Ate too much? Do This...

By Amber Charles, MSPH, RDN

April 5, 2021


If you've "eaten too much" (past fullness) or "overindulged" in desserts over the weekend, you're likely feeling bloated, guilty and stressed about getting your nutrition "back on track".


Maybe this drive to 'right the wrong' is motivated by weight loss and body image struggles. I get it.


However, instead of starting a new #diet on Monday, trying out the latest #detox, or feeling like a failure, do these simple, effective and sustainable tasks to stay the course.


This blog explains what you can do after overeating.

Picture: Wix/stock images


Maintain perspective

The urge to rely on a quick fix is usually strongest after overeating.


The 3-day cleanse, fasting or laxative may bring rapid relief.


However, these practices perpetuate a negative relationship with food and take you further away from building the #sustainablenutrition habits that you desire.


You don't need to restrict your intake or over-exercise to make up for eating too much - this all-or-nothing mindset usually backfires (#shocked).


Skip the quick fix.


What you can do: decide that what's done is done - it was neither horrible nor beyond repair. You are capable of making decisions about your food that nourishes your body, makes you feel good and support your health goals.


Hydrate

The benefits of drinking enough water cannot be overstated.


Being dehydrated has a negative impact on your kidneys, bowels (#constipation), skin, temperature control, energy levels and mental focus (1).

Sufficient water intake also supports the liver and kidneys cleansing your body - the body's natural detoxing mechanisms (hence, you don't need a dietary detox).


What you can do: drink adequate fluids throughout the day - aim for 30 mL of water for every kilogram of body weight.


That's 1140 mL for someone that weighs 68 kg (150 pounds). Increase your intake if you're very active.


What counts:

  • Water: plain water, water infused with fruit, flavored water (zero calorie)

  • Teas: green tea, black tea, herbal teas (ginger tea)

  • Fruits and vegetables with a high-water content (watermelon, watercress, oranges)

Move your body

Not only does a post-meal walk improve your blood sugar, it also supports healthy digestion which may reduce the overeating bloat (2, 3).


Moving your body does not have to be a form of punishment for your weekend fiesta and foodie indulgence.

Physical activity helps your body to use additional calories and sugar in the blood, sweat to naturally detox, improve your mood and energy levels, and build muscle.


What you can do: keep it simple, guilt free and fun. Engage in exercises or physical activity that you enjoy and can maintain without necessarily focusing on changing your body (there's so much freedom in that).


Try walking, swimming, high intensity interval training (HIIT) or any other forms of physical activity that you normally engage in.


Takeaway

While overeating is neither a horrible nor irreparable situation, the urge to detox, diet and restrict often lurk and compel you to panic.


Resist the urge and stay the course by ditching the quick fix, hydrate through fluids and fruits and move your body without trying to change your body or make up for overeating.

References:

  1. Effects of Dehydration and Fluid Ingestion on Cognition

  2. Slow postmeal walking reduces postprandial glycemia in middle-aged women (cdnsciencepub.com)

  3. Carbohydrate restriction with postmeal walking effectively mitigates postprandial hyperglycemia and improves endothelial function in type 2 diabetes | American Journal of Physiology-Heart and Circulatory Physiology

This information is intended for nutrition education purposes only. Always consult with your medical team and Registered Dietitian on a one-on-one basis to determine what is best for you and your medical needs.

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