The Shanty

The Shanty
where I grew up

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Knowing When To Stop

In the past I’ve only considered two categories of fullness:

Full and Stuffed.

The first I thought was alright…I mean the whole point of eating is to fulfill a hunger so you should feel full right? And then if you go too far you become stuffed which is bad. It leaves you feeling gross and bloated and it’s just not good to overeat. Well, I have learned of a new category—satisfied.

I always equaled satisfied with being full but they really are two different feelings. Most everyone’s body does certain things when it gets hungry to alert the individual that “Hey! It’s time to eat!” but when do those feelings and sounds subside? When you take your first bite? Probably not. Or maybe for a second but then seconds later you will still feel hungry. So when does your body actually stop telling you it’s hungry? Whenever that point is, that is when you become satisfied, at least internally. I know that some people need to be visually satisfied when they eat and they might not achieve this at the first sign of hunger pains diminishing. My point here today however is to talk about becoming internally satisfied.

How do most people determine when to stop eating? Do you fill your plate and clean it with your tongue? Do you portion out your meals according to some guideline you know of? Or maybe you overload your plate and eat until you’re full, getting rid of the rest? I am guilty of all three methods. I was taught, as many were, to eat everything on your plate. To not do so is being rude. And sometimes pre-portioning is too little and other times it’s too much! Ahhhh! What to do?!?


This concept sounds easy and obvious to be quite honest. However, the reasons listed above about learning to recognize satisfaction over fullness and then doing it is not easy at all. This stems back to childhood. As kids someone else fixed our plates for us. We couldn’t be the judge of when we’d had enough to eat. Kids’ brains are not advanced enough to truly decipher what is best. And since we are conditioned to eat this certain way as kids, often it spills over into adulthood causing overeating problems.

Learning to eat healthy is one thing but almost as equally important, I believe, is learning to eat until satisfied NOT until full or stuffed. There are a couple approaches of I’m trying to learn. They are outlined below:

  1. Learn that it’s okay not to finish what’s on your plate. Foods can always be saved, even small amounts. And if you don’t want to save something small, throw it away! Throwing it away is much better than stuffing it in your face just to not be wasteful.
  2. Eat SLOWLY. Enjoy the foods you taste and really concentrate on what signals your body is sending you. This is hard especially when something tastes really good or when you have a time constraint but it is possible.
  3. When your body is telling you it’s not hungry anymore STOP. Even if this means you become hungry again in 30 minutes. If that happens, eat again in 30 minutes! It will take some practice to learn how much to eat at one given time to stay satisfied for around 2 hours or so. And until you reach this point, eat as often as your body tells you to. It WILL become less frustrating and inconvenient with time.
  4. Enjoy how you feel! You’re stomach will feel light yet satisfied. It really is a great feeling.

There are definitely times when this methodology is more conducive than others. I work at an office where I can have food on my desk at all times if I wish. A lot of people do not have that luxury. That is why it’s important to learn how much should be eaten to stay satisfied for around 2 hours until you can maybe take a break and eat again. I don’t know. There are always excuses of why people can’t or won’t do things. But I feel if becoming healthy is something that is really important to you, as it has become to me recently, then you can and will find a way to achieve your goals including eating until you’re satisfied, no more, no less.

This ties in with my blog from yesterday because I believe that if I keep my focus on being healthy, including this concept, transformation of my body in a positive way will take place. But either way, the great feeling of only being satisfied as opposed to full or stuffed is totally worth it to me…and hopefully you too :)


  1. in a body composition class i took, we learned about this. our prof was talking about eating till you're 'satisfied', the only problem is what you said, a lot of people, not sure if it's just people growing up in lower economic situation are taught 'to finish their entire plate'. what he suggested and one of the few things i agree with the catholic religion is to not eat till you're full or stuffed (that's a sin to them), but to eat like jebus, until you're no longer hungry.
    the problem is that it takes your body, stomach, and brain about 10-15 minutes to get on the same page, to realize that you're no longer hungry. he suggested, eat a regular, not too small, not giant portion, clean that plate, and wait about 15 minutes for 'seconds'. if you wait that long, it should give your brain enough time to receive feedback signals that you're 'satisfied', if you're not, serve yourself a little more.
    longest comment ever!

  2. it also depends on what you eat. your body needs a certain ammount of nutrients and it will strive to get those. eating high quality, nutrient dense foods is important in not overeating and also not consuming too many calories. make sure you are eating good quality fats (butter, coconut oil, olive oil...)your brain needs these to function and your body needs them to feel satisfied. leave out the sugars and empty carbs! i have learned that i just have to completely avoid my downfalls (white rice esp) cuz it's impossible for me to just eat a little. and it's amazing how much better i feel and how much less bloated i get. makes it worth it! a book i really like is "eat fat lose fat" by sally fallon and mary enig, also "fourfold path to healing" by thomas cowan. saw the post of your blog when you posted it and tried to write a comment on my phone but it wouldn"t work. was just writing to a friend about some nutritional stuff and remembered it :) btw, every time i see pictures of you on facebook you do look amazingly happy and above all that really is the most important thing! :)