We all know the feeling: that full tummy/can't move feeling after a big meal, a snack we didn't need, or the last bite of a giant piece of chocolate cake. The food tasted so good going down, but left us feeling oh so full (and usually also bloated, tired, and miserable). Psychologically, we have a tendency to eat until we're "full", thinking that fullness is a good indicator that we've had enough. Unfortunately, we generally eat pretty quickly, so by the time our hunger hormones actually reach our brain with the signal that we're "full", we've continued to eat beyond the point of satiety, over-stuffing ourselves into that miserable feeling.
We do want to feel perfectly full after a meal, it's true. So what if we shifted the focus from filling our tummies with a certain quantity of food to filling up on nutrients and feeling full of energy? This is quite different from our normal weighed-down full feeling. If we aim to fill up on nutrients, by eating a variety of colorful, nutrient dense foods, we can experience a new sensation when we're "full", one of lightness, strength, vibrancy. We know that the bowl of bread and the giant piece of chocolate cake are not filling us up with nutrients, but a "big-ass salad" (to quote the phrase so awesomely used by Primal Diet creator Mark Sisson), maybe with mixed greens or kale, seasonal veggies, lemon, olive oil and vinegar, topped with a piece of wild caught fish, will leave us feeling full of what our body truly craves, the nutrients it runs on.
Not only can we switch our experience from feeling full of food to feeling full of nutrients, we can also remember that meal times are a perfect opportunity to fill up on human connection. A proper meal, seated at a table with friends or family, phones out of site, conversations and laughter taking center stage, is a perfect way to fill our hearts with a feeling of social connection and well-being. And we can never have too much of that!
I invite you to re-invent "feeling full" for yourself . Fill up on colors, nutrients, fuel, friendship, and connection. Then notice how that sits in your physical body. I'm just guessing, but it probably won't send you into that Thanksgiving-style food coma that lasts for days. Ideally, good food and good mealtime habits will leave us feeling light and energized, and will contribute to our overall health and wellness. Cheers!