We’ve all been there. You just indulged in a delicious food you love and accidentally went a little overboard. After overeating, you now feel completely stuffed and uncomfortable.
Whether it’s too much dinner or a few too many Sweetarts, it’s not a nice feeling.
Sometimes your binge is associated with negative feelings, such as guilt or shame.
Because I think it’s important that we’re kind to ourselves, it helps to have a game plan for when this happens. While negative emotions are sometimes helpful in initiating a positive change, everyone overeats from time to time.
So rather than beat yourself up about it – when you’re already in physical pain – try turning it into a positive with these suggestions!
What to Do After Overeating
Remember that everyone does this
First of all, you’re not the only one who occasionally eats too much. Everyone overeats from time to time.
It’s not just you. You’re not abnormal.
In fact, societal influences set us up to overeat. Registered Dietitian Emily Field says in this Shape article, “We live in an age where hyper-palatable food is highly available for cheap.” Food is so easy to get, extremely cheap, tastes so darn good, and is sold in large portions…it’s a wonder we don’t overeat at every meal!
So if you get nothing else out of this post, please understand that everyone’s in the same boat and does this too. After all, food is delicious! I won’t argue that!
Reflect on why it happened
Mindfulness is the key to getting to know ourselves better. The more self-aware you become, the easier it will be to make changes.
So let’s say you just ate a whole frozen pizza by yourself on a Wednesday night. Now your stomach is fit to burst and you’re brimming with regret.
Ask yourself: why did it happen?
At first thought, you think, “It was so tasty I just couldn’t stop eating it.”
On further inspection, you remember that you felt decently full after your first serving, but that your TV show was no longer entertaining enough to distract you from feeling lonely. You wished you had someone sitting next to you on the couch tonight. So you ambled into the kitchen for another serving of comfort food.
When you take an extra moment to reflect, you may be surprised at what you realize.
Feelings of boredom, loneliness, sadness, stress, and depression can all be triggers to eat more than you would otherwise.
Once you realize if one of these feelings was the cause of your overeating, you can be on the lookout for it in the future.
Using this example, you recognize that loneliness is causing you to want more food than you really need. Rather than diving for extra pizza in the future, you call someone (mom, sibling, friend, etc.) and visit with them instead.
Get rid of foods that trigger you
You can’t eat it if you don’t have it!
Let’s say you just binged on a family-sized bag of chips. You feel nice and bloated from the salt, but just couldn’t resist. You LOVE chips and salsa (dude, me too!).
But while you may love them, it’s probably unwise to keep them around the house all the time. You’re practically setting yourself up for overeating.
Now, I’ve tried simply not buying my trigger foods (for me, that’s usually chocolate for my nighttime sweet tooth). But honestly, that usually results in me sitting at home, dreaming about these foods and feeling sad.
So instead, I have a couple of better tips for you!
Find healthier alternatives for your favorites. Instead of buying tortilla chips, try buying carrot chips! I love dipping these in salsa or an oil-based salad dressing. You still get the crunch and the savory flavors, but you’ll feel way better from eating them.
My other tip is to get pre-portioned snacks. Now, you have to make sure you don’t go for more than one portion or it kinda defeats the purpose. But by getting a small, one-serving bag of chips instead pulling from a family-sized one, you’re stopping your overeating at the source. This is a tactic you could use for any of your favorite snacks.
If you’re worried you’d open up another portion, consider leaving the rest at your work and just take one portion home every day.
Go on a walk
While the last thing you may want to do is move right after overeating, it will help your digestive system get moving too.
Try going on a light walk around the area. You don’t need to move fast – in fact, I’d suggest you don’t so as not to upset your stomach further.
While walking is beneficial for digestion, it will also help you burn some of the calories you just ate. That’s great for both your body and your mind!
Since overeating can often lead to feelings of guilt and shame, you can now appreciate that you’re working to counter the excess food you just ate.
Keep in mind, though, that this walk shouldn’t be considered punishment or be done only to burn off calories. It’s only intended to help you begin to feel better in a productive way.
Plus fresh air can do you wonders.
Distract yourself while you wait it out
Sitting there all mad at yourself isn’t the most constructive way to push through your discomfort. Once you’ve acknowledged how you feel and reflected on what happened, it’s time to move on.
Watch your favorite TV show or read a book. Meet up with friends or call someone.
Whatever you choose, make sure it’s something you enjoy. It’s a great opportunity for some self care and self love.
If you need more ideas, check out this post for some great ones: Self Care Ideas to Unwind and Refresh.
Refocus and use your next meal to get back on track
Sometimes it takes an overindulgence for me to remember why healthy eating is so important. Not only is it great for your body’s overall health, it helps you FEEL your best too.
So turn that crumby overeating feeling into a positive! Use it as a jumping off point to recommit to your healthy eating goals.
Start with your next meal. Whether it’s later on that same day or the next morning, your body will likely be up for something light and fresh. Go for a meal with fruits and vegetables, and enjoy how much better it makes you feel.
Note: If your overeating is becoming a consistent, frequent problem that you feel is affecting your wellness, I would definitely urge you to consider consulting a doctor or registered dietitian. They have the knowledge and tools to help you address the problem and get back on track. This post is not meant to provide a diagnosis or replace the advice of a qualified health professional.
Health and wellness is not simply eating healthy and exercising. It’s balancing your responsibilities and mental wellness too. I hope you got some good ideas for what to do after overeating so you can move on in a healthy way!
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