August 31, 2023

I Feel Hungry and Full At the Same Time

Why I Feel Hungry and Full At the Same Time

Having the feeling of hunger and fullness at the same time can feel strange.

But guess what? It happens to others, too!

We wrote this to help you learn about hunger and fullness. Why can you feel both at once? Let’s dive in!

How Do You Feel Hungry?

Hunger is pretty complex. A lot of hormones and signals in your body work together to make you hungry.


Woman with a lot of food in front of her


Ghrelin’s role

Ghrelin, a hormone generated within your stomach, is one of the primary messengers for hunger. This hormone nudges the brain to ramp up the appetite and food intake.

When our stomach is devoid of food, ghrelin levels spike, instigating the sense of hunger.

Other hormones

Ghrelin is not the lone warrior in the hunger signaling arena. Other hormones like Neuropeptide Y (NPY), Orexin and Agouti-related protein (AgRP), also contribute to the hunger signals.

These hormones originate from the hypothalamus – a part of our brain performing the duties of hunger and satiety regulation.

Additional signals

Apart from hormones, our body employs other signals to indicate the need for fuel. For instance, decreased levels of blood sugar can prompt the feeling of hunger.

Further, our internal body clock or circadian rhythm aids in the regulation of hunger; this explains our hunger pangs at typical times in the day, like mornings or prior to dinner.

How Do You Feel Full?

The sensation of feeling full or satiated is an equally complex process done by hormones and signals.


Leptin, produced by fat cells, is a major hormone commanding satiety. It relays signals to our brain to lessen appetite and food intake. The higher the intake of food, the higher the leptin levels, resulting in a fuller feeling.

Other hormones

Other hormones like Cholecystokinin (CCK) and Peptide YY (PYY) also play a role in satiety. While the former releases in response to the small intestine’s interaction with food, signaling the brain to reduce appetite, the latter is released by the cells in our large intestine, signaling decreased appetite and enhanced feelings of fullness.

Type of food

It’s not only about the hormones; the type of food that we consume heavily molds our feelings of fullness. For instance, foods rich in fiber, protein, and healthy fats can make us feel content for extended periods.

On the contrary, high-sugar foods or foods crammed with refined carbohydrates can trigger an immediate rise and subsequent crash in blood sugar levels, paving the way for hunger and fatigue.

Why You Feel Hungry and Full at the Same Time

Despite the conflicting nature of hunger and satiety, it’s feasible to experience both simultaneously. This stems from various causes.

  • Out of sync signals: There could be times when our body’s hunger and satiety signals are out of sync. For instance, consuming food too swiftly may not provide adequate time for the body to register fullness, eliciting mixed signals of hunger and satiety.
  • Specific diet patterns: Certain eating patterns or dietary choices could contribute to this paradox. Consuming a high-carbohydrate meal may escalate blood sugar levels rapidly, only to crash later, resulting in both fatigue and feelings of hunger. Likewise, a high-fat meal might delay fullness signals, generating conflicting feelings of hunger and satiety.
  • Hormonal influence: Hormones can also sway the hunger-fullness conundrum. For instance, insulin resistance, a condition reducing our body’s responsiveness to insulin, can promote mixed feelings of hunger and satiety, owing to insulin’s role in both hunger and satiety regulation.
  • Medical Conditions: Diverse medical conditions, ranging from diabetes and hypothyroidism to polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) can potentially affect hunger and fullness signals. These conditions often orchestrate hormonal imbalances throughout the body, leading to fluctuations in appetite and weight. If persistent anomalous feelings of hunger and fullness are detected, it’s crucial to seek medical assistance.


Eating Habit to Avoid Hungry and Full at the Same Time

Mindful Eating

Like I said before, you must understand and listen to your body. Mindful eating makes this possible!

One good idea is mindful eating. This means paying full attention when you eat. Really enjoy your food.

The goal is to know what your body wants, avoid distractions, and connect with your hunger and fullness feelings. Mindful eating involves:

  • Eating at a slower pace and savoring every morsel
  • Paying heed to the varied attributes of the food, including its taste, texture, and aroma
  • Steering clear of distractions such as electronic devices during meal times
  • Being receptive to our body’s signals and stopping once a sense of fullness sets in


A stressed woman with a lot of food in front of her


Emotional Eating 

Emotional eating, or the tendency to rely on food as a coping mechanism during stressful situations, can also distort the perception of hunger and satiety.

