Intuitive eating-respect your fullness

I’m excited to get more into intuitive eating! This goes right along with the challenge this week, so I hope it helps!

In the book Intuitive Eating, it says to “Feel your fullness.” I love how they explain it, so I will quote it.

“Listen for the body signals that tell you you are no longer hungry. Observe signs that show you’re comfortably full. Pause in the middle of eating and ask yourself how the food tastes, and what your current fullness level is.”

I encourage you to think about that deeply, and let that influence your next decision that has to do with food…and the next, and the next.

What I like is that this is not a stressful rule.

There is no chance of ‘harm’ coming to your body (such as hunger). No denial. No self-control and will power. Just self-awareness.

So why not try it?
  • Pay attention to the slow transition of your empty stomach, to you slightly full stomach. Just become aware.
  • Honestly decide that you can and will eat again when you next get hungry. That way, you can relax and truly respond with trust to the signals your bodies give you. Why would I stop eating if I knew I might not get another meal for 5 hours? I would want to ‘stock up.’


There was a stray cat on our farm a few months ago. I felt bad for it, so I would leave food out once in awhile. I have to say, sometimes the food I left was super old and should have been thrown away. Still, when I would come back, the bowl was completely licked clean. Spotless.

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Now think of a house cat. How often do you see their bowls licked clean? Not very often. These cats know they will always have food available to them. So what’s the rush? They respect their fullness. What’s your mentality? Stray cat or house cat?

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For me-

When I respect my fullness, I find that I naturally eat less, and it doesn’t ever feel like I am restricting myself, or ‘dieting.’

Isn’t that how it’s supposed to be?

I avoid the gross, stuffed, debilitating full feeling that results from over eating. I finish and I can still move around gingerly and get on with my day. I use food the way it’s supposed to be used—for energy.

Try it out! Let me know how it goes!

Oh and hey- come back later today, I will be posting my favorite homemade granola bars!

Sources: Funny cat, prissy cat

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Have you heard this theory before? What has your experience been in trying it out?

Any reason why it sounds unappealing?

19 thoughts on “Intuitive eating-respect your fullness

  1. Hooray for a discussion about intuitive eating!! I love the cat analogy – it explains the deprivation/overrating cycle so well! Another important thing to remember is if you do overeat at times or eat past a comfortable fullness level, to NOT BEAT YOURSELF UP. This happens to everyone occasionally! It’s not always possible to be perfectly in tune, and in some situations (like a celebration or vacation) we may WANT to try new foods and eat past our fullness level. Remember that by doing this you are still training your body to know that food is available and you are not depriving it. This is still a step in the right direction to understanding your body’s signals! Great post, Kirtley 🙂 thank you for sharing!

  2. oooooh I love this post. You always explain things so well. Now that you say so, I feel like a ‘stray’ cat sometimes–when I wait too long to eat. You have mentioned before to not let yourself get hungry, and I see how these two relate. I think I’ll try to be more aware about that. Thanks!

  3. It’s interesting how you use the word, “respect.”
    I’ve never really thought about ‘respecting’ my hunger, but I guess that makes sense. People say to respect your body and take care of it-so respecting hunger is a way of breaking that down. Wonderful point.

  4. Thank you for this post!! After reading it and the way you put it with the house cat or stray cat made me realize I am not paying attention to my fullness, and that I would be a stray cat! I get so busy at work that I get hungry and so I just eat so fast, and I lick it clean, that than I am so full and ready for a nap when I am only half way threw my day! Need to pay more attention! Thank you!

  5. I try to balance the thought of food as fuel – with food is something to enjoy….. If food is fuel alone…then any thing would be ok to eat. I think there is also the issue that there are great foods, great preparations of food that are to be enjoyed as well. I currently live in a very rural area and when I travel finding that food to enjoy is part of what I like about traveling. I could have more great preparation of food and great food if I was a cook or was interested in being more of a chef…but I’m not. I like other skilled talented people to make my great food! Part of my work is to find the balance between these two issues for me. I am planing more carefully when I travel about what I eat and how much of the really great food – so food remains a fuel! I like these thoughts on intuitive eating -and learning to listen to myself better – I can enjoy these experiences with food as a work traveler and not overindulge.

    • Love what you said Sherrill!
      I like how you described food as fuel and enjoyment.
      I agree–the way I balance that is just listening to my body. I love how you’re planning ahead on trips. Keep it up!!

  6. I love this! It’s a great perspective to keep in mind! Whenever I exercise or go on a long run, my mind tells my body that it “deserves” bigger portions or fattier foods, even though that’s not necessarily what my body wants or needs. This defeats part of the reason for running! By listening to my body better like you suggested, I’ll definitely be able to lose that stubborn weight that just does not want to leave.
    Thanks so much Kirtley, you’re amazing!

    • You’re so awesome Aubrey! You’re right–a lot of people who exercise feel they deserve to reward themselves. That’s why many people who are trying to lose weight don’t end up losing. It’s a strange mentality that’s hard to notice! Good luck! Super proud of you!

  7. I agree with you. We all need to listen to our bodies. However, I do know that emotional eating takes over especially in stressful times or when lack of sleep is in play. So many times in my life I have over indulged even though I knew I was full because it was a stress relief.

    • So true! I wrote a post awhile ago about emotional eating. I’ve tried to help my clients pick a physical activity and train that to become their new automatic response to stress. I’ve seen huge success with it. The other part with emotional stress is just learning to face the emotion. Sounds tough, but it works well as you get used to it. Thanks so much for sharing your experience Megan!

  8. Pingback: Challenge #6: Watch your portion sizes | The Gist of Fit

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