Contrary to our initial reaction to this simplistic question, many of us do not stop eating because we are satisfied. Think about it.
Why did you stop eating your last meal?
Is this a reason that repeats itself?
What does this mean about you and your ability to listen to your body's signals?
Are you overriding them - eating beyond or less than you need?
Many os us have lost the ability to eat mindfully. Eating should be an intuitive experience of connecting with our body, mind and soul. RECONNECTING not disconnecting.
How do we disconnect when we eat?
When we eat based on diets.
When we eat to stuff our emotions.
When we eat something, that we REALLY dislike, just cause we think it's healthy.
When we eat chemicals rather than real food.
When we calorie count what we eat.
When we wait til we are staving to eat.
When we cut out major food groups that we fear.
When we eat while doing something else.
When we select a menu item solely based on what we THINK is healthy or has the lowest fat/carbs/calories etc.
Eating is a basic human need, but more than that, it sets the standard of how we nourish ourselves and ability to show self-care. And we cannot extend love and care to others if we are not able to show care towards ourselves - as much as we might like to think we can, it's not possible to give from an empty cup. And eating should be a pleasure - a sensual experience and a mindful break in the day to reconnect.
We ought to consider viewing eating habits as an investment in our greatest asset - which is us.
This means NOT overly rigidly controlling or depriving ourselves, but also NOT stuffing ourselves. It means tuning in. Approaching food and life with an openness to reconnecting, feeling, sensing and being.
If we take no pleasure in nourishing ourselves, we might want to re-evaluate how we live our life overall.
Are we living a meaningful life, that is colorful, vibrant and fulfills our needs at every level? Or are we using food and diets to try to control things, which we are not supposed to control and obsess about - things regulated by our biology aka weight, what we eat etc.
These things come naturally when our body is in a state of balance.
Our body strives for harmony - only when we go against it, does it result in a state of disconnect. and thus we need to retrain even the most basic of things; like how to feed ourselves.
Keep a journal for a week and note down which of following reasons cause you to stop eating each time you eat:
Following diet rules/Control
Plate clean/Ran out of food
Emotionally felt better
Distracted from eating
No more entertainment/got bored
Ran out of money
Time up/Lunch-break over
After a week evaluate the most common reasons why you stop eating; and use this information to find a substitute for whatever feeling it is, that you are trying to find through food. Dealing with uncomfortable emotions means uncovering them; however uncomfortable that may be. If we continue to stuff down our emotions or control what is not ours to control, we will never reach that sense of going with the flow - and that is the only place happiness is found: in the flow.
The first step in trying to reconnect is to identify, why we disconnect.
Now do it.