Knowing When to Stop (Eating)

I am never really sure what I want this blog to be about. You could say I’m a flip-flopper…


So: it’s time to stop flipping and flopping (or at least flip and flop decisively), because I think I know what my blog is all about. It’s about how I learned (and am still learning) to eat intuitively, and how those principles spill over into the rest of my life (for example, yoga and intuitive eating go hand in hand – just wait for a post on that).

Speaking of Knowing When to Stop… How do you know when to stop eating? Is it really as simple as knowing when you are full? My guess is NO.

Now that is a big bed meal. (Source.)

Some people “save” lots of calories during the day so that they can have a big dinner or snack a lot after dinner. This can be unpleasant though (stomachache, indigestion, etc…), and can lead to a vicious cycle of a poor night’s sleep, feeling sick the next day, and repeating it all over again.

How can you end the cycle? Here are some tactics…

Dessert for Dinner, or: Eat What You Love and Be Satisfied

Last night I was on my own for dinner. My husband (I can’t stop saying that!) was at a work event until late so I was alone for the evening. Normally this might be a tricky situation – when I’m alone I’m more likely to snack out of boredom.


Trick one: know yourself. I’m a girl who can’t go without dessert. Ever. I cannot remember that last time I didn’t have dessert. I also know that once I have dessert it can turn into a snackfest. My belly and my head are not satisfied with a piece of fruit for dinner. Maybe your weakness is potato chips, or cereal. Whatever it is, make a note of it. Then…

Trick two: trick yourself. I may like dessert, but I am not okay with having Rocky Road for dinner. So what is a good substitute? Breakfast foods are usually desserty enough for me. French Toast in particular is comforting, delicious, and sweet enough to satisfy my dessert tooth. If you love your potato chips, portion out a serving (1 serving) to have with your dinner. If you don’t want it with a meal, you probably shouldn’t have it while watching TV anyway.

Trick three: indulge (just a little). I put tart frozen yogurt (from Trader Joe’s) on top of my dessert for dinner French Toast. If I didn’t do that I would probably want to eat frozen yogurt after dinner anyway. Again with the potato chips – why not get some really delicious potato chips (I like Terra Chips) so that you really enjoy your treat.

Trick four: Stop. (Okay, that’s not a trick, that just the end result – hopefully.) I loved this meal. So much so that I didn’t need to eat anything the rest of the night. Hopefully if you had the chips with dinner you won’t want them the rest of the night either.

My Easy Peasy (Healthy) French Toast For One Recipe. Check it out if you want a low calorie but filling and healthy meal. I think it has about 300 calories total depending on your bread and toppings.

Good reads:

  • Brian Wansink discusses the French paradox (they eat lots of fatty things yet are – on average – thinner, healthier, and live longer than Americans).
  • I think I linked here before, but I really really like Honoring Health – it’s an intuitive eating blog, and Christie (the author) is very inspiring. Plus, she is helping me figure out how to organize my recipes!

Have you ever had dessert for dinner? What foods are really satisfying for you?

13 Replies to “Knowing When to Stop (Eating)”

  1. I understand what you mean about blog-identity-crisis. I still can’t figure myself out. There are a million things I want to talk about…I eventually will start a new one (just for a more positive environment),but for now I just go with the flow I guess.

    I can’t really do the intuitive eating thing. My situation over the years has been a trial…so I basically eat non-stop all the time….I hope you figure it out though!

    In the meantime, I want to say what an inspiration you are. For over a year now my cardio has been limited to walking, and it is nice to see someone who walks and is very content with that in our crazy world.

  2. I tend to have dessert for lunch, sorta…I like making pancakes with chocolate pudding.
    i find that I’m most satiated with a balance (protein, carb, and fat) so I try to incorporate that in my meals/snacks.
    I still call my sister’s husband her “boyfriend” sometimes, they’ve been married for six years!

  3. Great post! I always like something sweet after dinner – I don’t think I’ve ever just had a savoury dinner then not had a snack afterwards. I usually consider it my ‘5th meal!’

  4. The hamburger bed made me laugh. When I first got my dog I bought him this huge hamburger pillow to sleep on. He loved it!

  5. That french toast looks really good! Intuitive eating is such an abstract concept. I think it means different things to different people. For me, it’s about self-trust more than anything — knowing and accepting what I want and how to satisfy myself. I’ve learned that I love something sweet before bed. It’s a routine I’m more than happy with keeping 🙂
    As for the blog identity crisis, don’t stress it. We’re all complicated people with many different facets to us. It doesn’t have to be so compartmentalized. Write about what matters to you, whatever that is on whatever day you sit down to write 🙂

  6. Great post Maggie! I too am trying to learn to eat intuitively and it’s not always easy. I LOVE breakfast foods for dinner for the same reason you do–SWEET! I have a ferocious sweet tooth and I am learning that if I don’t allow myself a little freedom, I will eventually binge! I am starting to really ask myself ‘What do I REALLY want?’ before I eat.

  7. I love that you’re posting about all this right now! I’m so happy to see you’re doing so well (and that you’re now happily married, eeeeeeeeee!!!!!).
    As you know, we’re so so similar in eating habits/ psychoses. I’ve also had ups and downs, I learn from mistakes and get better, than suffer from sudden memory lapses and slip again. The last few months have been a very very rough patch for me, and while it was hard to admit that it obviously won’t work to “heal myself”, I finally reached out and now have an army in the form of doctor/ therapist/ nutritionist and feel really optimistic that I’m going to get my body and mind back on track for good.
    Also, I started official yoga teacher training last week! It will be a while and is kind of like going back to school, with training every weekend and required reading and report writing, but I’m really excited about it 🙂

  8. such a great post maggie! it’s really encouraging me to sit with my problems about food and try to figure them out and make them better! i really appreciate you talking about this! and i’m like you, i have to have dessert every single night. i always hope that having fruit with dinner will help, but it never does. it just makes me want more, so i’m taking steps to eliminate it, add more whole foods and then have a real dessert and not feel guilty about it!

  9. this is a great one, too. i love the way you are going with your blog. i am so glad i don’t tally calories anymore, because i used to do the whole “i have more calories for the day!” thing, even if i was full.

    loving your tips.

    and hooray for using the term “husband”!

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