fullness vs satisfaction.

Something clients and I talk about frequently is fullness vs. satisfaction.

You can have fullness without satisfaction (i.e. you eat a bowl of vegetables and are physically full, but you aren’t satisfied because all you ate was vegetables).

But you can’t have satisfaction without fullness.  (I explore what makes a meal satisfying in this video module.)

So when I’m eating any meal or snack, I’m searching for satisfaction…not just fullness.  

Some foods are fillings and not satisfying (hello, raw vegetables).  Some foods are satisfying, but not filling (hey hey, candy like skittles or starbursts, chocolate, cake, etc.).  Some foods are satisfying AND filling (hi, chocolate covered nuts, meals with carbs, etc.).  Part of being a competent eater means discovering what foods are satisfying AND filling for you.  Having all the food groups at a meal gives you the feeling of satisfaction and turns off the urge to eat.  Satisfaction, rather than mere fullness, is a more pleasurable indicator to search for when deciding when your body is ready to stop eating.

Eating meals/snacks that made me full but didn’t satisfying me…only ever helped me overeat/binge.

This concept of being aware of fullness AND satisfaction is very inline with intuitive eating, since included in the principles of Intuitive Eating are:

  1. Respect fullness
  2. Tune in to the satisfaction factor food provides

Moral of the story: Protect yo’ self against crazy crap on Instagram that shows meals without fat and carbs.  You’re not gonna find satisfaction without carbs.

Moral of the story #2: When you’re eating this week, seek satisfaction!  If you seek satisfaction to guide you to when you should finish a meal, fullness will naturally be met.

Questions for you to think about and/or leave a comment about:

What is the most satisfying meal you are currently enjoying?

My fave meal right now is probably this one.  So yum.

When planning meals for the week or ordering off a menu, do you tap into what is going to be satisfying instead of just ordering what is going to be filled with the most “healthy” foods?

Yup.  I totally tune into what I’m cravings/what sounds physically and mentally satisfying.

(pssst! For any of my brides or future brides out there, did you see this post from Robyn?! She’s awesome.)


  1. I am loving full fat Greek yoghurt, raspberry, banana, and sliced peach with a bit of honey and some seeds or granola, I feel so good during and after eating this that I am 100% satisfied and usually full all morning.

  2. Great post! This is something I think about often. Most the time I need all three macronutrients to feel satisfied at a meal time. However, a bagel and cream cheese is always satisfying to me because of the taste and that isn’t considered a high protein meal. Also, if I’m having lunch with something like a sandwich and chips or a gyro and fries I feel slightly unsatisfied if I don’t have a fresh fruit to eat after. I like the salty then refreshing effect.
    Oh and if the food doesn’t taste that good I’m definitely not satisfied.

  3. Thi is so true! Sometimes I find myself trying to fill up on all the veggies but an hour later I get hungry because of the lack of carbs and other nutrients. My most satisfying meal has to be my breakfast which consists of a large bowl of oatmeal mixed with egg whites, collagen, milk and topped with homemade applesauce, apple butter, sunflower seeds and peanut butter. Now I look back and know why it’s the most satisfying because of all the nutrients that my body needs! Thank you for opening my eyes with this article, I’m gonna try to be more conscience about this!

  4. I look forward to all of your posts! Lately I have been loving peanut butter and jelly toast or peanut butter maple syrup oatmeal. I love breakfast and find that peanut butter is the only way I feel satisfied (because I love it so much). This is a great message to look beyond the foods that are deemed “healthy” in a way that legalized all foods because you want to feel satisfied after a meal.

  5. Oh this is reason #145 (approximately!) I love your blog and the ideas you’re putting out there to reconsider what’s on Instagram, exercise programs and healthy living sites. The “summer body” race is just around the corner and it makes me sad and – as someone who has been there – anxious  to see women and men around me getting sucked into wasting their time scrolling Instagram, searching for bare minimum recipes and exhausting themselves in punishing workouts. We are so much more interesting than all of this!!! It’s no wonder social media with gorgeous pictures of satisfying food have 1000’s of followers because there is so much restriction of the real version.  

    P.S. Have you read a Savvy Girl’s Guide to Eating? I borrowed it on Kindle Unlimited after hearing it on the Food Psych podcast. Would love to hear your thoughts!

    P.P.S. Most satisfying meal lately — chicken salad over salad with avocado, hot sauce and tortilla chips. Usually some dried raisins or pomegranate for sweetness. I wish I had never “learned” that dried fruit is a “problem” because the sweet in a salad makes it so much more satisfying!!!

