Dealing With the Feeling of Being Uncomfortably Full

Struggling with feeling full

When engaged in eating disorder behaviors, typically physical extremes are experienced in the body – such as hunger at the point of starvation and/or fullness to the point of sickness. When these extremes are commonly experienced, they are taken as the normal standard of what and how food registers in the body. However, it is important to remember that these physical experiences are not in fact a normal state for the body.

Understanding Basic Biological Responses

Hunger and fullness are in fact, much more subtle that the extremes that are often known and experienced in eating disorders, such as anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating disorder. At the early signs of hunger, usually a person will begin to start thinking about food, may feel an emptiness or stomach rumbling. In extreme cases of hunger, the physical symptoms are much louder and might include faintness, headaches, fatigue, shakiness, and other signs that are demonstrating the need for nourishment.

This is similar with fullness, which is intended to be experienced as a much more subtle cue of knowing when satiety has been reached. And this is exactly how fullness might be described: comfortable satiety. Not pain or discomfort due to eating beyond a point of satisfaction.

Many individuals wrongly associate the physical feeling of fullness with the assumption that too much food has been eaten, and this inevitably triggers a fear of weight gain. However, the reality is far different that what might be experienced. Fullness is simply our body’s indicator that it may be time to stop eating at that particular meal, and the satiety that comes when this point has been reached should prompt us to respond accordingly.

When Fullness Feels Triggering

Woman feeling fullEspecially in the earlier stages of eating disorder recovery, feeling “full” can be uncomfortable – both physically and emotionally. It is important to have a strong support system in place to help you navigate through this often triggering phase of recovery, knowing that you will eventually get to a place where you are able to work through the feelings that fullness triggers.

As with all feelings, keep in mind that what you are experiencing will pass. Finding ways to positively distract yourself after a meal can be a helpful way of getting through some of the obstacles you might be facing.

Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!

What are some of your suggestions for working through feeling “full” after meals?

Crystal Headshot 2About the Author: Crystal is a Masters-level Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) with a specialty focus in eating disorders, maternal/child health and wellness, and intuitive eating. Combining clinical experience with a love of social media and writing, Crystal serves as the Director of Content and Social Media for Eating Disorder Hope/Addiction Hope, where her passion to help others find recovery and healing is integrated into each part of her work.

As a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, Crystal has dedicated her career to helping others establish a healthy relationship with food and body through her work with EDH/AH and nutrition private practice.

The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Eating Disorder Hope understand that eating disorders result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on November 23, 2016
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