Emotions trigger hormonal responses and physiological reactions in our body, which can interfere with the accuracy of hunger and fullness cues, leading to overeating or even under-eating in some cases.

Common emotional eating drivers include:

  • High-pressure situations or environments
  • Boredom or feelings of isolation
  • Difficult emotions such as anger and sadness

To navigate emotional eating skilfully, it’s pivotal to identify the triggers and establish effective coping mechanisms.

These can include physical activities, seeking professional help, engaging in art or music, meditation, or other practices that aid in stress management.


Lifestyle Change

Lifestyle and dietary adaptations can immensely contribute to reestablishing normalcy to our hunger and satiety signals and aid in the development of healthier eating practices. Strategies could encompass:

  • Consuming balanced meals, dense in whole foods and nutrient-rich ingredients
  • Minimizing the intake of processed, high-sugar, and refined carbohydrate-rich foods
  • Maintaining regularity in meal and snack times to stabilize blood sugar levels
  • Incorporating physical exercise to assist the digestive process, and subsequently, appetite regulation


a Woman Feeling Full and hungry at the same time with a bad lifestyle



Why am I hungry and full at the same time?

Sometimes, you may feel this way. It could be because your body’s signals are mixed up. Things like not focusing, feeling sad, being sick, or not eating right can cause it.

How can paying attention to what I eat make me feel less hungry?

Eating mindfully is a good idea. It helps you pay attention to what, when, and how you’re eating. This can help you understand when you’re really hungry or full. Overeating or not eating enough can be avoided.

Are there foods that make me feel less hungry or more full?

Definitely! Foods like fruits, veggies, proteins, and healthy fats are great. These foods can help manage your hunger. Especially foods high in fiber and protein. They keep you full for a long time.

Why does feeling stressed make me want to eat more or less?

Stress makes your body create a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol can make you want to eat sweets, fats, and salts a lot. Sometimes, people eat to feel better when they’re stressed. That can mess up how hungry or full you feel.

Can being sick change how hungry or full I am?

Yes, sickneses like diabetes, hypothyroidism, and PCOS can mess up your hunger. If you’re eating too much or too little a lot, go see a doctor.

Does not moving around a lot make me hungrier?

Indeed, moving helps your body use food right. It’s a part of your metabolism and keeps your stomach health good. If you don’t move a lot, it may make you feel hungry all the time.

Can being sick change how hungry or full I am?

Yes, illnesses like diabetes, hypothyroidism, and PCOS may affect your hunger. If you feel odd when eating, talk to a doctor.

Does not moving make me hungrier?

Indeed, exercise helps you use energy right and keeps your stomach healthy. Without it, you could feel hungry all the time.

Can focusing at meals help with feeling hungry or full?

For sure! Distractions, like phones, make it hard to notice your body’s signals. By only focusing on eating, you’ll develop better habits.

Will changing how I eat help me feel hunger and fullness better?

Yes! Eating more balanced, healthy foods and having set meal times can help you understand if you’re really hungry or full.

Why does being bored make me want to eat?

Eating can happen when you’re bored. This type of eating isn’t because you’re hungry. You’re just looking for something to do. Recognize real hunger from boredom eating.

Do hunger and fullness signals work together?

Yes, they do. Your body’s systems control hunger and fullness together. Hormones like ghrelin, leptin, and cholecystokinin are involved. Balancing these signals is key for healthy eating.


Final Thoughts

Your body talks to itself about when to eat and when to stop. This chat helps your body stay balanced.

But sometimes, things can change this balance. Being mindful about your eating, knowing when you’re eating for reasons other than hunger, checking for illnesses, and changing habits can help you understand and react better to these hunger and fullness signals.

It’s key to listen to your body and form good eating habits for a healthy digestion system.

Excessive eating from health issues that change hunger and fullness signals may need a doctor’s help. So, be sure to check up!