One of my clients asked me today if I used to eat past fullness often. After nearly falling off my chair, I said “Um, yes!”. The truth is that I used to eat past fullness often. In fact, back in those days, being overly full eating past fullness(like stuffed sausage full) was an every day occurrence.

  • It didn’t matter to me that I was physically uncomfortable from eating so much.
  • It didn’t matter that my clothes were pinching my waste and causing me genuine pain and discomfort.
  • It didn’t matter that I knew how crappy I would feel if I continued.
  • All that mattered was that I had food left on my plate and that meant that I had a “right” to eat it.

Yep, I had a serious case of Clean Plate Syndrome for sure!

Learning to honor our fullness takes time and practice. And, guess what, even when you’re practicing intuitive eating, there will still be times when you will eat past fullness. That’s expected and not something that you need to worry about. While it’s difficult to give you a percentage or an exact number of times per week, I would say that if you’re eating past fullness more than a few days a week, I’d start paying closer attention.

When I say pay closer attention I’m suggesting you consider the following:

  • Are you waiting too long before you eat causing you to feel overly hungry when you do eatwhich may be causing you to scarf down your food?
  • Are you eating foods that you’d previously restricted? If so, that very often leads to overeating once you’ve allowed yourself those food(s) again.
  • Could you be eating past fullness because it’s a habit and experiencing less fullness makes you feel uncomfortable?
  • Do you also struggle with Clean Plate Syndrome and have a hard time leaving food on your plate because of all the starving kids in _____________?
  • Are you eating past fullness because it makes you feel safe and secure?

Keep in mind that if you’re new to intuitive eating you will often (if not always) eat past fullness. This is expected because you’ve likely been depriving yourself of food. Once you give yourself “unconditional permission to eat” many people go to town and stuff themselves for a while. Not everyone does this, but many do. I know that I did. It usually wears off and before you know it, you’re eating without conditions but to fullness which is ideal.

The other piece that people often forget is that just because we have unconditional permission to eat, not all foods will agree with our bodies. Part of this intuitive eating process is learning what foods feel good in your body and which foods don’t. So, especially in the beginning, treat this like an experiment. Explore different foods without judgment and be aware of how they make you feel after you eat them. Some questions to consider:

  • Do you feel nourished after you eat them?
  • Do they cause any digestive issues (bloating, gas, etc.)
  • Do you feel weighed down and/or sluggish?
  • Did you feel satiated after eating?
  • Does the food make you feel anxious or change your mood in any way?

As I’ve often said, intuitive eating is more than just a “hunger/fullness” diet. It’s about tuning in to our bodies so we’ll know what foods make us feel our best. That may or may not include eating all foods, but the only way to find out is to first give yourself permission to try them all without all the previous restrictions/rules/guilt.

Do you feel that you’re eating past fullness more often than you’d like or are comfortable with? 

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