Recently, I’ve been seeing a lot of questions about portion, meal size and how much you should eat in one sitting — so today’s post will address that. I will also cover some reasons why you might feel overly hungry, including after meals, even when it seems like you’re eating (quite) a lot!
I totally get that it can be frustrating to sit down to a huge meal and feel like you’ve stuffed yourself…only to feel ravenous not long after you’re done eating. We’ve all been there, and if you’re like many of us women, you may even have felt embarrassed that you ate “so much” and still don’t even feel full (though I have to admit that I often eat more food than my husband, especially when I do a more intense yoga practice, but it doesn’t bother either of us. It’s good stuff!).
The good news is that there is nothing to be ashamed or worried about, because Beauty Detox is all about abundance — including eating! There’s nothing wrong with eating large portion sizes of plant foods, because they’re so rich in water, nutrients and fiber, you’ll find that digestion is quicker than more standard types of meals.
Also, once you’ve followed the Beauty Detox lifestyle for a while, you may notice that you’re actually starting to feel full for longer amounts of time after you eat, even if you’re eating less than you were before. There are reasons for this, which I’ll explain in just a moment.
Before we do that, let’s dive into some reasons why you or others you know might feel hungry despite eating a lot of food.
Hunger Factor #1: Nutrients Aren’t Yet Being Absorbed Fully
Imagine trying to fill a sponge with water, but it’s covered in grease and oil. You can see the holes in the sponge that could—and should—be picking up the water as you submerge it in the sink, but the coating is preventing anything from happening. You keep dunking and dunking the sponge, but still, no water is absorbed and you can’t use it.
If you still have a fair amount of toxicity in your system (no judgment, everyone is at different stages!) — your intestines might be reacting to the food you eat like the oily sponge. You keep eating, but your villi, those tiny little fingers on along the length of your intestines that are there to soak up nutrients, can’t do their job.
Depending on your past eating and lifestyle habits, those little villi might be coated with years of waste products your body couldn’t use before — especially if you regularly consumed things like sugar, dairy, excessive animal protein, and refined flour. Because there’s so much gunk already coating those surfaces, very few nutrients can actually be absorbed and used by your body.
Because your body needs that nutrition to function, it keeps sending out messages to eat, eat, and eat some more. Your villi get clogged by the aforementioned sugar, dairy, etc, but other processed foods and the growth of yeast and fungus in the body can also contribute to the problem.
This is a big reason why I highlight detoxification so much in my books (The Beauty Detox Solution and The Beauty Detox Foods) — and why extra cleansing with products like DETOXY+ can be helpful. It’s also what makes Beauty Detox so powerful: because the cleansing nature of all those fruits and vegetables will help detox away the waste, and pave the way for more nutrients to pass through the villi and into your bloodstream and cells.
Hunger Factor #2: BPA, Sugar, and Leptin Resistance
You’re doing a great thing for your health by skipping the huge frozen meals — however, there’s another thing to be just as cautious about. Because canned beans, tomatoes, and other products that contain BPA can be just as harmful — and BPA is in more products than you think. 
BPA has been associated with obesity in a study that looked at children and controlled for age, ethnicity, television watching, education of caregiver, gender, caloric intake, and urinary creatinine level.  The children with the most BPA in their urine were also most prone to obesity. BPA is the lining often found in cans that prevent corrosion. BPA is also found in some plastics, like water bottles and other food packaging materials.
BPA increases leptin levels in the body, and leptin is meant to decrease hunger. That sounds like a recipe for weight loss, right? The problem is, obese people are often leptin-resistant, so the raised levels aren’t exactly a good thing.  If you’re obese and leptin-resistant, your body isn’t getting a clear message from the leptin that you’re full; you feel hungry because your body still thinks you’re starving.
