What I find interesting are the emotions and thoughts that crop up when I finish eating. There's a lot of disappointment, especially if I eat a really satisfying meal. It's almost like, "Damn...that was so good and it's over. I know that will hold me for a while so I probably won't be feeling hunger again anytime soon, which means I probably won't be eating again anytime soon." I'm trying to remain objective and non-judgmental about my thoughts but I find this stuff kind of weird. I wonder why I'd feel such disappointment about not being able to eat again very soon? Do I enjoy feeling hunger to a certain level because it makes me feel in control in some ways? Maybe it takes me back to my anorexic days and restrictive patterns...
This is something that I've been able to totally reframe with great results. I used to have a real problem with both ending a meal and fretting about when I could eat next. Some things that run through my head now:
- That was so delicious! I feel great and totally satisfied. I look forward to my next delicious. satisfying meal (because they all are).
- When I put the lid on the Haagen-Dazs after eating a reasonable amount, I say things like - "I want to eat all the ice cream right now, but I don't have to. I can stop and feel fantastic, plus I get to have some more ice cream tonight, and some more ice cream tomorrow!" - thinking about whatever delicious thing I will eat next, or when I will eat the tasty food again helps me to stop gracefully in the moment.
- If I want to eat again before I'm hungry, I can always do that, but I'll stop for now.
- Instead of thinking I won't be eating again anytime soon, I remind myself that I can eat whenever I want. Another satisfying meal is always right around the corner, as is a growling stomach if that's what I'm worried about.
- I don't enjoy chronic or frequent hunger. At all. I get hungry, but then I eat until I'm satisfied and don't want anymore.
I'll also point out that stopping eating is far more difficult and emotional if we're underfed in general. When we've been using willpower to stop short time after time, stopping is going to feel a bit intense even if the last meal was more than adequate. The more we eat to satisfaction, the easier it gets.