Episode 75 - Feeling Your Fullness - Part 2
This episode will take some of the mystery out of feeling your fullness and why the feeling fullness increases after you have eaten. But before I get to that, I explore concepts such as feelings about food waste, your habit of finishing food, and how to get out of this habit using various methods, including "2 bites left behind," "the speed-bump method," and learning to notice THE SIGH.
In the discussion about the physical mechanics of why you feel so full 20 minutes after you have eating, I give you ways to slow yourself down so that your brain catches up with your stomach.
Returning to the workbook, Resch and Tribole give you seven factors that influence fullness, discussing things such as air foods and food that have staying power.
This weeks actionable coaching advice is taken directly from the workbook and is called, "The Last-Bite Threshold Experiment."
Episode #: 75. Feel Your Fullness, Part 2
You’re Listening to the Keto and Low Carb Success podcast, Episode #75, Feel Your Fullness, Part 2.
Did you know that you don't have to spend money on a diet program or weigh, measure and track your food? What if you could learn to have success by following an easy roadmap that takes you on adventures from learning how to change your mindset so that you can believe in yourself, to learning about what foods work best in your body and why? Join me, Miriam Hatoum, health coach, course creator and author of Conquer Cravings with Keto, as I give you actionable coaching advice that is sure to empower you so that you will finally find peace with food and learn to trust your body’s signals. You’ve got this, girl!
Be sure to go to miriamhatoum.com/resources to get all the free guides to help you along the way. I am in your shoes, my friends, and I wrote these guides for both of us. The link is in the show notes and transcripts.
Oh, and before we start, I want to let you know that the primary purpose of this podcast and the course is to educate and does not constitute medical advice or service, and I’m keeping up with the science as fast as I can so I can share with you the latest breaking research in this area to help you achieve your dreams!
I want to continue this week talking more about your fullness cues. Except if you only eat according to external cues, such as the clock or in response to emotions, you probably know when you are hungry – at least some of the time. But very few of us recognize fullness until you are uncomfortably full. This fullness seems like a sudden onset, but your body probably has been sending out blasts of warning signals, but you have not been paying attention. It might hit you as a mystery as to how you could feel so full, and if you are that uncomfortable while you are eating, just wait 15 or 20 minutes!
This episode will take some of the mystery out of feeling your fullness and why the feeling fullness increases after you have eaten. But before that, I want to talk about what feelings you may have around wasting food, because unless you examine yourself and become willing to let some of the food go, you will have an even harder time of recognizing and developing your fullness cue.
I am absolutely certain that many of you will object to throwing food out, especially if you have grown up with a situation where food was scarce. First of all, if you leave food behind that you have paid for, or are throwing food out at home, please keep in mind that we might be talking pennies per serving.
I have read in so many groups how someone just can’t bear to leave food behind, but this willingness to do so is crucial to your success in getting in touch with your fullness cues. The problem is not when you can wrap something up and have it for another meal or a snack. The problem arises when you must leave food behind, like at a restaurant or someone else’s house. The problem arises in the two bites left behind exercise that I talked about last week.
If you can’t walk away from food because of your habit of finishing everything that is something else. It’s when you are so distraught by leaving food because it seems wasteful, that you need to address.
You will not be putting that money, which might be pennies, back in your pocket, nor will you be helping starving children on the other side of the world by not cleaning your plate and leaving food behind.
Instead, think about what you are wasting in your life by eating extra food. You are wasting precious time and experiences in your life by wishing you would lose weight instead of living your life to its fullest.
Similar to leaving two bites behind in an effort to stop the habit of cleaning your plate, I have introduced the speed bump method in my course and to my clients. This is a forced pause in your eating. You can best accomplish this by a few different methods:
1. First, just serve yourself less, preferably half of what you would normally put on your plate. For instance, if you have made a sandwich, just put half on your plate to start with. If you usually take a couple of pieces of chicken at dinner, just serve yourself half as much. If you are in your own home, it is easy to do this by leaving a plate with the other half of your meal in the kitchen. You can always get up and take the rest. Serving yourself on a smaller dish helps a lot with this.
