The feeling of fullness after eating can instill a lot of different feelings for us. For some, it’s comfort. For some, it’s energy. For some, it’s satisfying. For me, it used to be guilt. I used to finish a meal and immediately start obsessing over how expanded my stomach felt, which led to me confusing the feeling of fullness with being bloated and “fat”. Looking back, I wish I could tell the old me that what my body was doing was completely normal, but it didn’t feel that way. We live in a society that glorifies flat stomachs, and deviating from that feels very foreign. After all, no one ever posts a picture on Instagram of themselves in a crop top after eating a bowl of pasta.
During my sophomore year of college, my sorority had a body positivity workshop where we all talked about our insecurities surrounding our own bodies and how we could break them. Something that a lot of us bonded over was the “stomach check” in the mirror after we ate to see if our stomachs were still flat enough.
I’ve developed a few techniques over the years to challenge the habits that were damaging my self-esteem. They’re honestly something that I still put into practice, because my relationship with my body is constantly evolving, and that’s okay.
It sounds silly, but sometimes the art of distraction is so useful. After eating, I try to get up and do something that takes control of my attention. Something like walking to Starbucks, finding a new song on Spotify, or even calling my mom makes me forget about any guilt that may have accompanied being full. Having my mind focused on something else doesn’t give me the time to think about how my body looks, and it’s way more entertaining.
After eating a big meal especially, it can be easy to look back and think “I shouldn’t have eaten two breadsticks”, or “why didn’t I just get a salad?”, but having this mindset will only create a bigger fear around food. Instead, sometimes I like to think about reasons that I’m glad I ate what I did. For example, today I had couscous with a side salad, meatballs, and fruit. As I’m typing this, I’m significantly full. But, I’m happy I ate the meatballs, because:
- They were delicious
- They gave me extra protein, which is something I know that my body needs to stay full.
This technique helps me remember that food is a good thing with nutritional value, not my enemy.
Lastly, sometimes it helps to remind myself of the big picture. Last night my roommates and I made a frozen pizza at 11 PM and I ate three pieces. While I wasn’t absolutely stuffed after, I was definitely full right before bed, which can create a whole other feeling of guilt in itself. But since I didn’t want to go to bed mad at myself for eating something I enjoyed, I reminded myself that I am on this Earth to do way more than maintain a stomach size that I deem to be acceptable. There are people to meet, songs to listen to, and coffee shops to visit that outweigh the significance of an expanded stomach. I have a purpose in this world, and I want to spend more time living that out than obsessing over my body.
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