Feeling Like You Overate? 7 Tips to Eliminate Guilt & Increase Comfort

We’ve all been there. Maybe you went a few hours too many without eating, maybe you were feeling extra intense cravings during your time of the month, or maybe the food you were eating just tasted so good that it was essentially impossible to stop. No matter your reason, we’ve all overeaten before, and odds are that afterwards, we’ve also all been left with a sickly feeling in our stomachs, the combination of physical bloating and discomfort juxtaposed with the psychological guilt of “losing control” and eating too much.

While it's important to recognize that you're far from alone in having this experience, it's even more important to develop strategies to deal with these feelings and avoid overeating in the future. Here are my best tips to achieve this.

  1. 1. Take a deep breath

    I get it. You’ve just eaten way more than what you originally intended, and you may be feeling anxious, guilty or out of control. While all of these emotions are often natural instincts to overeating, it’s important to keep in mind that this is totally natural and happens to everyone from time to time — even the most experienced intuitive eaters and the perfectly curated models and influencers you see on social media! 

    Best of all, our bodies are prepared and equipped to properly regulate our blood sugar and other metabolic processes so that in just a few short hours, we will be feeling completely back to normal. Try your best not to sweat it!

  2. 2. Change your clothes

    Woman in Loungewear

    You may be bloated from eating too much, but if you’re wearing tight jeans or a fitted top, the restrictiveness of your clothing is only adding to feelings of discomfort. Swap out your mealtime attire for something far more relaxed, like leggings or sweatpants and a hoodie or oversized top.

  3. 3. Drink some water

    Too often, we shy away from drinking extra water when we’re feeling bloated or extremely full because we feel as though the extra liquid will contribute even further to our bloating. However, the opposite is true. An increase in hydration will actually help reduce swelling and flush out extraneous fluids and salts that our bodies may be retaining. As a result, it’s even more important than ever that we stay hydrated!

  4. 4. Stretch out

    Woman doing yoga with plants and candles

    While exercise may be the last thing we want to do on an uncomfortably full stomach, some gentle movement is great for releasing tension and getting things moving in our digestive systems. Settle on some low-impact yoga or simply hold a handful of basic stretches for a few moments to watch both your physical and mental distress start to float away.

  5. 5. Do something you enjoy

    Just like anything in life, overeating tends to feel a lot less heavy when we’re not dwelling on it or allowing it to consume all of our thoughts. Instead, focus on immersing yourself in an activity that will take attention off your most recent meal and give it to something far more productive. Maybe for you a positive distraction means watching your favorite show on Netflix or curling up with a riveting novel. Or, perhaps your mind is best distracted by chatting with a friend or diving into some schoolwork with approaching deadlines.

    Regardless of what works best for you personally, find something that will take your mind off of the discomfort you’re experiencing; the possibilities are endless!

  6. 6. Don't restrict as punishment

    fondue pot with food

    After eating far too much, the instinctual reaction is to avoid eating for a longer than necessary period of time simply to offset the higher amount of calories consumed during the large meal. Avoid doing this at all costs! No matter what happened at your previous meal, enter the next meal with an entirely clear mindset, eating just as you would entirely absent of your most recent dietary habits. When we try to “balance” a far-too-big meal with a far-too-small meal later in the day, we simply fall further down the rabbit hole of disordered eating patterns. Do your best to simply move on and eat as intuitively as possible!

  7. 7. Slow down and honor your hunger cues

    Sure, you have already overeaten, and there’s no true way to change that reality. However, we can prevent it from happening in the future, and the best way to do this is to eat more slowly at meal time. Overeating most often occurs when we eat too quickly for our bodies to properly register changes in hunger and thus send a message to the brain to stop eating. Why do we eat so quickly that our brain can’t keep up to begin with? This is usually a product of restricting for too long prior to mealtime, and as a result, we overindulge. If we truly listen to our hunger cues, ravenous eating no longer remains a future concern.

With these strategies in mind, you’ll have an easier time preventing yourself from overeating the next time. However, it’s okay if overeating happens on occasion, so don’t beat yourself up over it. You’re human and it’s normal!