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  7. This is such a great concept! I can never just eat a salad, vegetables or vegetables and protein and feel satisfied. I need a source of carbs in there to be both satisfied and full. Thanks for bringing this to my attention!

  8. It’s a breakfast of rolled oats + chia seeds cooked in almond milk with a tablespoon of peanut butter mixed in, and a flat white :)

  9. Current filling AND satisfying breakfast is baked blueberry oatmeal with a big scoop of peanut butter on top. Plus coffee with creamer or milk, of course. I used to never allow myself creamer because it added “extra calories” to coffee. Now I use milk or creamer every time and it’s SO MUCH BETTER! It’s a little thing that adds more than I knew I was missing :)

  10. I loved this post. I’m in recovery from anorexia and after ten years of restricting and over-exercising… ten years of eating what was healthy/low calorie and what I “should” eat, I am just now at age 32 learning what I actually LIKE to eat. How certain foods don’t make me feel good. Its such a trip to eat all kinds of delicious foods and have enough of a connection between my body and my mind to learn what actually SATISFIES me and what makes me feel good.

    So many foods i “didn’t like” I was actually just afraid of. I still have a hard time not “CONSUMING TONS OF VEGETABLES EVERYDAY AT EVERY MEAL” but I am getting there.

  11. I love salads. For real. But in order for them to be satisfying, they need to have protein and fats (hello avo) and croutons because croutons are crunchy bits of goodness from the gods.

  12. I’m loving whole grain pasta with butter, parmesan and peas. A super simple dinner from my childhood that satisfies me just as much now as it did when I was 5! :) I’m discovering that a lot of my most satisfying meals now are ones that I loved as a kiddo–makes sense right?! Love getting back to my most intuitive self:) Thanks for the great post Kylie!

  13. The weather here is getting cool so I’m all about slow cooked meats on mashed potato or pasta. I have a slight addiction to lamb shanks on sweet potato mash at the moment, and its bloody brilliant :)

  14. Oh gosh how needed this post was!! Sometimes I find that I’ll eat something I think is right instead of what I know will satisfy me. That always leads me to binge on what I initially wanted, but I am working towards this balance :)
    I have a question- I struggle with PMS and horrible period symptoms. I find that my cravings are out of control (nothing satisfies me and I binge/overeat/ eat ravenously frequently) my body image is down the drain (and the bloating/over eating doesn’t hwlo$ and I feel overall crappy about my body and food. It wouldn’t be so bad, but when this happens for about 14 days each month, it becomes a little much to handle. I was wondering if you would be able to touch on this subject (whether in a post or in the comments,) on how to handle this time of month!
    Xo Rachel
    Ps I have officially FALLEN IN LOVE with yoga!! Thank you thank you thank you :)

  15. I always love your post and this is no exception. Right now, my satisfying and filling meal is probably a night yogurt bowl with homemade granola, fruit, and nut butter. YUM!

  16. Currently really loving breakfasts of oatmeal with peanut butter, chocolate chips, craisins, and sliced banana!

  17. This is so incredibly true. Whenever I find myself feeling grumpy and lethargic in the afternoon, I can always pin it back to a lunch that was lacking in carbs. I feel so much more alive and engaged in those afternoon hours if I have a carb generous lunch. Lately I have been loving having a wrap (I find whole-wheat more satisfying but this is just me) stuffed with anything and everything really, yesterday I had one with hummus, sriracha sauce, leftover home made chicken strip and a kale salad mix. SO GOOD. SO SATISFYING.

  18. Pasta with a simple sauce of tomato, oregano, basil and garlic with a small mountain of cheese on top!

  19. My go to breakfast that is leaving me satisfied and full is cranberry almond oatmeal mixed with blueberries and honey… and a hard-boiled egg on the side! Plus a cup of coffee with hazelnut creamer :)

  20. Awesome post!  I know when I don’t eat something satisfying I am totally rummaging in the pantry afterwards, for a cookie or something sweet and fatty.  My most satisfying foods right now are full fat coconut milk (random but true), eggs, and dark chocolate…all eaten seperately haha.  I always find. Real planning hard because I pick foods that sound satisfying to me at that moment.  I need to meal plan, as I don’t have the time to shop multiple times a week, so I try to leave a little wiggle room and have the ingredients for a couple other sub dinners on hand.

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