5 Reasons We Eat When We’re Full … and 6 Ways to Stop

Do you ever feel like you can’t stop eating even when you’re full? Do you wonder why you keep eating when you’re not hungry anymore? If so, you’re not alone.

Many people struggle with knowing how to stop eating when they’ve had enough. In today’s PHMP Online Knowledgebase article, we’ll explore some of the reasons why you might overeat and some tips on how to stop eating when you’re full.

What are the signs of fullness?

Fullness is the feeling of satisfaction and comfort that comes from eating enough food to meet your energy and nutrient needs. Fullness signals are sent from your stomach, intestines, hormones, and brain to tell you that you’ve had enough nom-noms and it’s time to stop.

Signals of fullness include:

  • no longer paying as much attention to your food
  • losing interest in the meal
  • physical fullness or distention in your stomach

Another interesting way in which our bodies tell us we’re full is by tweaking how we respond to the taste of food. As a way for your body to drive you to eat and absorb nutrients, it makes the first few bites of food taste incredible. But as its need for sustenance decreases, the flavor of your food goes from blammo to bland.

These signals can be easy to miss or ignore if you’re not paying attention to your body or if you have other factors influencing your eating behavior.

Why do we keep eating when we’re full?

There are many possible reasons why you might keep eating when you’re full. Some of them are:

1 You’re not eating enough throughout the day

If you skip meals, restrict your intake, or eat too little for your needs, you might end up feeling very hungry later on and overeating to compensate. Your body goes into survival mode and wants to eat whatever it can for energy.

2 You’re not eating mindfully

If you eat while distracted by your phone, TV, work, or other things, you might not notice your fullness cues or enjoy your food as much. You might also eat faster than your body can register that it’s full.

3 You’re influenced by external cues

If you see a lot of food around you, smell something delicious, or feel social pressure to eat more, you might eat more than you need or want. You might also follow external rules about when and how much to eat instead of listening to your internal cues.

4 You’re using food to cope with emotions

If you feel bored, stressed, lonely, sad, angry, or any other emotion, you might use food as a way to comfort yourself or distract yourself from the feelings. Food can temporarily improve your mood by releasing hormones and brain chemicals that make you feel good.

5 You have a history of dieting or disordered eating

If you’ve been restricting your food intake for a long time or have an eating disorder, you might have lost touch with your hunger and fullness cues. You might also have a fear of missing out on food or a sense of guilt or shame around eating that makes it hard to stop

How to stop eating when you’re full?

The first step to stop eating when you’re full is to recognize that there is nothing wrong with you. Overeating is a normal and common response to various factors that affect your eating behavior. It doesn’t mean that you lack willpower or self-control. It means that you need to address the underlying causes of your overeating and learn how to reconnect with your body’s signals.

Here are some tips on how to stop eating when you’re full:

1 Start eating when you’re hungry

Don’t wait until you’re starving or follow rigid rules about when and how much to eat. Honour your hunger cues and eat enough food to satisfy your needs throughout the day.

2 Be present while you eat

Turn off distractions and focus on your food. Notice the taste, texture, smell, and appearance of your food and how it makes you feel. Enjoy every bite and appreciate the nourishment it provides.

3 Slow down while you eat

Take small bites and chew well. Put down your utensils between bites and take sips of water. Pause in the middle of eating and check in with yourself. How does the food taste? How does your stomach feel? Are you still hungry or satisfied?

4 Give yourself permission to eat what you want

Don’t label foods as good or bad or restrict yourself from certain foods. Allow yourself to eat what appeals to you and what makes you feel good physically and mentally. This will help reduce cravings and bingeing on forbidden foods.

5 Use coping skills other than food

If you’re feeling emotional, try to identify what’s causing the emotion and find healthy ways to deal with it. You can talk to someone, write in a journal, meditate, exercise, listen to music, or do something else that makes you happy.

6 Seek professional help if needed

If you have a history of dieting or disordered eating or if overeating is affecting your health and well-being, consider reaching out to a registered dietitian, therapist, or doctor who can help you heal your relationship with food and yourself.

  • Connie Kindley
    Posted at 18:22h, 05 June

    The points you wrote are very helpful

  • Melissa Zurcher
    Posted at 20:46h, 03 June

    Wow some great points and the bad habits I have

  • Doris Wilson
    Posted at 17:28h, 03 June

    Thank you!

  • D Johnson
    Posted at 11:39h, 03 June


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