Learning to Feel Full in Eating Disorder Recovery

January 28, 2020 Hollay Ghadery

For those of us who have or have had eating disorders, the feeling of a full stomach can be an extremely disconcerting sensation. Sitting after a meal while feeling full can cause anxiety and guilt. I've been in recovery for nearly a decade and I still sometimes struggle with feeling full, but learning how to be okay with being full was an important step in my eating disorder (ED) recovery.

Tips for Feeling Full in Eating Disorder Recovery 

In many of my blogs here at HealthyPlace, I talk about (and sometimes question) the language we use in ED recovery. When it came to my learning how to be comfortable with being full, I needed to find a way to talk myself through the sensation that did not make me want to crawl out of my skin. 

Fullness, after all, is not something people with EDs often tolerate well. Fullness is the aftermath of a binge, the precursor to another bout of starvation. Fullness is shame, remorse, and failure.

Except it's not really. 

Fullness is good. Being full means that your body and brain are nourished. Logically, I knew that. But sickness is not always (or even often) a logical thing. 

Eating disorder recovery, for me, was about shedding skin, constantly and unapologetically, so in the earliest stages of the process, I needed to reframe the way I thought about many things, fullness included.

The word "full" was too loaded, so I needed another. That's when the word "replete" came to mind. It means to be well-supplied with something, to be sated. I said the word in my head and pictured a sun-soaked afternoon by the lake, the bubbling laughter of my baby. "Replete" was a word of pure positivity. 

So it's the word I used to learn to be alright with being full. It took time. 

Be Patient with Yourself Throughout Your Eating Disorder Recovery

One of my most important tips for ED recovery is to be patient with yourself. Learning to be okay with being full is going to take time. Some people may benefit from meditating to get through it. Others, like myself, may benefit from a more active-minded distraction, like reading, going for a walk, housework, or journaling. 

Every time a negative thought associated with my fullness came to mind, I'd remind myself that I am replete, vital, and thriving. I'd remind myself to calm my mind and trust my body—it knows what to do with this fuel. I don't need to intervene.

My body is smarter than my illness. All of our bodies are. As much as you can, speak kindly to them and about them. 

Tags: feel full

APA Reference
Ghadery, H. (2020, January 28). Learning to Feel Full in Eating Disorder Recovery, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 19 from

Author: Hollay Ghadery

Hollay Ghadery is a writer and editor living in Ontario, Canada. She has a book of non-fiction set to be published by Guernica Editions in 2021. The work dives into the documented prevalence of mental health issues in biracial women. Connect with Hollay on her website, Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

Leave a reply