party WeekendMy Profile

    • Cora | 22nd Jan 17

      I haven’t read that post of Em’s yet… I’ll have to go back to it. Its a constant learning curve. But I also don’t think its something that we will ever “perfect,” because our bodies will react different every single day. Some days we may get fuller quicker, other days we may be hungry hungry hungry and then after one extra bite feel full. Trying to be mindful and tune in to our bodies AND minds as we eat will obviously be of benefit, but sometimes maybe we just need to dig in.

  15. Ellie Pell | 18th Jan 17

    It really depends on my day and what food is available as to my attitude toward fullness. If I know I will be moving around a lot later, being too full is uncomfortable and causes indigestion. However, if I am starving before a meal, then a fullness of an 8 is perfect. I don’t like it when I am TOTALLY STUFFED mostly because it is painful =P
    Ellie Pell recently posted…Sleep Like an AthleteMy Profile

    • Cora | 22nd Jan 17

      If I’m starving then of course all I want is to feel a complete level of fullness and satisfaction. But if I eat too quickly – and unmindfully – to get there, it can be uncomfortable (but hard to be mindful when hangry!!). Its hard when we know we have to move around (or in your case run!!) and yet want to eat lots to feel satisfied. That’s when learning what foods satisfy us but don’t weight us down come in. I wonder what fullness number you need to be at before your long runs?

  16. chasetheredgrape | 18th Jan 17

    I actually wrote a comment to you yesterday but then my page crashed before I could submit it… Grrrr!
    But I know for me, building up my main meals was key to eating more, especially with protein (mostly meat and eggs – and with meat I switched to more fatty cuts like chicken thighs over breast). I reassessed after very meal, how we did I feel and could I add more next time. I tried to avoid foods like salads that could look big but we’re mostly just greens. I tended to keep adding a bit more and a bit more each week and I could always manage to eat it!
    Mostly I just let it be enough that I was trying. Trying to increase meant it was ok, even if some days I slipped back into old ways. And you girl are trying and trying hard!
    chasetheredgrape recently posted…The BEST thing you can do right now to prep for the CrossFit Open #5TTTMy Profile

    • Cora | 22nd Jan 17

      Thanks, Jen! Its a huge experimental learning curve isn’t it? I think the fact that we get to the place where we WANT to feel that fullness more is a real healthy thing 🙂

  17. Casey the College Celiac | 19th Jan 17

    Girl, I can relate far too much to so many points. It’s ridiculous that we can “worry” about being too full, but I sometimes struggle to know when I should stop eating because, some days, I’m never hungry but I need to eat. Eating when I’m not hungry is a pet peeve of mine…but that’s why I always have some enticing snacks on hand for tempt me! Thanks for shining some light on an issue that I think affects more people than we probably think!
    Casey the College Celiac recently posted…What It’s Like to Live With a Disease Everyone Assumes is FakeMy Profile

    • Cora | 22nd Jan 17

      Having enticing snacks on hand is SO wise my dear!! Good for you!! It is hard. That’s when functional eating just has to come into play. Some times we just aren’t hungry, but if we care for our health, we know that our bodies still need fuel!!

  18. Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets | 19th Jan 17

    I probably fall somewhere between a six and a seven on the scale. I like to be satisfied but not uncomfortable. I have tended to overdo it though, especially when I go low because the nursing. In those cases I tend to cram as much in as fast as possible and then suddenly I’m stuffed and super uncomfortable. For me though, without a disordered past, those things have no meaning. I don’t have any of the guilt or negative feelings like someone with an ED would have. I get it easy. All the food, none of the mental headaches.
    Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets recently posted…WIAW: Ave’s EditionMy Profile

    • Cora | 22nd Jan 17

      It can be hard and frustrating when we are a) hungry and b) have little time because mindfulness just goes right out the window and then we feel blegh after having eaten too quickly. Its uncomfortable, but its human and it does pass. I’ll be where you are soon. I’m getting there 🙂

  19. Kristy from Southern In Law | 19th Jan 17

    All of your meals look so delicious! I don’t know what level of fullness I aim for, however, I know that for a long time I really struggled with the whole eating whilst full thing because it’s so against what everyone tells you.

    When I was first diagnosed with coeliac, my body was SO confused and I was going through these insane withdrawals (from the thing that was killing me… bodies are weird) and my hunger cues were non existent. I always felt full (because I was feeling so sick) and I often felt like I was doing the wrong thing by eating all the time because I was full – even though I really needed to eat. It wasn’t so much guilt though as I just thought that was another reason I was this weird alien creature who couldn’t relate to anyone, haha.

    That really taught me that you’ve got to listen to your own body and find what works for you.
    Kristy from Southern In Law recently posted…Recent Things: Public Service Announcements, Discoveries and AnticsMy Profile

    • Cora | 22nd Jan 17

      Yeeeeeesh. IBS and coeliac are SO HARD! I struggle enough as it is with figuring out hunger cues… I can’t even imagine trying to mentally gauge around all the physical symptoms that are presented to you. It sure takes a lot of learning and a lot of trust in “functional eating” to just know when and what your body needs and EAT even if you don’t feel hungry. Wow. Well done lady.

  20. Kaylee | 27th Jan 17

    Congrats on that flexibility! I totally wish I could eat mindfully, eat until I am satisfied both physically and mentally, and truly listen to my body. But I still don’t think my body & mind are at a place where they can trust one another. 🙁

    I have a similar issue. I get worried that I will be hungry soon so I don’t eat to my proper fullness level and intentionally restrict because of that. Messy brain at it again siiiigh. I have to remember that that is my body. There will be times where I am at a 9 on the scale and times where I am
    Kaylee recently posted…Week in Review: Same Old, Same OldMy Profile

    • Cora | 7th Feb 17

      I’m not entirely sure I’m at that place either… but I think I’m getting there. It takes time, and I still need to hold myself accountable to lots of functional eating and a “plan.”
      We have to remember that even if we feel that 9… our bodies know how to handle it. They are smart and strong and they are made to burn it all up and use it as energy. Energy to keep us happy!

  21. Cindy | 3rd Feb 17

    Your dinner looks INCREDIBLE! Can never go wrong with taco-flavoured anything. I normally go for a feeling 6.5 but it often becomes a 7.5 when I’m distracted and can’t stop eating 😛
    Cindy recently posted…The BeetMy Profile

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