How to Stop Eating When You’re Full: Fullness 101

Having trouble with knowing how to stop eating when you’re full? Let’s have a little chat about fullness 101. First, picture this:

You sit down to eat a wonderful home-cooked dinner on a plate that’s heaping full. You’re so excited to eat it that you barely take a breath between bites. Next thing you know, the entire plate is gone! You feel like you didn’t even take time to enjoy it. Then 30 minutes later, your stomach is in pain and you’re so uncomfortably bloated that you don’t even want to move.

Sound familiar? I hear so many people telling me that they don’t know when to stop eating. It’s all about tapping into your body’s fullness cues.

You might be thinking, “but I don’t feel full until it’s too late.” Well, that might just be a product of ignoring your fullness cues for so long or a product of on and off dieting that put you out of touch with your body’s natural cues.

Regardless, let’s re-find your intuitive fullness cues and learn how to stop eating when you feel satisfied instead of pushing yourself over the edge. Here we go!

Jenn holding a bowl of salad. She is learning how to stop eating when she is full by honouring her fullness cues.

6 Tips to Stop Eating When You’re Full

Start Eating When You’re Hungry

If you feel hungry, that’s the time you should start eating. If you push yourself past your hunger because you believe that you “shouldn’t eat yet” or the diet plan you’re following tells you that you “must have willpower,” then you’re not honouring your true hunger signals.

Once you go past the point of hunger and wait to nourish your body with food, you’re going to lose the ability to feel your true fullness cues once you start eating. Your body goes into a primitive survival mode at that point and will just want you to eat whatever you can for energy. Your body doesn’t know the difference between starvation and restriction.

In order to have the ability to feel fullness cues, you need to also honour your hunger cues.

Be Present While You Eat

Being present is the main concept behind eating mindfully. The best way to enjoy your food and find satisfaction in the eating experience is to pay attention to what you’re eating while you eat it.

Eliminate distractions, forget about your to-do list, put down your phone and just enjoy your food. It might feel strange to do this at first, but trust me, this will help you feel a lot more satisfied.

Slow Down

This goes hand in hand with being present. And I know, simply telling you to “slow down” while you eat sounds super basic and even a little cliche, but it’s true. A lot of the time our days are so busy we’re just rushing to get to the next task instead of taking time out of our day to enjoy our food while we eat.

One way to slow down while eating is to become aware of your senses within the eating experience. Think about your senses while you eat and you’ll find yourself not rushing to finish your meal.

Jenn rearranging vegetables in a bowl. Learn how to stop eating when you're full by saving and repurposing your left overs.

Take a Pause in the Middle of Eating

If you aren’t used to listening to your fullness cues, or you feel like you just can’t seem to find them, this is a good exercise to practice.

Simply just take a pause in the middle of eating. Use this time to take some deep breaths. It’s amazing how the power of breathing allows us to connect to our bodies and feel more in-tune with our internal cues.

Save Your Leftovers

One thing I struggled with while finding a healthy relationship with food was to stop feeling like I needed to clear my plate.

When I was younger, my parents always pushed my sisters and I to finish the food we had on our plates at mealtimes. They totally meant well (what parent doesn’t want their child to eat enough food to nourish their bodies for growth), but this moved me away from my internal cues from a young age.

I now know that I don’t have to finish everything on my plate and have the ability to save my leftovers, even if I’m going out to eat! Leftovers can be really tasty, and they can even be repurposed into something else a lot of the time. Know that you aren’t “wasting” food by not finishing your entire plate in one sitting.

Don’t Rely on Food for Comfort (all the time)

Another reason you may feel like you can’t stop yourself from eating when you’re full could be that you’re using food as an emotional crutch. Now, it is totally okay to find comfort in food and emotionally eating sometimes (we all do it, it’s only human), but using it as your only coping mechanism is where it could get a little out of hand.

Try finding comfort and joy in activities other than eating. To learn more about how to do this, read my post all about emotional eating.

These strategies along with mindful eating will help you to stop eating when you’re full and feel comfortable after eating. If you want to dive into mindful eating a little further and get some actionable steps, check out my free guide to mindful eating (there are lots of goodies in there!)

Leave a comment below and let me know if these tips help you tap into your fullness and bring more satisfaction into your eating experience. I’m rooting for you!

xo, jenn

  1. Haley Bowler-Cooke says:

    This was an amazing blog post!! I love the tip on emotional eating. It’s so important to find joy in all aspects of your life not JUST through food (although food is of course hella pleasureable and should bring you joy!)
    ~Haley BC

    • Jennifer Baswick says:

      Thank you for that! You summed it up really well. Food can be really pleasurable but it’s important that we don’t rely on it as our only source of comfort and joy!

  2. Shriya says:

    These are amazing suggestions! I definitely have gone through this cycle of pushing myself past my hunger cues and eating too much that it hurts. I have also felt the necessity to have extra helpings to avoid leftovers. I know these don’t help me and removing the burden of these rules we set ourselves and instead focus on allowing our body to tell us what it needs is a much better way to live. Thank you for the tips!

    • Jennifer Baswick says:

      Thank you for sharing that Shriya. I too have experienced those things, and it feels so much better honouring your hunger and fullness cues rather than holding off on eating or eating past the point of fullness. I hope you find success in using these tips in your life!


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