Fullness Is Physical.
One of the deepest hurts can be a loss of trust in self. Despair happens when one has lost hope in the ability to know when their body has had enough to eat. Therapy focused around healing the relationship with food includes learning the body’s signals for satisfaction and fullness. Understanding this sense of the body can also improve confidence in body image and increase self-esteem.
Our bodies instinctively possess this knowledge! We are born with the survival drive to seek out food and to know when we have been adequately fueled. The next time you are around a baby, take notice of how they innately know when they need to eat, and how they simply stop when finished. Somehow, we lose that inner knowledge. Diet culture plays a large role in this, and other cultural norms. A common example is insisting children finish their plate, even if they say they’re full. Eating according to what time it is (it’s noon, therefore I must eat lunch) literally teaches us to ignore our body’s signals for hunger and satiety!
Struggles with eating can lead to confusion on whether or not a person feels hungry. One of the most common questions asked in therapy for over-eating patterns is understanding when to eat (and when to stop). For this article, we will focus on fullness.
Eating patterns that become problematic are typically spurred by triggers which can lead to a tumultuous relationship with food. Triggers to eating can be environmental, loneliness, substance use, physical pain, or even boredom. The next step is understanding when to stop eating once your body feels full. Knowing this will alleviate physical discomfort due to over-eating and ultimately feelings of disgust or shame.
4 WAYS TO NOTICE FULLNESS:
Our bodies will naturally send a signal when it’s had enough to eat. Take the time to notice if you are pausing when you eat, or taking a break. Sometimes this looks like putting your fork down, scooting your chair back, or pushing your plate away from you. When this happens, use this as body info to know that you may be satisfied.
Loss of Flavor.
Food may become less interesting as your body becomes satiated. Notice how the first few bites are SO delicious. This changes as our bodies take in the meal. Food will literally lose its flavor when it’s time to stop eating. Eating at a slower pace can help you gain insight into this subtle change.
It’s important to check in on a hunger and fullness scale. This will help determine if your body has had enough, or if it needs more fuel. When the meal is halfway gone, take a break. Use this opportunity to check-in with yourself. Inhale several times, and tune in with your body. If others are around, engage in conversation and soak in their company. If you are alone, notice your surroundings and find peace in your new-found body awareness.
“Head” Hunger happens when there is a reach for food, even if your body does not physically feel hungry. The reach for food during fullness may mean that your body is thirsty, or it could be due to triggers. Doing the Check-In mentioned above can help determine whether the reach for food is driven by hunger or by a trigger. If it is due to Head Hunger, dig deeper to find alternatives to eating to achieve peace of mind, calm, or safety.
If you or a loved one is in need of support, Low Country Counseling offers specialized therapy for Individuals, Moms, Couples, Families, Children, and Teens. Contact us for any questions you need answered or to schedule an appointment. Help is available. You are not alone!
Hope Starts HERE.