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overeat nutrition

What to do if you've overeaten

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overeatPhoto: Shutterstock

We all know the feeling all too well: After being presenting with a spread of good food, you’ve allowed yourself to overindulge. What follows soon after are feelings of shame, guilt, and regret, because you know you’ve eaten more than you should have.

Besides these feelings, there are also a few other physical symptoms to hint to you that you’ve eaten more than your body can handle:

Feeling full
When you overeat, the stomach and intestines will emit satiety hormones like oxyntomodulin and peptide tyrosine-tyrosine (PYY), to indicate to the brain that it can start reducing appetite. The hormone leptin also gets involved to signal the body that it no longer requires additional energy from food. However, these feelings of fullness often take time to register, which is why you are more likely to overeat when you eat too fast.


Having to digest the large meal you’ve just had, your small intestine would signal your brain for the body to get some rest, causing a drop in wakefulness. In order to process all the additional sugar in your bloodstream after overeating, your body’s insulin levels would rise, in turn causing higher levels of drowsiness.

overeatPhoto: Shutterstock

Feeling bloated
The human stomach is typically able to hold around one litre of liquid or two cups of food. Filling up your stomach over this capacity would cause it to expand, resulting in you feeling stuffed or bloated. This discomfort could last for a while, or even a few hours, depending on what you ate, whether you drank too much soda or had a high-fat meal.
But instead of feeling sorry for yourself after overindulging during a meal, take action to make yourself feel better!


Hydrating after a large meal and on the following day can help you with your digestion, and avoid constipation. Drinking tea, particularly peppermint tea, is also a natural treatment for problems that come with overeating, namely irritable bowel syndrome and bloating.

overeatPhoto: Shutterstock

Get moving
When you feel bloated and full, you’ll feel the urge to lay down or slump against the chair, but taking a light stroll could be the best option to get things moving and improve digestion. Beat that sluggish feeling the following day by going for a cardio session – sweating it all out might just be what you need to feel more refreshed!

Eat clean and simple
After eating a huge meal, you’ve put your digestive system through enough. If you’re experiencing indigestion, opt for light meals that will not put your body through another intense digestion process. You will never go wrong with some fresh fruits and vegetables.

More fibre
You might think you’re doing yourself a favour by skipping breakfast the next day, but getting a filling breakfast that is full of fibre is the wiser choice. The fibre can aid your digestion and keeps you filled up for the day, which prevents you from snacking or overindulging in a big lunch.

At the end of day, overindulging in a meal is understandable and happens to everyone on occasion. It’s more important to make sure that overeating remains a rare occurrence and that you’re still on a healthy diet the rest of the time.

Ultimately, the best solution is still prevention. Try not to skip meals as they may result in an appetite larger than usual when you’re hungry, and remember to eat slowly to avoid overeating.


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