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Reconnect To Your Hunger Cues!

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There are two primary barriers that often keep people from being able to master ending a meal at the right fullness level. These are:

  1. eating while distracted

  2. the ingrained behavior of forcing yourself to finish what’s on your plate.

Distracted Eating

Research shows distracted eating not only causes you to eat more during the current meal, but it can impact your food intake to an even greater extent in future meals. Distracted eating can cause you to overeat because you cannot fully sense your fullness signals and because your enjoyment of the food is diminished while you are not fully present during the meal. So, even if you are full and satisfied, you might not realize it due to the distraction.

Distracted eating can include texting, talking on the phone, scrolling social media, driving, checking email, making a to-do list, watching TV, making meals for others, working, and other activities.

Distracted eating may occur regularly during some meals and not others. Or it may occur at almost all meals.

Clean Plate Club

Many of us were taught during childhood to “clean our plates” during meals and we may still carry that message with us today. In addition to these childhood rules, some people have experienced food shortages or deprivation, making it an uncomfortable experience to leave food on their plate. Having external stopping points, like your plate being clear, can disconnect you from your internal fullness signals.

Do any of these clean plate habits apply to you (and if you comfortable, please share in the comments)?

🍇I grew up in a large family and meals were competitive. If I didn’t eat, as much as I could, and quickly, I lost out.

🍇I grew up with a sense of food scarcity. I didn’t always know when I would eat again, so I ate as much as I could, when food is available.

🍇When I sit down to eat, I’m extremely hungry, so I eat fast and usually until I’m stuffed.

🍇Finishing all the food on my plate was a value I was raised with. It was considered wasteful to throw food out. I often wasn’t allowed to leave the table or have dessert until I cleaned my plate.

🍇I feel guilty if I don’t eat all my food. When I’m in a restaurant attend eat all of my food so I can get my money’s worth.

🍇You eat very fast and finish eating before everyone else at the table.

Many people struggle with throwing away uneaten food. However, it’s no less wasteful to eat the food than it is to throw it away. Instead of putting it in the trash or storing it in a leftover container, it will be stored as excess in your body. Excepting a small amount of food waste is going to be part of learning to honor your internal cues.

Optional exercise

Practice leaving one or two bites of food on your plate. This will feel very uncomfortable for those in the clean plate club. The purpose of this activity is to get comfortable with that discomfort and work towards creating the pause needed to assess your actual fullness levels. Share your experience with this in the comments.

Nancy Ritt
17 abr 2023

Yep - I'm a member of the clean plate club. I really have a hard time leaving food on my plate so I am trying to take smaller portions then determine if I really need to go back for seconds of anything.

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Listening to your internal cues will help you shift from ext...


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