How to Feel Full

Three Parts:Feeling Full BasicsBrain TricksGood Habits

It's not only after eating Chinese food -- it's after eating everything. An hour later you're hungry again! What gives? Well, with a few handy tricks and loading your cupboards with the right stuff, no more! Read on.

Part 1
Feeling Full Basics

  1. Image titled Feel Full Step 1
    Drink water. In order to get your stomach going on the "Oh, I'm eating!" hormone, preface your meals with a glass or two of water. Then, when the food comes in, your stomach will tell you you're fuller sooner. For the record, water has absolutely zero calories. Win.
    • In fact, drinking more water can speed along weight loss. Studies show that it increases metabolism by up to 30% (that's two glasses of cold water) for around an hour immediately after being consumed. If done regularly, that's losing five pounds a year just drinking water.[1]
    • Drink water during your meals, too! It will add to your body's perceived level of fullness and you'll want to stop sooner. Not to mention it's great for your hair, nails and skin!
  2. Image titled Feel Full Step 2
    Go for a piece of fruit or veggies. That glass of water did not do the trick? Then opt for fruit or veggies that are mostly water. An apple or any vegetable that's green or orange, really. The texture and bit of extra pizzazz (at least when compared to boring ol' water) will curb your appetite while not packing on too many extra calories.[2] Snacking is good for you when it's just a snack!
    • A good, crisp crunch can be a very satisfying thing. Apples are way more satisfying than applesauce or apple juice. So if you nibble on something, choose something you have to actually chew (like carrots, too). But research says grapefruits are appetite suppressants, too![3]
  3. Image titled Feel Full Step 3
    Lean on protein. That's because it can literally tell your brain you're full. What happens when you eat two donuts for breakfast? An hour later, your brain is wondering where the real food is -- the food with protein. While fat can blast the cravings away, protein is better than carbs and fat at making you feel full longer.
    • Eggs, legumes, nuts, and fish are all great sources of protein. If you're snacking, just make sure that handful of nuts isn't sugar-coated and doesn't turn into a whole jar![4]
    • A protein-filled breakfast can make you eat less throughout the day. You may think you're cutting calories by skipping it, but your body unconsciously makes up for it by eating more during the later hours. Multiple studies have shown that breakfast eaters weigh noticeably less![5]
  4. Image titled Feel Full Step 4
    Opt for fiber. Fiber, too, is great at making you feel full before you go back for seconds. It only has 1.5-2.5 calories per gram (compared to carbs and fat, at 4 and 9 respectively) and, to top it off, most fiber-rich foods require chewing and slow the food in your digestive tract.[6] Foods full in fiber don't spark your insulin levels, resulting in you avoiding that late night ice cream sundae.
    • Include more beans, whole grains, oats, and fruits and veggies with skin because just an extra 6 grams of fiber can make you feel like you've consumed another 260 calories![2]
  5. Image titled Feel Full Step 5
    Crave some fat. Yeah, yeah, yeah, you probably don't want to be told "eat fat to feel full." And while that's not what we're saying, it's...what we're saying. Sort of. You do need a bit of the good fat to feel full -- otherwise you'll be craving it till next Tuesday. So instead of ordering those dozen doughnuts from Krispy Kreme for your "co-workers," eat a little good fat and call it a day.
    • What's good fat, you ask? Avocado, nuts, seeds, and olive oil are all good choices in the fat arena. Olive oil isn't a good excuse to eat an entire yard-long baguette, but it (and all of these) make great, satiety-inducing substitutes for less-filling ingredients.
  6. Image titled Feel Full Step 6
    Go for specific, appetite-blasting foods. Science is wonderful in so many ways: they've pinpointed a whole bunch of foods that work some mysterious magic on our brains. Here's a few to start you off:
    • Potatoes. When cooked healthily, they can curb your appetite for the rest of the day. The reason being they have a hunger-fighting starch in them.[7] Opt for some with the skins on!
    • Vinegar (or vinaigrette) and cinnamon have been shown to regulate blood sugars well after meals, which keeps you from craving more, more, more.[7]
    • Blueberries. Apparently, they've been reported to blast fat away while still telling your body you're full. If you can't get your paws on some fresh ones, frozen is good, too.[8]
    • Grapefruit. It lowers your insulin (which lowers your fat metabolism!) and helps you burn calories.[8]That explains that one random grapefruit craze in the 80s.
    • Almonds. Like we discussed, almonds are a great source of healthy fat. They do take about half an hour for your body to register, but once it does, you're good to go. Just keep it to about 3 ounces a day.[9]
    • Greek yogurt. It's super-thick consistency tricks our brains, but it's also jam-packed full of nutrients which our bodies love and relish, feeling fuller. Try using it in place of sour cream![9]
  7. Image titled Feel Full Step 7
    Get to work. Recent studies have shown that if you have to work for your food, you'll eat less. For example, shelling pistachios or getting the arils out of a pomegranate. You'll feel just as full on less!
    • There's also been research seeing your work. So if you leave those pistachio shells or those chicken bones in a pile next to you, you'll stop before you would if you threw them away. Same goes for candy wrappers![10]
  8. Image titled Feel Full Step 8
    Get gloopy. Turns out texture is a key role in how our stomachs know we're full. Food that's particularly viscous -- or gloopy -- will keep you from wanting to eat more. Basically the opposite of chips!
    • Porridge, oatmeal, and soups are the way to go. Studies have shown that the same ingredients but in soup form have a much lengthier satiety period, or period of feeling full.[11] So bust out the crockpot now!

