So you’ve just finished a massive, delicious meal – but now you have to pay the price for eating too much. When you overeat, your body can start to feel bloated and lethargic. You may even start to experience abdominal pain and cramping. Regardless of what symptoms may accompany the feeling of stuffiness, this physical discomfort can put a damper on the rest of your day.
While the best way to deal with overeating would be to avoid it by always eating in moderation, honestly sometimes this is easier said than done. When you have all of your favorite foods in front of you, the temptation can be overwhelming—especially during food-centric holidays like Thanksgiving. So how do you keep your eyes from getting bigger than your stomach while indulging in decadent, delicious food?
If you find yourself overeating and more often than not feeling very full after chewing, you’re not alone. To find the best ways to take a healthy approach to overeating damage control, we consulted several nutritionists to get their insights. So here are some dietitian-recommended tips to help you handle your post-meal slump after you’ve eaten too much—and for more dietitian-approved healthy eating tips, also read The 5 Best Eating Habits to Boost Your Metabolism, Say Dietitians .
Make sure you stay hydrated
Eating foods higher in sodium “may contribute to feeling ‘bloated’ or bloated the next day,” he says Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LDwho is the author Handbook of sports nutrition and a member of our professional medical board. That’s why Goodson stresses the importance of making sure you stay hydrated before and after a big meal.
In addition to drinking lots of water, you can also try to increase hydration by adding something extra to your drink.
“One thing you can do is hydrate throughout the day with water infusions like this Apple Cider Vinegar Lemon ‘Detox’ Drink or this Cranberry Orange Ginger Detox Water,” she says Tammy Lakatos Shames, RDN, CDN, CFTand Lyssie Lakatos, RDN, CDN, CFT, also known as The Nutrition Twins. “Fluid will help restore normal hydration status by flushing out excess sodium, sugar, water that is retained in them, and relieves bloating and heaviness.”
After a big meal, go for a walk
One of the best things you can do for yourself to give yourself instant relief after eating too much and feeling too full is to go for a walk after your meal.
“Walking helps clear your mind. And if you sweat, you can excrete some chemicals and small amounts of salt while increasing blood flow to the brain,” says the Nutrition Twins. “You’ll burn a few extra calories doing it, which will help offset some of the extra calories you may have consumed.”
If you’re not in the mood for a walk, Goodson has some alternative suggestions for getting your body moving after a heavy meal.
“You can start a friendly soccer game in the backyard with the family,” suggests Goodson. “Or if that doesn’t work, hit the gym the next morning or park in the back of all the parking lots when you go out to run errands.”
Get back on track with some veggies
According to Nutrition Twins, eating antioxidant-rich, fiber-packed vegetables at your next meal can help your body get back to feeling better.
“Vegetable fiber helps push waste and toxins out of the colon, helping you stay regular so you can get back to it quickly and feel lighter,” says the Nutrition Twins. “And the antioxidants in green vegetables counteract some of the damage caused by overindulging in inflammatory sugary, fatty and highly processed foods.”
Start the next morning with a balanced breakfast
One of the things you can do the day after you overdo it with food is to make sure you start your day with a healthy and balanced breakfast.
“The day after your binge, start with a high-protein, high-fiber breakfast to get your blood sugar going in the right direction,” says Goodson. “Eggs and oatmeal or whole-wheat toast with peanut butter and a side of Greek yogurt are great options. This will help you feel better throughout the day.”
Born and raised in Orlando, Florida, Samantha now works as a writer in Brooklyn, NY. Read about Samantha