Please know that I am not asking you to do this from a dieting goal. I am asking you to do this with the goal of pausing your eating so that you can take a moment to home in on how you are feeling. Have you had enough? Do you have room for more? Do you want to leave room for dessert? Where are you on the hunger scale? If your fullness has started to emerge where you are at about a 6, you will be at a 6 or 7 in about 15 minutes.
I have gotten to the point where I know to just serve myself less. If I used to have two eggs with half an avocado, now I take one egg with a quarter of an avocado. If I made 3 hamburgers out of a pound of meat, now I make 4. If I would automatically put two chicken thighs on my plate, now I put one. With doing this, I don’t even have to bother with the speed bump because I know what it takes to satisfy me.
I still use the sigh method. Not everyone experiences THE SIGH. But, let me explain it just in case you do, but never noticed it. Next time you eat, preferably in a non-distracted manner like I talked about last week, notice if you reach a point in your meal – probably more than halfway through – where you just sigh. That’s it! That’s what I’m talking about.
You may also experience a point where you start to move food around on your plate looking for the best bite. Or you might start thinking of something else (especially if you set yourself up with a non-distracted eating environment). Or maybe you are eating with someone, and you have both been busy eating but now you look up and want to start a conversation. Or the food might not taste as delicious as it did as when you started eating. You won’t notice any of this if you are distracted, but once you really start experiencing and noticing the sigh, you will notice it even if you are with other people.
It is so important for you to feel this emerging fullness, because you will be miserable unless you learn to stop before you are uncomfortable.
Why are we beyond full 20 minutes later?
"The extensive web of nerve endings lining your gut plays an important role in controlling how much you eat by monitoring the contents of the stomach and intestine and then sending signals back to the brain that boost or lower your appetite. Most scientists believe this feedback involves hormone-sensitive nerve endings in the gut that track the nutrients you consume and calculate when you’ve had enough, but no one has yet tracked down the exact type of neurons that convey these signals to the brain."
The article that fully explains this is in the show notes and transcript.
There is so much going on with the mechanics of physical hunger. I have done episodes and blogs on Ghrelin and Leptin, known as your hunger hormones, but you can see that saying it is only leptin and ghrelin involved in your hunger and satiety cues is an oversimplification. There are at least a dozen hormones, amino acids, fatty acids and the activity of organs (liver and pancreas, for instance) that all play a role in this.
It takes 20 minutes for food to get from the stomach to the small intestine. One signal comes from your stomach wall stretching to accommodate the meal you are eating. Nerve "Stretch Receptors" send signals to the brain that the stomach is expanding, and you can begin to taper off and stop eating.
This is why if you slow down and don’t shovel in your food especially while you are distracted, you are apt to be satisfied with a portion and not feel you have to keep eating.
Before I wind up with a few more things from the workbook on the topic of feeling your fullness, I want to give you a few more ways to slow down your eating so that this gut stretch receptor kicks in and you will be able to feel your fullness before you get to the point of being uncomfortably full at the end of the meal orworse about 20 minutes later.
I am keeping this very simple here. You have a lot to digest (yes, pun intended!). For this first step, just put your fork down between bites (or put the food down, for instance if you are eating a rollup). You probably eat way too fast anyway and because you may be harboring some anxiety with this process, you will find that the food will be gone even more quickly, without even realizing that you ate it!
Eat slowly and put your fork down between bites. A lot of being able to be satisfied with how much you are eating is to SLOW DOWN. Although it takes mindful practice, you can easily accomplish this by putting your fork – or the food – down between bites and by actually chewing your food. If you are a fast eater, I want you to notice at your next meal whether or not you actually chew your food – you will be shocked, I guarantee it. Whenever I am with people who eat more slowly than I do, I always tell myself “I will not be the first one finished at this table!”
