We’ve all been there – that family feast or superb restaurant where we just couldn’t say no, and ended up eating way too much.
When that happens, your body has to work on overdrive, causing a spike in blood sugar, upset stomach, and serious lethargy. Light exercise and keeping hydrated is the key to easing your discomfort, even though you probably don’t feel like moving anywhere.
Junk food is typically associated with overeating, but you can actually overdo the healthy foods too. Robert Glatter, M.D., defines overeating, or eating too much, as a situation of eating an excess amount of food in relation to how much your body needs, and can handle, at once
How Much is Too Much?
There are factors that need to be taken into consideration when working out how much food is too much for an individual. Body composition, age, height, how active you are, your sleeping patterns, medical conditions, and even your health goals should all be taken into consideration.
Registered dietician Grace Derocha says that: “Individuals can measure how much is too much by combining food journaling, portion control, and measurement with mindfulness and intuitive eating.”
The Tell-Tale Signs
If you experience a feeling of a hot flash while you’re eating, and the food isn’t spicy, Derocha says this could be a clear indication of overeating, as your body temperature goes up as you digest.
If you need to take breaks to finish your meal, or need to loosen your clothes to cope with bloating or discomfort, you have likely eaten too much. Fullness cues aren’t just physical, though. “If the thought of finishing what’s on your plate or already in your mouth is unbearable,” Derocha says, “this signifies you have fully satisfied your hunger and are full.”
Overworking the Body
Although overeating may satisfy us in the moment, it can do some damage to your insides, says Derocha.
It can cause a spike in your blood sugar levels because your body overcompensates and produces more insulin than usual to keep your blood sugar levels in a healthy range. This may make you have headaches, fatigue, or thirst, and you may store the excess blood sugar, leading to weight gain.
Glatter says that when you overeat, your digestive organ actually swells, causing bloating, discomfort, nausea, and sometimes acid reflux. When food takes a long time to break down, your sleep patterns and brain functionality can be distorted, Derocha adds.
If you do eat too much, don’t beat yourself up about it mentally. Move forward instead, and have healthy, nutrient-dense foods for your next meal.
Derocha says that you should drink the six to eight recommended glasses of water per day to keep hydrated, help your body digest, and help flush the excess sodium out of your system.
Rigorous exercise isn’t a good idea after overeating, but going for a walk or doing some yoga may help you feel better and maybe burn some of the excess calories off.