You know when you ate too much food. Your stomach starts to bloat, you develop the characteristic overeating pain (most likely caused by gas) and you're left sitting on the couch saying, "I'm so full!" While it feels good in the moment, you're probably looking for some relief after overeating.
The best remedy for overeating is time — ultimately, you just have to let your digestive system do its job — but there are some simple steps that you can take to help speed up the process.
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What to Do After Overeating
One of the best things you can do after overeating is go for a short walk. While you may be tempted to lie down and sleep it off, resist the urge. Gentle movement like walking actually helps aid digestion and can help balance blood sugar levels, according to Piedmont Healthcare.
Michigan Health adds that you shouldn't overexert yourself, though. If you run or walk too fast, blood will travel to your legs instead of your stomach and digestion will slow down even more.
Slowly sipping on water can also help relieve the overeating pain by helping to flush out excess sodium from the body. Remember: the key words here are "slowly sipping." If you chug water or drink too much at once, it can add to the volume in your stomach and make you feel worse. Choose flat water instead of carbonated, which can add gas to your belly and also make things worse.
Piedmont Healthcare also recommends taking a probiotic, which can help improve digestion and the absorption of the nutrients from the food you're eating. Digestive enzymes may also help, but they're typically taken before a meal and not after.
Read more: How to Stop Overeating on the Weekends
How to Avoid Overeating Pain
Of course, the best thing to do is avoid overeating in the first place. That advice may not help you in this moment, but next time you're faced with the temptation to overindulge, the American Council on Exercise has some helpful tips that you can try:
- Eat before you're hungry. One of the best ways to avoid overeating is to get a healthy meal in before you start to feel ravenous. Often, overeating happens because you wait too long to eat and by the time you do, you feel like you can't get the food down fast enough. If you eat a small meal every few hours, however, you can stay satiated, which makes it less likely that you'll overdo it.
- Manage your stress. Another reason for overeating is too much stress. When you're stressed out, your body releases a hormone called cortisol, which increases appetite. Stress also makes it more likely that you'll reach for unhealthy foods, like those that are high in sugar, fat or both, according to Harvard Health Publishing. Keep your stress levels under control by decreasing your workload, incorporating yoga and meditation, and spending some time having fun.
- Wait before you get seconds. When you're eating something like pizza, it's easy to eat three or four slices because it tastes so good, but often, you eat those slices your stomach even has time to register that you're full and you're left there in pain saying, "I'm so full." Instead of eating quickly, have a small amount of food and then wait for 10 minutes to decide if you want more or if your stomach is full. If you give it the right amount of time, you'll often find that it's the latter.