Does your body talk to you? Another Diet Thread

I’m on a weight upswing, and can’t stop it, but I’d like to avoid discussing all the things you do to lose weight, and try and stay on this topic:

When you eat, does your body tell you when you are done?
I’m convinced that there are signals, and I’m plowing right through them and eating until some other goal is reached.(stuffed, happy, satiated, etc)

Will my body tell me when I’m done eating? What are those signals?
Being not-hungry?
Sirens in my ear?


I just trust the serving size. I portion out the amount I know I’m supposed to eat, and then eat it. The amount I eat does fill me up, but for some reason it always takes a few minutes to register. Since that’s the case, I’ve had to depend on myself to know when to say when.

I’ve been doing Weight Watcher’s for about 6 months now and that’s been one of the hardest things to learn. What’s worked for me has been making sure I just have a reasonable portion of the food and then waiting a while before I decide to eat any more. I have satiety signals, they just work more slowly that some people’s seem to.

Also, there are particular foods that I can eat ridiculous amounts of before I feel full–mainly chips and fast food and such that I shouldn’t be eating anyway. I pretty much have to avoid them entirely right now.

Well, through dieting (and presumably ignoring hunger), you can certainly lose touch with your hunger signals. That makes it difficult to know when you are eating out of physical hunger or emotional hunger. You didn’t say whether or not you were a dieter, so for the purposes of this post, I’ll assume you have a history of dieting. If you have never known what hunger felt like, then it might be more complex and need to be addressed by a doctor.

Digestive issues, if you have them, can make it even worse. Now, I can’t tell you how you feel hunger, but it is physical. Sometimes, it’s a nagging feeling in the gut. You may be irritable or feel weak. Myself, I define the time to stop eating in a few ways. Lack of the hungry feeling, disinterest in the food (maybe I’ve slacked off from shoveling it into my face), or it could also be a more logical decision based on, say, “If I eat more, the heat will make me feel sick.”

If you are terrified (which you didn’t say you were) of gaining weight, it will be difficult, if not impossible for you to get in touch with your hunger signals. Because if you are coming off of dieting, you do need to let your body do some of the directing and not let your psyche interfere. And sometimes, you need to guess, but fine-tuning does come.

I would recommend that you start thinking about this with the book “Intuitive Eating” by Evelyn Tribole & Elyse Resch. This book does address intuitive eating from the perspective of coming off a dieting history, so it may not be for you.

Good luck! I will be interested to hear what others have to say in regard to the signals, especially those who have always been able to feel hunger/satiety.

My bod doesn’t tell me when it’s full, either. Why should it? Then I’d stop eating the delicious, delicious food. I overeat partly because whatever I’m eating is sooo, sooo tasty, and partly because I like the feeling of being full and sated. Unfortuately, I usually don’t reach that state until I’ve had more calories than I need.

I’ve had some success with limiting portions. At home, I take about half of what I think I want. I can always go back if I’m still hungry. Sometimes I don’t feel the need for more—but sometimes I do. I try to ask myself whether I’m truly hungry or just bored or tired or stressed. If I’m really hungry, I can go back for another portion, and don’t feel guilty. If I decide that it’s “emotional hunger,” then I have some dessert, like some cut-up fresh fruit with yogurt, or a square of really really dark chocolate. Mmmmm. Much more satisfying, and not as many calories as another plateful of food.

I’m also tracking my consumption on, which is a good motivator. I do it right as I eat. So I think to myself, Hmmm, I could get another serving, which will be another 300 calories, or I can wait a bit and see if I can do without.

At restaurants, it’s tricker. I either order something that has a low calorie density (soup and/or salad, for example) or I go ahead and order a big entree but save half for lunch tomorrow. Then as soon as the food arrives, I actually divide everything in half on my plate before I start eating. I’ve also heard it recommended that you just ask the server to bring a box for the leftovers as soon as your meal arrives so you’re not as tempted by the extra food.

And it goes without saying, never ever ever sit down with a bag of chips or a box of crackers. Take a reasonable portion in a bowl and put the bag away. It’s okay to go back for another bowl. Its very easy to lose track of how much you are eating when you’re just having handfuls from the bag.

In my experience. Even when your body does tell you it’s full, that only occurs when you have eaten more than necessary to maintain body weight. You should leave every meal knowing you could have eaten more, still feeling hungry. If you are still feeling hungry half an hour after a meal, consider having a small healthy snack then.

Often I could eat twice as much at a meal, but if I don’t I don’t feel hungry half hour after the meal. When eating I go into a mode where I could eat a huge amount, but if I don’t my body doesn’t complain after I have stopped eating and moved onto doing other things.

I find that since I’ve been carefully watching my daily calories (I eat when I’m hungry throughout the day until I hit the number of calories I burn in a day, then I just stop), the feelings of having eaten too much are far more noticeable when I do overeat. It’s really hard to notice a signal that just says “stop” right when I hit the magic number. I kind of do have to go over to get something noticeable. But if you get to the point where you can notice the “too much” signal, then you will realize that eating the “just right” amount and stopping yourself before you get to too much (like the last two posters explained) just makes you feel better, and then you seek that feeling out.

YMMV. I just wrote in first person because it’s easy. Good luck.

Why can’t I just have the sirens that alert me to when I’m done? Argh,
Thanks for a lot of great tips there. I agree that I should leave the table still a bit hungry, it’s just trying to find that time. It’s like leaving a blackjack table while still up. If I stay, I’m just going to eat more. hmm, eating, gambling, many addictive qualities in both.
Slowing down is also something that I never learned. So studying my body while eating never happened.
Another thing I was looking for was chagne in body temperature. I know a process happens there, but not sure if it is noticable while eating.
And then there’s my biggest issue. That last bite is really delicious. Not the last bite like “You always find things the last place you look”, but the finishing off the meal is sooo satisfying. That’s my biggest mental hurdle.
Thanks again, for some helpful comments.

You need to eat smaller meals then. You’ll still get the same satisfaction of having finished it all, but you’ll eat less.

For me, eating slowly is key. It’s easy to overeat if you don’t let your body catch up with what’s happening. I eat until I am no longer hungry, but not feeling stuffed.

No “full” signals for me, but through dieting, I have gotten in touch with my “empty” signals.

It’s actually kind of interesting, because I can deal pretty well with real hunger, though I never had to before.

For me, it’s a general feeling of fullness.
Of course, there’s another part of my body that screams “who cares - want more” and that usually wins.

(For me, it’s not the problem of being able to tell whether or not I’m full, it’s eating anyway)

Still, I’ve found that the more slowly I eat, the clearer that the “full” feeling is. If I’m paying attention to the food (and not just shoving it in), I can clearly know when it’s time to stop.