“Do you feel full? No? Eat more then.”
Well-meaning parents always want their children to be full and satisfied after a meal. The hosts of a party like to make sure that their guests leave without space in their bellies for even a single round of after-party drinks.
But, is feeling full really the right indicator for us to stop eating? Maybe not.
Our body is one big “if this, then that” system. It’s constantly seeking a relatively stable equilibrium.
If your body is feeling too cold, then it’ll shiver to raise its core temperature. If your body is feeling too warm, then it’ll do the reverse, perspire, to lower the temperature. It’s our bodies’ natural way to respond and adapt to different stimuli and situations in order to survive.
What about feeling hungry and feeling full?
If went too long without food, then feel hungry.
If had too much food, then feel full.
Hunger and thirst are necessary for our survival. Just imagine what would happen if our bodies didn’t give us signals to let us know that we haven’t eaten or drank in a while — there would be no workaholics left in the world, because they’d all have died of thirst or hunger!
So you can imagine how important hunger and thirst are for our survival, which is why we’ve been programmed to respond ASAP whenever hunger strikes. Feeling full, on the other hand, is not so vital for our survival. Eating has become such a luxury and past-time that many of us have basically decided to ignore the appropriate action to take when feeling full.
Feel full? Great! Now here’s your dessert.
If you’re used to eating only when you’re totally starving, and drinking only when you’re thirsty, perhaps it’s time for a change. Instead, try eating and drinking to prevent hunger and thirst in the first place.
Having regular meals and a consistent eating routine can be very helpful, especially if you’re trying to lose weight. Feeling hungry before a meal drastically increases the likelihood of overeating. Having consistent eating habits ensures that the body stays well-fed and in balance at all times.
Secondly, you shouldn’t be eating to the point where you can’t eat anymore. It may feel satisfying, but remember, feeling “full” (like, to-the-brim full) is your body’s way of telling you you had WAY too much food.
Rate your hunger level from 1 to 10 both BEFORE a meal and immediately after a meal. 1 being “soooo hungry” and 10 being “soooo full”.
If you’re constantly starting your meal feeling like a 1 or 2 (soooo hungry) or ending your meal at a 9 or 10 (soooo full), then it’ll be a good idea to make some adjustments to your eating habits. ESPECIALLY if you’re attempting to lose weight.
Instead, aim to schedule and portion your meals so that you start eating at the slightest hint of hunger (3 or 4) and stop eating just before you “feel full” (7 or 8).
Your body and waistline will thank you for that!