Is Your Full-O-Meter Broken?by Sonja Rose on Aug. 19, 2010, under Health
Eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full.
It eating were that simple, everyone would be walking around with svelte bodies, and there would be no obesity epidemic.
“But I don’t know when I’m full,” a recent Living Thin blog reader confessed to me. “And I’m terrified to start eating normally when my diet is over.” This reader had already lost over 50 pounds on her recent diet.
What are the magic “full” signs?
a) Listen for a quiet “sigh” during a meal, signaling that your body has had enough (it’s subtle, so you have to pay attention).
b) Remember that your stomach is only fist-shaped when it’s completely empty, so full is not that much food (i.e., 4 oz. of protein is the same size as a deck of cards).
c) If food doesn’t have as much flavor as it did in the beginning of a meal, then it’s time to stop.
Leptin is the “full” hormone that signals the brain that the body has had enough to eat. It’s the body’s natural appetitite suppressant. Ghrelin is our “hunger” hormone. When we don’t sleep well, leptin levels go down, so we don’t feel as satisified after we eat. Sleep deprivation can also cause overstimulation of ghrelin, which can leave you feeling constantly hungry. This can cause overeating and weight gain.
Scientists are developing injections and pills to inhibit ghrelin (hungry), and encourage leptin (full); however, if you want to avoid a lifetime of shots and pills, try to practice learning the signs on your own. And maybe work on getting a good night’s sleep.
I’d love to hear from other people how they learned to recognize the sign’s of “full,” especially if their Full-O-Meter broke for a while after a lifetime of dieting.