Aside from BPA, the Standard American Diet, with its high levels of sugar (especially the high-fructose corn syrup in processed foods), can increase leptin and encourage resistance.  In a study where rats were fed a sugar-free diet; a sugar-free, high-fat diet; and a diet high in fructose and fat, only the rats fed the high fructose, high fat diet experienced leptin resistance. So if you do consume a lot of sugar, this may be part of the problem.
If you’re leptin-resistant, you may see huge benefits in the Blossoming Beauty phase of Beauty Detox that I outline in The Glowing Lean System and mention in our 30-Day Meal Plan. In that phase, the focus is on cutting out a lot of the things that contribute to leptin-resistance in the first place. You won’t be having any sweet fruits at first, and you’ll be ditching the canned and microwaved foods as well as refined sugars and starches behind, too.
When you implement this, one of the first things you’ll notice is that your hunger no longer feels like a runaway freight train! You feel much more calm and naturally satisfied, and a lot less ravenous. You’ll also notice that your energy is more steady and there are no crashes (blood sugar crashes often lead to hunger, because we want a “pick me up.”)
Hunger Factor #3: You Didn’t Eat Enough Fiber
I often recommend starting your meals with Probiotic & Enzyme Salad and/or a green leafy salad filled with different veggies, colors and flavors. There are several reasons for this. First, that pre-meal salad contributes an immense amount of fiber to the meal. Studies actually show that more fiber equals less hunger when the meal’s over. 
I recommend getting your fiber from your food rather than a supplement, because if you’re just popping a pill, you’re missing out on additional nutrients and health and beauty benefits you could be getting from all those vegetables. Plus, the more nutritious your food is, the longer you’ll feel full (and leafy greens are packed with vitamins and minerals!).
Remember how we lead off this post talking about how it’s possible to feel like you’re eating a ton but not totally full? Well, I want to note some things that will help you in your Beauty Detox transition:
1) It takes some time before your stomach adjusts to eating all that fiber. Most of us grew up eating a lot less fiber and more “dense” foods, so initially you won’t be used to that much volume and so much less density. You may need to drink more GGS (not an itty bitty little cup but at least 16 and more like 24 or even more ounces).
2) Eating all those plant foods may seem like a ton, but there’s so much water and fiber, it’s not nearly as much as it seems. My dinners are often “huge” in volume, an enormous, heaping plate filled with salad, cooked veggies, and sometimes grains like quinoa or millet or soup, or other Beauty Detox recipes. Visually, it’s a lot of food but it’s less dense and richer in fiber, water and nutrients — which is a GOOD thing!
3) Over time, you’ll find that you’re not as hungry after meals. As your digestion improves and you begin to extract more nutrition from your meals, you’ll notice that the after-meal hunger is less present. In fact, you’ll find that you feel “full yet light” — which is a unique and amazing feeling. No “food coma” symptoms here!
But these all take time, so be patient with yourself, tune into your body and you’ll discover the right portions and meal size that’s right for you — with the understanding that it will evolve over time.
I also want to add that if you DO still get hungry between meals- eat more! Easily digested smoothies, veggie soups, veggie sticks and salsa or some guac, etc. are always there for you.
Keep Going and Your Body and Eating Rhythm Will Balance!
This article gives you a glimpse into some of the reasons why it’s possible to eat a lot and still feel hungry. Unfortunately, there’s no set formula for how much to eat in order to feel full or satiated — that would be impossible. How much to eat is unique to you, your body, time of day, season and dozens of other factors.
Beauty Detox is very much about trusting your body more and more, tuning in, and eating in harmony with your instincts and intuition. Do that and everything will evolve and flower over time.
In particular, your appetite will start to stabilize and you’ll find yourself feeling satiated after big, fiber-filled meals—the way you should be—once you’ve taken the necessary steps to detox your body for optimal nutrient absorption and begun feed it the most nutritious, fiber-rich meals you can.
You’ll be amazed by how much better and more deeply satisfied you feel once you’ve incorporated more Beauty Foods into your diet — and you’ve adjusted to the process of digesting so much plant food.
Trust me, it only gets better and better — and your health and beauty will thank you for it!