Ate Too Much! Now What?


Ate Too Much! Now What?

Overeating during the silly season is something a lot of us struggle with. Food is everywhere and it can be hard to resist the Christmas treats. Unplanned binges may lead to you feeling bloated and frustrated but it doesn’t have to be this way. Don’t let a few extra calories ruin your morale. There are a few things you can do after overeating that will make you feel better physically and mentally. Read below to learn more!

Calm Down

Step one, take a chill pill. You might have eaten a few too many Ferrero Rochers but you didn’t commit a heinous crime. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Practising self compassion is going to be a much more productive use of your time. Chances are you are feeling bloated, lethargic and disappointed in yourself. Compounding these emotions with more negative thoughts is a recipe for poor mental health. Psychologists say the more negative thoughts a person has, the more likely they are to get stuck in a habit loop of feeling depressed. Don’t fall into this cognitive trap. Counter every negative thought you have with a positive one. Use the extra calories as fuel to do great things and remind yourself that a one off binge won’t derail your health and fitness goals. You’re only one meal away from being back on track. Ignore that negative voice in your head and do something your future self will thank you for.

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Drink Water

Shut the fridge door and go to the kitchen sink. A small glass of water after overeating can aid digestion. Getting hydrated is especially important if you’ve just consumed a lot of sugar, salt and alcohol. Not only does it help prevent a clanger of a hanger the next day, it also balances out your sodium levels. We should qualify that you don’t need to overdo it. Adequate water intake can improve bloating but too much will make your belly feel even bigger. Around 250ml should do the trick but it may depend on the individual. Take time to slowly sip on that H2O and give your stomach a break from food. Remember to always stay hydrated throughout the day too. Studies show that those who regularly drink water are less likely to feel hungry or be overweight. If your water consumption tends to be on the lower side and you need a New Year’s resolution, upping that intake would be a great place to start.

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Walk It Out

The next step is to go for a wander. You likely already know the numerous benefits of walking. But did you know that getting some steps after a massive munch can assist digestion and make you feel less bloated? It has been scientifically proven that light movement after a big meal can speed up the rate of stomach emptying. This means your bloating will disappear quickly and the walk itself is a great opportunity to clear your mind. Relaxing walks do wonders for your mental health and have an uncanny ability to improve mood. Hitting the pavement will also burn off a few of those extra calories and help your blood sugar return to its normal level. This is especially important for diabetics who need to be extra careful about blood glucose spikes. The next time you eat a bit more than planned, go for a walk straight afterwards. Your brain and body will be better for it.

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Sleep It Off

If you’ve just eaten and you’re still tempted to snack, a nap might be a good idea. Usually after a gluttonous meal, we feel lethargic and sleepy. This is known as ‘postprandial somnolence’ or food coma for short. Your body won’t have energy for other tasks if it is busy digesting a lot of food. No wonder people tend to lie on the couch after a generous Christmas lunch. Another reason we overeat sometimes is because we undersleep. Studies show that a night of poor sleep leads to higher calorie consumption the following day. In order to prevent overeating tomorrow, it would be wise to schedule an early bedtime. Ensuring you get sufficient sleep is essential if you’re trying to make rational food choices. We don’t tend to go for the healthy options when we are exhausted. Once you’ve gone for your post meal stroll, your next step should be planning an early bedtime or having a sleep.

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Plan Your Next Meal

Another good rule to live by is never make the same mistake twice. Plan out what your next meal will be and make sure it’s nutritious and reasonably sized. Dwelling on the past won’t do much to benefit your future self. You can’t uneat lunch but you can decide dinner. As the old adage goes, failing to prepare is preparing to fail. Don’t leave your next meal up to chance and hope to make a good decision. Decide immediately what you will have and when. If you’re stuck for inspiration, NZProtein has plenty of tasty recipes here.


Overeating is only an issue if done regularly. One off binges aren’t the end of the world and thinking negative thoughts will only make it worse. Accept that you’re going to be a bit bloated for the foreseeable future and get right back on track. Walk it off, think happy thoughts and plan your next nutritious meal. Five years from now you won’t remember the massive meal you ate during Christmas time so don’t spend more than five minutes worrying about it. Follow the recommendations listed above and you’ll be back to your usual self in no time.