Full of food and feelings

I actually let myself eat a little something extra tonight (a bowl of low-fat ice cream, if you must know), which resulted in my feeling full for once.

Let me be clear: I don't walk around hungry anymore. But I typically only let myself eat until I am "not hungry," which is slightly, but perceptibly, different from feeling "full." Not hungry is just fine and dandy with me. I kind of like that state, where I'm not obsessing about food all the freaking time, but I'm not...well...full.

This full feeling has me a bit agitated. I ate too much, I think. Surely, I ate too much and now I'm going to get fat and gross and...

Wait a minute, Carrie.

Although my episodes of binging have been relatively few (and all of those were likely subjective binges), tonight's "extra" didn't leave me with the big Lawd-have-mercy feeling, that there is so much food in my stomach I feel like Sigorney Weaver in Alien. I wasn't stuffed.

On the other hand, I don't really remember what full feels like all that well. I know "a little bit hungry," "a lot hungry," and "not hungry," but full is (forgive me) a bit of an alien feeling. Is this what normal people feel after eating? Or is this more full than I should be? Could this be the discrepancy that leads towards weight gain?

Then again, it's just one little bowl of ice cream. Ah, if only my brain could be that consistently rational. It would be nice.

Maybe part of my issue is that "full" is an affirmative statement, while "not hungry" means I'm not a glutton, I do have control, I am in charge of the situation. Houston, we most definitely don't have a problem. But feeling full means that I certainly did eat, and not just a trifling amount. Only in my eating disordered brain, full means "excess," it means no willpower. That I don't feel full often leads my brain to dwell on the novelty of the physical sensation of having a significant amount of food in my stomach.

I know food and eating should be more straightforward than this. I also know (intellectually, at any rate) that one bowl of ice cream is no big deal. It just feels way more difficult than it should be.


Tiptoe said...

Yes, that "full" feeling is hard both in recognition and deciphering its meaning. I think the biggest thing in learning about feeling "full" is that it doesn't last forever. It's there for a short uncomfortable amount of time but then goes on its way.

Maybe in this case for you, begin able to "think" through it versus adding meaning to it would help?

Libby said...

*hug* I get it. I totally get it. Had a conversation Monday with my dietitian about trying to eat to a "4" instead of a "3" more often on the 1-5 scale she has me use in my food diary... where 1 is over-hungry, 5 is over-full, and 3 is just neutral.

I'm glad you had some ice cream!

Jessi said...

I hear you and totally get you. On this road to recovery, you get through so many phases, or stages if you like, however the thing I always find hard is this FULL thing too... to feel full, feels like an over-indulgence which leads to guilt... Yet if this feeling full THING is what we are supposed to feel, why is it so horrible on body and mind? Maybe it is a part of recovery??

Maybe I should have just a little ice cream too, to be social with you?

Lisa said...

You draw an interesting distinction between "not hungry" and "full." I'll have to think about that some more.

mary said...

There's a commercial on tv lately about minced fish. The little girl comes in, much like a little old man, asking about the fish sticks her mom served her "minced, minced, you serve me minced fish. Have you ever seen a minced fish?"
Now I'm thinking.... low fat ice cream low fat ice cream, have you ever seen a low fat cow?
Ah, but I am glad to hear you had a bowl of ice cream. You did good by yourself! I did too...chocolate peanut butter.

Gaining Back My Life said...

COMPLETELY relate to your description of the difference between feeling 'full' and 'not hungry'. I could just never say it the way you do!

Kim said...

"Full" is tough for me too. What's even more confusing is that sometimes the same amount of food that left me feeling "not hungry" will make me feel "stuffed." Logically, I know appetites are not the same every day, but this bothers me. These days, I pretty much feel full after dinner/dessert every night. And nothing seems to happen to my weight. If anything, I sleep better. It's tough to gauge, when we've had years of messing with our signals. I think as long as you can bring in logic on some ice cream nights, you're fine :)

emmyster said...

I'm glad you went for the bowl anyway. Working against what ED feels is comfortable for us is the best way to minimize it and eventually overcome it.


Matthew and Tara said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Carrie Arnold said...

Thanks for your feedback- I really appreciate it though I don't have time right now to reply to everyone individually.

However, Mary: what? Next you're probably going to tell me that chocolate milk doesn't come from brown cows! :)


Thanks for your comment but my policy is to delete solicitations. You can email me privately if you'd like.

Sarah said...

this is great, Carrie -- great that you let yourself feel all this (and eat the ice cream! what flavor was it?) and great that you wrote it out and shared it.


Katkinkate said...

How much of it is 'full' and how much bloating from lactose intolerance?

Anonymous said...

I too relate all to well to the emotional aspects of feeling "full". I find that it is like walking a tight rope, if I am below a certain point which on the scale descripbed by Libby would be a 3 then the ED kicks in and i have strong urges & preoccupation. Whereas when I go over the 3 then I feel "full" and the ED = that with negative thoughts. I am working on confronting my black and white thinking and sitting with the current discomfort of gray which is satiety!

Thank you for writing this as it so accurately depicts my experience!

Anonymous said...

My only question is, if you are going to eat ice cream, why low fat?

Carrie Arnold said...


I'm not lactose intolerant- I eat plenty of other dairy without problems.


Why low fat? Partly, the flavor was only in the low fat kind. The other part is an ED thing. One of my "rules" is that I "have to" buy the lowest fat/cal version possible. I've gotten better in some areas, but it's still there. And just buying ice cream makes me feel guilty enough.

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I'm a science writer, a jewelry design artist, a bookworm, a complete geek, and mom to a wonderful kitty. I am also recovering from a decade-plus battle with anorexia nervosa. I believe that complete recovery is possible, and that the first step along that path is full nutrition.

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nour·ish: (v); to sustain with food or nutriment; supply with what is necessary for life, health, and growth; to cherish, foster, keep alive; to strengthen, build up, or promote


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