It’s easy to feel like we’re losing control of our health-related goals after we eat a few too many slices of pizza and have one too many ice creams on a hot day. All year long, and in the summertime especially, we are hard on ourselves for not eating “correctly” and overeating “bad” food to the point of feeling guilty. For a lot of people, this post-binge circus of emotions can lead them to become frustrated, disappointed, and flustered–miserable to the point of either “giving up” and consuming even more food, or constricting themselves and scolding their reflections in the mirror. Rather than resort to one of these common tactics, however, I want to share with you five steps to take after you overeat that will actually make you feel better instead.
This might seem minimal, but taking deep, meaningful breaths will help you to clear your head and enter a more logical mindset. You overate and that’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with consuming extra calories as long as it’s not something you do regularly and as long as you are more careful to eat more nutritionally balanced for your next meals. Breathe deeply and remember that ultimately, being alive and able to eat the food you love is something to be grateful for, and you shouldn’t punish yourself just because you momentarily over-enjoyed the plate in front of you.
2. Take a walk
Walking for a bit will clear your head and help aid in digestion to make your bloating go down so that you don’t feel the full effects of the extra food you ate. Taking a nice walk outside, or doing some light exercise like a few jumping jacks if you’re indoors will help you feel more productive. By doing this, you will be making an effort to do something positive for your body that will benefit you in the long run.
3. Take a Shower
There are few things in the world that can match the simple pleasure of taking a shower and changing into comfortable clothing. Taking a shower really helps to make me feel better after overindulging in my favorite foods. I don’t know why exactly, but I feel much less stressed after showering and as though I’ve cleaned off the stressors that plague me, like eating too much cake.
4. Call a Friend
Call a friend or family member and ask them about their day. Take the focus off of yourself, and listen to what the last few hours or days have looked like for someone you care about. For even quicker results, reach out to someone you’re close with but haven’t spoken to recently. Doing this will help you calm down and take yourself outside of your own head for a bit. And by the time you finish your conversation, you’ll forget why you even called.
5. Drink Water and Remember That You’re Fine
For every time that I’ve overeaten and freaked out afterward, driving myself to feel insecure and guilty for being overindulgent, I’ve only created an unproductive time period filled with negativity. However, I would have been much better off having a glass of water and calming down, realizing that logistically, it’s unrealistic that every single meal we have is going to be what we would consider “perfect.” We eat three meals a day, 365 days a year…that’s 1,095 meals in one year! So rather than feel badly about yourself for eating more than you believe you should have, remember that life is too short to scold ourselves for something that can be remedied by future awareness and exercise. And life is always better when we relax and stay positive!