The First Thing You Should Do After You Eat Too Much

It's happened to us all. Whether at a holiday (hello, Thanksgiving!) or just a particularly great weeknight meal, we've eaten too much and feel heavy, bloated, sluggish, and uncomfortable (and that's even while wearing our "stretchy" pants).

The average stomach can comfortably hold 1 to 2 cups of food, according to OSF Healthcare. And you ate... much more than that. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to feel better quickly.

The first thing you should do? Go for a walk. Even though you might feel a strong urge to go lay on the couch, that's not a good idea. Lying down can lead to indigestion, heartburn, and acid reflux, and your stomach can empty more quickly when the body is upright, according to Insider. Instead, one of the best things you can do is go for a walk, even if it's only for five or 10 minutes. Walking stimulates digestion and can help balance blood sugar levels, which can shoot up after overeating. 

Kristen Smith, MS, R.D., a bariatric surgery coordinator at Piedmont Healthcare, says, "A walk outside... doesn't mean you're walking off what you've eaten, it just helps regulate the body and aids in digestion."

Walking can stimulate digestion

Sipping water can help prevent constipation, and can also help flush out some of the excess sodium that you likely consumed. Pass on the carbonated drinks though, which can make you feel even more bloated.

After overeating, don't beat yourself up. Overindulging at one meal won't lead to weight gain if you don't do it all the time. Kim McClintic, MS, RD, LDN, a registered dietician in Bloomington, Illinois, suggests, "Avoid negative self-talk, guilt, and regret. The attitude of, 'I already blew it, I ate too much, I may as well wait ...' can dictate your food choices for the next several days or weeks. Everyone has an oops, so just get back on track." 

Looking ahead and planning healthy meals and moderately-sized portions for the upcoming week can help foster a positive outlook, as well as help prevent overeating in the days ahead.