Let your senses take in the food. Being mindful and aware of what you are eating will also help you feel more satisfied by the food in front of you. “DIG IN!” does not have to mean “Shovel it in!” Take your time, eat slowly, chew and swallow, breathe. Survey what is on your dish and take just a few seconds to be grateful for what is in front of you.
Marc David, the author of "The Slow Down Diet" brilliantly coined the term: Vitamin SD for Vitamin Slow Down. Without it, no amount of food will satisfy you.
At this point add some slow breathing at various points in your meal – even during the preparation and plating. Just SLOW DOWN. I think we are always so rushed around food. When you sit down with your plate of food in front of you, just take a moment and look at the food and be grateful it is there to nourish you. Take a breath. Eat. Put fork (or food) down. Chew. Swallow. Breathe. Marc David calls this Vitamin BE for Vitamin Breathe.
Also, before you even take your first bite, I want you to take three deep breaths – you can do it quietly so no one else notices. Just sit for a moment with your hands in your lap and breathe. Let your senses take in the food. Being mindful and aware of what you are eating will also help you feel more satisfied by the food in front of you.
You would not think you need to be instructed to do chew, swallow and breathe, until you actually do it and realize that you never do. Centering yourself at this step will prepare you, more than you know, for success with any eating style you plan to follow.
If you do these things I bet THE SIGH will slap you in the face next time you are eating and wondering if you are full!
Back to the workbook
Resch and Tribole present factors that influence fullness.
1. Initial Hunger Level. This is at two levels. First, as I have been saying, if you don’t eat in response to hunger, your body is hard-pressed to know when it is full. But also, I would add, if you are ravenously hungry you will eat very fast, and the gut-stretch receptor will not be employed.
2. Unconditional Permission to Eat with Attunement. Going back to Principle 3, Make Peace with Food, if you have not given yourself permission to eat what you want to eat, then it’s hard to stop eating because you think you will never get that particular food again.
3. Timing. We will talk more about this in Gentle Nutrition, but the timing of your meals is important to keep your blood sugar in balance and also to keep that ravenous hunger out of the picture.
4. Amount of Food. The amount of food you ate a prior meal or snack will influence when you become hungry and how much food it will take to reach comfortable fullness.
5. Social Influence. Studies have shown that the presence of people at a meal tends to increase the amount of food you eat. This might be due to the distraction factor, or even peer pressure to keep up with other people at the table or with your dining companions urging you to eat more or tempting you with foods you do not normally eat.
6. Type of Food. The kind of food you eat will influence your fulness level.
7. The Satisfaction Factor, which they do not put in this list, but which is a principle all its own, will also influence how well you can home in on your fullness cue.
The next section in the workbook was all about discovering the fullness and staying power of foods. They start with protein, stating that protein levels in your meals helps to increase satiety levels.
They go on to fat: Something that I learned that I don’t know that I actually ever processed before was that “the presence of fat in a meal slows down the rate of digestion. Fat is also the slowest part of food to be digested. It plays a significant role in prolonging fullness.” As a Keto coach I always say not to fear fat, and to eat fat to satiety and that fat will keep you the full, but I don’t know that my brain ever processed that it had to do with digestion.
Throughout their program I do not agree with most of what they say about carbohydrates. I believe that they are going on old and flawed studies, and I even went back to the research to see if I was misinformed and miseducated about carbohydrates. Instead, I find that I still cannot agree with most of what they say, although I admit that you can find anything you want in the scientific literature to support what you want supported. In any case, the only statement I can agree with is that carbohydrates add bulk, which contributes to satiety.
The part of their view that I cannot agree with is that carbohydrates keep a normal blood sugar level, which most do not. I am trying, myself, as a Keto coach, to not demonize grains, legumes, and starchy vegetables, unless a person is insulin resistant. However, their blanket statements seem to include all carbohydrates including highly processed ones, as well as sugar.
Regarding fiber, they say that fiber is an indigestible type of carbohydrate which adds bulk and slows down the absorption of carbohydrates into the blood stream. There is so much more to the benefit of fiber than this, but it’s enough to make the point that including fibrous foods in your meals will go a long way to help with satiety.
