How to Make It Easier to Quit Eating When Full


“..self-contempt never inspires lasting change.“
Jane R. Hirschmann and Carol H. Munter

“Listen. Make a way for yourself inside yourself. Stop looking in the other way of looking.” Jelaluddin Rumi

Reflections for Staying Attuned

Last month, we looked at the Regain Phase of dieting. This inevitable phase, where the body and soul try to guide us back from the deprivation of dieting, is often accompanied by negative self-talk, all or nothing thinking and overall bad feelings. The critical stance we take to whip our selves back into behaving properly is ultimately ineffective and demoralizing.

If you begin to trust that restrained-healthy eating is fraught with problems and you want to end the accompanying Regain Phase, you begin to hear that the solution is to eat when hungry AND to stop eating when full. This sounds simple but is actually much harder than the restrained-healthy eating. You may be disconnected from the fullness signal, or be painfully aware of it. Either way, it can difficult to quit eating when full at first; however, the accompanying negative self-talk only makes it much more difficult

These moments of eating past fullness are the heart of the work. And this work does not involve “better choices” or willpower with food. It involves the WHEN and WHY you need to eat past fullness and the WHAT else (if not overeating) you could do for yourself.

This what else involves:

  • feeling and tolerating feelings (good ones and difficult ones),
  • saying no whenever we need to, and
  • tuning into our selves in ways that may feel selfish.

The first step is to practice HOW to be with yourself when you want to overeat, whether you end up using food or not. The key is to shift from criticism to compassionate, non-judgmental curiosity. While this may feel awkward at first, it is vital to being able to “simply” stop eating when full.

Stay Attuned Tip

Think about the last time you overate. Try to recall what you were saying to yourself during and after the episode. Many of us will recall critical comments: “Now you’ve blown it!” “Just stop it!” “I’m a failure; I may as well finish eating the rest of this now (and then start the diet again [redeem myself] on Monday.” Write down two statements that you find yourself saying in the midst of your struggle with food. Now say them aloud. Then, consider whether you would speak to your child or best friend this way.

Now shift, although it may feel awkward, and ask yourself aloud: “What was the good reason I needed to use food?” “What, if not food, did I need or want?”

Stay Attuned Affirmation

“I have the courage and compassion to tune into the good reasons I overeat.”



About Karin Kratina, PhD, RD, LDN, SEP

Karin can help you escape food and body angst and learn to manage your eating and weight naturally. Visit for free handouts, online courses and more tips on mindful, intuitive eating and healing disordered eating.

© 2016 Karin Kratina, PhD, RD, LDN. Adapted from the work of Amy Tuttle RD, LCSW and Karin Kratina.