I Feel Hungry and Full at the Same Time: What’s Really Going On?

When you feel hungry and full at the same time, it’s certainly odd. Since hunger is how your body tells you that it needs food, it feels weird to experience hunger and fullness at once. Much of it has to do with what you’re eating, your lifestyle, and your hormones.

“I feel hungry and full at the same time,” is something you may say when you head to the kitchen to get something to eat. You’re motivated because you can hear and feel your stomach growling. But upon standing, you feel bloated and wonder how it’s possible to have these two opposite feelings at once. Knowing more about what’s going on with your body during this time can help you figure out why.

Hunger and Bloating

If you are hungry and full at the same time, bloating and hunger can happen due to digestive or endocrine issues. Things like celiac, IBS, PCOS, Crohn’s, and endometriosis all cause higher rates of bloating. But that’s not always the case because bloating may also happen when you’ve waited too long to eat.

Our bodies produce stomach acid when food is anticipated. This would help you absorb the nutrients you eat. But when there is stomach acid and no food, this creates gas which causes the bloating. An empty stomach will fill with air when it is not fulfilled, causing the bloating.

 

Other Causes for Feeling Hungry and Full Together

What is going on when you feel hungry and full at the same time? It may be how you’ve composed your meal. Meals that have more protein tend to make you feel fuller. High protein meals stimulate the release of fullness hormones. And if your diet doesn’t have enough fiber, you could feel hungry a lot more often.

Fiber is ideal for feeling satiated when you eat, so a shortage of it in your diet plus a lot of protein may be why you say, “I feel hungry and full at the same time.” Try balancing your plate with lean meats and high fiber foods.

Your stomach stretch receptors may be a problem as well. These detect how much your stomach stretches or expands with a meal. They send signals to your brain to tell you its full and reduce your appetite. It goes by volume, but these full feelings don’t last. They will help you eat less during a meal but after, they do not create those long-term full feelings. You can solve this problem by eating foods that are higher in volume but lower in calories like fresh produce and lean meats. Drinking water before or during a meal also adds that volume and reduces the likelihood of this happening to you.

You may also want to visit your doctor to find out if your hormones are causing you to feel hungry and full at the same time. Leptin is the key hormone for sending the signals of fullness to the brain. The fat cells make it so it tends to increase for those that are carrying more fat mass. Leptin doesn’t work as well as it should though, especially for those that are overweight or obese, a condition known as leptin resistance.

So, while there may be plenty of leptin in your blood, your brain doesn’t see it and thinks you’re still hungry even after you’ve eaten a full meal. To offset this problem, you should get plenty of exercise, eat more fiber, sleep more, and reduce how much sugar you ingest.

 

How to Stop Feeling Hungry and Full at the Same Time

Feeling bloated when you’re hungry can ruin your appetite, but there is a way to fix this problem. All you need to do is eat with more regularity. A diet of small yet nourishing snacks throughout the day can help you out with those stomach acids. It works well for those with GERD or acid reflux, but even if that’s not something you’ve been diagnosed with, you may use this strategy when you feel hungry and full at the same time.

Many people find that by eating smaller, more frequent snacks during the day, they are less prone to burping, bloating, and nausea. But it may also be what you’re eating that is causing the hunger and fullness to come at once.

Certain foods like onions, beans, carrots, and brussels sprouts can cause bloating. If you are experiencing this situation, you may want to try a FODMAP diet. This has you limiting your foods with sugars that trigger intestinal upset such as beans, dairy, or wheat. Working with your doctor is the best way to go here to make sure you’re not missing a key clue about why this is happening to you.

 

Eating Behaviour Changes

Another thing you need to do is address certain behaviors in your lifestyle to stop feeling hungry and full at the same time. When you eat while you’re distracted for example, you’ll tend to eat more. Be mindful when you eat, chewing slowly and taking the time to enjoy your meal. If you’re eating it at your desk while working or while watching TV, you’ll be more likely to feel hungry and full together.

Fast eaters feel less full than those that eat more slowly. This is because you’re not chewing or being aware, both of which go with fullness. Try slowing down and chewing your food more thoroughly. A great way to do this is to savor it with each bite. Practicing this good habit will keep you from overeating too.

For those that are stressed, your cortisol levels will be high. This hormone makes you hungry and give into those cravings. When you feel stressed out, start countering it with something mindful like meditation. This will reduce cortisol levels and help you naturally feel satisfied after eating.

You may need more sleep too, which is important for regulating hormones, like cortisol or ghrelin. When you get the sleep you need, you should also feel less stressed and solve your hunger and fullness issues in one fell swoop.

If you’re exercising a lot, the problem could simply be that you’re just not eating enough to fuel your speedy metabolism. Consuming a bit more food should solve the issue. Make sure you have a balance of nutrients that include protein and fiber to fill you up and keep you satiated.

 

Top Tips to Try

You won’t say you feel hungry and full at the same time if you give these tips a try.

 

– Start eating on a regular pattern

More frequent eating in smaller, more nutritious portions will help you keep from feeling hungry and full at the same time. Have three meals and three snacks that balance the food groups and give you the nutrients you need. A balanced plate has lean protein, fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats.

 

– Time your fluids

If your goal is to eat less, drinking water before a meal can help. But if you keep experiencing hunger and fullness at once, it may be because you’ve had too much water at the start of your meal, filling up your belly with volume. Try drinking your water after your meal to counter thirst and keep those hunger feelings from arising again so soon after eating.

 

– Set the mood for food

One of the key things to eating right is frame of mind. You can’t relax and enjoy your food in a place that makes you feel rushed. Put on some soothing music. Set your table with nice plates and napkins and make the meal feel like a grand experience, even if it’s just for you.

By being relaxed when you eat, you’ll be more likely to take your time eating and only eat until you’re full. Then you’ll avoid feeling hungry and full together. Healthy foods don’t need to be flavorless either, so enhance the flavors by adding fresh herbs on top and taking the time to plate it nicely. This will further encourage you to slow down ad simply enjoy.

It’s recommended that you have your doctor evaluate you to make sure you don’t have a medical condition like the ones listed further above. This way, you’ll know exactly how to handle feeling hungry and full, and get back on track again with your healthy eating.

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