Interestingly they talk about “air foods” and how these are always on the dieter’s list. Air foods, such as rice cakes, puffed cereal, and sugar-free beverages, will fill up your stomach but offer little energy. Artificially sweetened foods and low carbohydrate foods also can make you temporarily feel full but have no lasting power.
They give paired snack options for you to try and test your satiety levels. For instance, one day have a granola bar and the next have Greek yogurt with berries; one day have an apple and the next have the apple with a little peanut butter. This is a good activity to help you see where you might be eating empty air foods as opposed to a snack that will hold you to a meal.
Then the next section builds on learning about the staying power of various snacks. With two different exercises, they ask you to write down a meal that you have had with the date, time and approximate amount of food then reflect on the duration of fullness and reoccurrence of hunger, noting how many hours after the meal you were hungry again.
· What types of meals help to sustain your fullness level?
· What types of foods did you eat that did not sustain you for several hours?
· Describe the components of a meal that would sustain you?
· Describe the trend of your fullness levels when you checked in every 30 minutes for two hours?
· Describe any surprises or unexpected experiences with getting to know fullness from meals.
Some other reflections were
· By the time you stopped eating because of fullness, did your fullness experience tend to be pleasant, unpleasant or neutral?
· If you engaged in another activity while eating, what impact did it have on your fullness rating?
· What types of foods did you eat that helped you to become comfortably full.
These couple of activities with reflections would be helpful to do if you are wrestling with meal planning, what kind of meals to pack for lunch, what would be great for your kids’ snacks, or just in general, if you always find yourself hungry after you’ve eaten.
With the latter, there is so much more that goes into that than just the proportions of fat, protein and carbohydrates that make up your meals, but it is a good place to start.
It would be great if you could start to notice how certain foods make you feel, or how certain foods sustain you throughout the day, because these are very big factors when we get to gentle nutrition.
THIS WEEK’S ACTIONABLE COACHING ADVICE
For this week’s actionable coaching advice, I will take the “Last Bite Threshold Experiment” directly from the workbook. Quoting Resch and Tribole, “As you begin to become more familiar with the various sensations of fullness, you will be able to identify the last bite threshold, which is the endpoint of eating (for now). It’s a subtle experience. You become aware that just one more bite of food will likely be your stopping point for a comfortable satiety level. The key element in sensing this threshold is paying attention…” They go on to say, “When you finish eating, reflect on how you feel physically. Really check in and notice the sensations of your fullness. Linger with these sensations for a few minutes. Next ask yourself, ‘How would I feel if I had stopped a few bites sooner?’ Note the thoughts that arise… Just notice these feelings, without judgment.”
Here is an experiment you can do if you feel ready to stop at a few bites sooner than you would. If you have not really worked with paying attention to your hunger scale at both ends – both hunger and fullness – you might want to put this off a bit. If you are already experiencing THE SIGH or just generally know when you have reached a 5 or 6, then go on with the experiment.
1. Take a prolonged pause when you are at the point of detecting the absence of hunger and the emergence of fullness.
2. Estimate roughly how many more bites of food it will take to be comfortably full (note that you do not need to estimate an exact number of bites). Tentatively mark that as your stopping point.
3. Continue eating with profound awareness with each bite of foodl.
a. Notice how the food feels in your mouth and how it tastes.
b. After swallowing, notice how it makes your body feel.
c. Before taking the next bite of food, ask yourself, is it possible that this next bite is the last bite for me? If your gut sense is yes, plan to stop at that point.
4. Notice how you feel. It may be important to remind yourself that you can still eat the rest of this particular food or meal again. Remember, there are no forbidden foods.
The more you practice this activity, the more adept you will become at recognizing the last bite threshold.
Next week’s episode
Next week I will explore Principle 6: Discover the Satisfaction Factor. The concept of umami –the Japanese word for deliciousness, is so important especially with regard to any level of Feeling Your Fullness.
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