Est 4 min read
Do you know when you've had enough?
Do you feel satisfied when you have eaten to a happy level of fullness? Do you find yourself eating beyond fullness on a regular basis?
Often, we are not eating enough during the day. Many times clients say they overeat and then send me a list of what they've eaten and it's not enough nutrients/energy in a day.
It could be a result of primal hunger. Often what's happening is you're getting primally hungry, because you've been either mentally restricting or you're in the habit of not eating during the day because you're in a state of fight or flight, sympathetic arousal, and you are go-go-go and putting everything else above yourself, prioritizing other things. You feel like you can’t stop and eat because your stress level may be really high and suppress your appetite. For example, if you have a job interview, you don’t feel like eating, then after the job interviews is done, you have time to decompress. You're driving home, you're like, oh my gosh, I need a burger, fries, and a large milkshake. I need all the food, right? Because you've come down from it. That can be a contributor to not feeling like enough, because what happens is, when you're primally hungry, your body is actually going to increase your hunger signals and decrease your fullness signals so that you will make up for that deficit in energy demand during the daytime.
The other thing that can sometimes happen is that you may be using food to come down from that fight or flight. The amount of food you need to come down from that isn't necessarily going to be the amount that allows your stomach to feel happily full. You might have to go beyond that to feel like it was enough.
Another thing that can often happen is that you really haven't been in tune with your body and connecting to what actually feels satisfying.
Enjoying a satisfying meal increases your satiety (fullness/satisfaction) signals. Your body kicks on the hormones that tell you that you have that satiety level, and you can feel your fullness signals better.
Have you ever been eating a bag of chips or something, watching a show, and all of a sudden you're rooting around in the bag, and there's nothing left? You didn't even realize that you’d eaten that much right? It was like it didn't even happen. That's the idea of being present and really enjoying your food to kick on that satisfaction or satiety signal. It's not going to be as
strong if you're not actually attuned with what's happening in your body and if you're not focusing and paying attention.
Eating emotionally? If as a child, you didn't get your needs met, or as an adult, you're not getting your needs met, and you are using food to soothe or to disconnect from those feelings of deprivation and other areas of your life, food can help you feel less of that pain. But it's not going to actually bring you to a place of feeling content or satisfied. Because the underlying need is actually not being met. So if you're…
…and you are using food to appeal to that connection and nurturance, it's going to be a temporary band-aid for that, but it's not going to actually help you feel cared for; at least not in that way that human connection would feel satisfying and fulfilling. Using food can be a tool and it's a survival strategy. There's nothing bad or wrong about it. But it's not going to get you the outcome that you want. You're not going to feel deep satisfaction with food if you actually need human connection/support/fun…
Another piece to consider…do you feel like YOU’RE enough? If you don't feel like you're good enough and you don't believe that in your bones, then it's going to be really difficult to feel content in your relationship with food. You have to heal that wound/trauma within yourself from the systems of oppression, your family, and your community that has told you that you're not good enough because you'll likely use food to try to feel that connection or soothing from that pain. Additionally, if you don't feel good enough, and you use food to soothe as a survival strategy, you're going to then have shame about it. That's going to add to that feeling of not enough. You have to break that cycle and heal that underlying belief in your bones that you aren't enough as you are.
You absolutely are enough as you are!
Your value and your worth is inherent, constant, and non-negotiable. I wrote a poem about this exact thing. I will include it below.
Download your free hunger scale now!
The first step to healing your relationship with food is reconnecting with the signals your body gives you. One of the ways to do that is by checking in with your hunger before you eat. Here's my spin on the traditional hunger scale..