Part 2
Brain Tricks

  1. Image titled Feel Full Step 9
    Use aromatherapy. Sniffing a candle can actually keep you from eating? Yep. Peppermint, banana, green apple, and vanilla have all been shown to significantly reduce appetite.[12] Weird, huh? If you wanna get serious, stash some candles nearby. That's it!
    • The same goes for strong scented dishes, too. When your food has a strong aroma, you generally take smaller mouthfuls and end up eating less.[13] Garlic-infused tuna, anyone?
  2. Image titled Feel Full Step 10
    Chew gum. Not only does chewing gum curb your appetite, but it also works those jaw muscles! So in addition to keeping the calories far away, it burns an extra 11 calories an hour.[12] Hey, the little stuff adds up!
    • By the way, turns out gum can relax you, lower your stress levels, and make you more attentive.[14] Just don't smack it too loudly.
  3. Image titled Feel Full Step 11
    Use smaller plates. Let's drop some science: there's this thing called "learned satiation." That basically means that we know when we're full in our heads and not in our stomachs. What's one massive key in knowing when we're full? When the plate is empty. Use a smaller plate, put less food on it, bam. You're full despite its size.
    • A small, blue plate is double duty. The color blue is an appetite suppressant.[15] Why most restaurants don't use it in their color scheme!
    • The same general idea goes for eating out of a bag and out of the fridge. When there's no end in sight, your mouth just goes and goes and goes. So be sure to portion out your food! When you see that you're done, your tummy will register it, too.
  4. Image titled Feel Full Step 12
    Eat alone. This barely needs explaining. How often do you get left to your own devices and just end up surfing the internet all day, maybe bothering to make yourself a bowl of Top ramen? And then the friends get back in town and all of a sudden it's chips, pizza, beer, and then a run to Taco Bell. If you want to eat less, eat alone. It's way less fun.
    • A recent Dutch study found that people generally eat at the same time as the people they're with. If the person they're sitting across from is eating, they'll eat too. Sometimes regardless of hunger![13]

Part 3
Good Habits

  1. Image titled Feel Full Step 13
    When you eat, eat. Doing two things at once limits how aware you are of what you're doing and how much you can focus. Eating on the phone or in front of the TV can increase your intake by around 20%![10] It'll also help you truly taste your food. Savoring it can make you feel fuller, too!
    • Sit down. Don't eat while standing up. There's a very, "onto the next" idea when we're standing. You don't relax, you don't commit, you end up pacing -- so do your appetite a favor and when you eat, chillax and sit down. Get comfy. Enjoy it.
  2. Image titled Feel Full Step 14
    When eating, chew slowly and take smaller bites. Your body takes around 20 to 30 minutes to tell you, "Hold up -- I'm full!" To keep from gorging before your body realizes you're gorging, chew slowly and taking smaller bites. If you're in a group, watch the slowest eater and try to match them.
    • Try taking deliberate breaks, too, especially if your food doesn't have to maintain a temperature. You may realize you're not hungry anymore halfway through![10]
  3. Image titled Feel Full Step 15
    Eat often. You know those days when you skip lunch because you're running low on time and you're all, "Woo! I didn't eat lunch! I'm having a skinny day!" and then because you're so hungry, you end up eating an entire pizza to yourself? The worst. Instead of setting yourself up for the binge, eat often. 5 small meals a day can keep you from ever feeling hungry and ever wanting to eat that entire pizza. Phew! Dodging bullets left and right.
    • This doesn't mean eat more, for the record. Instead of sitting down to a huge dinner, have a snack at 3 and a small meal at 7. Because of your afternoon snack, you won't need to gorge yourself when dinner rolls around.
  4. Image titled Feel Full Step 16
    Turn your fork upside down. Remember that work thing we talked about? You can make yourself work with your utensils. Try these three tricks to slow yourself and make eating less mindless:
    • Turn your fork upside down. If you can't scoop with it, you'll be forced to stab everything. One. Kernel. At. A. Time.
    • Put it in the other hand. Using your non-dominant hand will slow you down significantly. It'll help you concentrate on your food, too!
    • Use chopsticks. Unless, of course, you're a chopstick ninja when it comes to pasta, peas, and other elusive foods.


  • Never try to replace a meal with water or juice.
  • Never exercise after you feel full; wait 20-30 minutes then start with light exercise.

Article Info

Featured Article

Categories: Featured Articles | Nutrition and Lifestyle Eating