Often times it is very difficult to discern when it is that you are actually full. Because it takes time, not only for your brain to realize you are full but also for your stomach to become full.
Our stomachs initially are a lot smaller than we think, probably the size of your two hands placed on top of each other. It's just that our bodies are very resilient and will try to keep you alive no matter how much abuse you do to it. Whether it's drugs, physical damage, mental or emotional, or with food. You will somehow keep trucking.
You eat food, and you don't save any room, you eat and eat until you are full and satisfied. This is when the problem begins because, your stomach still needs to make room for water to hydrate you, and also room for the expansion of gases so you can digest the food. Basically meaning now that you have eliminated the room for digestion and water, your stomach has no choice but to expand. But this is also when sometimes you will have people vomit or run to the bathroom.
The more you eat until you are stuffed, the more you force it to stretch out, the more it stretches the more appetite and the more food you can put down before you stuffed again. And it becomes a vicious cycle where you can eat more and more and you gain more and more weight.
Now you can also have the reverse affect. You might be able to eat a lot but not put on much weight (maybe just have a distended belly from stretching your stomach out). Without much thought you or your friends will just assume you have a fast metabolism. But all that bio-matter has to go somewhere and if it's not going into your cells to create more mass, it is being purged some other way. Unless you have an eating disorder or take laxatives, it's probably all coming out in the toilet and it's probably happening quite often.
What often times happens since they eat so much, and especially for their size, they don't have much room for digestion. So they get indigestion, they can also cause constipation, acid reflux, gastro-intestinal reflux, or other digestive issues. So they take in all this food but none of it is being used, so not only are they not gaining the weight, they are also not absorbing a lot of the nutrients.
I've had skinny overeating clients change their diets and eat less and put on healthy lean weight.
You may notice with some over-eaters, they tend to eat fast. Especially at buffets, they are trying to get as much food in before they realize they are full. Or before their stomachs can try to start to digest and for gases to expand. In the past as a boy I've been guilty of this, trying to get my money's worth.
What should I do?
Drink lots of water throughout the day, before and after meals. Before there can be famine, their has to be thirst. So if you hardly drink water throughout the day, it's a good way to short circuit the body to think famine is about to occur, so your body will want to start storing fats. Eat less and drink more water if weight loss is your goal.
During the meal keep water to a minimum to allow your gastric juices to be potent. Chew your food, chewing is the first step of digestion, people lately rely too much on foods you can drink, juices, shakes, yogurts, soups, etc. Your body needs to digest to extract nutrients, that begins with chewing, we have teeth and a tongue for a reason. This also slows down eating.
When you eat, eat 50-80% full. If you are trying to lose weight, eat closer to 50% full to allow your stomach to slowly start shrinking over time back to it's purposeful size.
Place your thumb on your opposite forearm and press gently. That's what full feels like. Now press it hard, that's what we think full is supposed to feel like. Painful.
Eat foods that are easy to digest. Raw vegetables, cooked vegetables. Don't overcook meats. Try to avoid legumes and grains (their is a reason they both need to be soaked for a certain amount of time, then cooked for a long period of time before they can be eaten, because they are impossible to digest otherwise).
Try to sleep early, so your body has ample time to digest. That means don't eat late, your body shouldn't be taking in more food when it's trying to digest and rest. Also the later you stay up, the more your body will think it's in a fight or flight situation. Humans would only stay up late or give up sleep if it was trying to escape or run, so it would activate stress hormones that kept us alive by conserving energy and storing fats. Now we love to stay up late, tricking our bodies to store fats, raise stress, disrupt digestion, make us hungrier. Hunger is our signal so we don't forget to eat, we don't know how long we need to run for, we need to store as much energy as we can.
Don't oversleep. Wake up too late and your body will wake up at the time of day when you are most hungry and you will start the vicious cycle of wanting to overeat. So you sleep late so your body craves food for survival, and you wake up too late and your body is hungry again, because your waking up at the time the body is supposed to be the most active.
Not eating until you are full has been the secret to the Okinawan's longevity and has been a big part of a lot of religions. Maybe the ancients are trying to tell us something about how to live longer and happier?
"I love eating!" Yes you feel good during your meal. But a little bit after when your stomach is forced to expand, you will feel like dirt. But you already know this.
It's a perfect storm of everything wrong you need to do to be out of shape, overweight, over-stressed, unhealthy, and miserable. So now you know the problem, but you also have the education to do something about it.
Sam Yang from an early age has been obsessed with connecting the dots between martial arts and efficiency, health, mindset, business, science, and habits to improve optimal well-being. For more info, join his newsletter. You can also connect to All Out Effort on Facebook and Twitter.