More than half of Americans admit that they overeat, at least occasionally. This usually happens on holidays or special occasions when there are a lot of extra-delicious foods spread around. Not only will you take in too many calories, but you will feel overstuffed and even miserable as well. It's too easy to let Aunt Mildred talk you into "just one more" piece of pecan pie when you're already stuffed. What to do when you overeat? Rather than wait for hours for your tummy to digest its overload, there are a few simple remedies you can try at home.
What to Do When You Overeat and Feel Sick
1. Drink Some Herbal Tea
Both chamomile and chicory-root tea can help relax you and your digestive tract. They are naturally caffeine-free, so will not harm you in any way. Chicory has a flavor similar to that of roasted coffee beans, and helps with digestion. Chicory can also be found in coffee substitute hot drinks. If you overeat in the evening, you can drink chamomile tea for a restful night's sleep.
2. Walk the Dog
You may not feel like getting off the couch, but an after-dinner walk is one of the best things you can do. The exercise doesn't need to be strenuous, but it should accelerate the food moving through your digestive system. It's a far better alternative than an espresso which has no effect on digestion.
3. Try Peppermint
That after-dinner peppermint has a purpose after all. It relieves upset stomach, gas, and nausea, as well as freshens your breath. Peppermint tea is a nice alternative. On the downside, peppermint releases a chemical that may relax the esophageal sphincter, which will allow stomach acid to backwash, increasing heartburn irritation.
4. Avoid Port Wine
When you're wondering what to do when you overeat and feel sick, here's what not to do. Port wine, often served at restaurants as a digestive aid, actually contributes to the bloated, gassy feeling. The fructose is broken down by bacteria in the colon after it's passed through the small intestine, and as a result, gas is released.
5. Take Activated Charcoal Tablets
Activated charcoal is something almost every household has. Being useful for so many things, upset stomach is one of the major issues it can solve. Choose chewable tablets or powder. Stir a spoonful of powder into a glass of water or juice. Activated charcoal neutralizes the hydrogen in abdominal gas, negating the unpleasant odor. It also absorbs toxins in the body. But consult your doctor if you are taking heart meds in case any interaction may occur.
6. Keep Away from Laxatives
A myth that some people with eating disorders buy into is that taking a laxative following a large meal will speed up digestion and relieve bloating. The fallacy with this theory is that a laxative works on emptying the colon. Right after a meal, your food is still in your stomach where the digestive process is working. Then it travels through the small intestine to reach the colon.
7. Take OTC Medicine
What to do when you overeat and feel sick? There are several acceptable over-the-counter remedies that relieve gas and bloating. Simethicone is a major player among these medicines as it makes the gas bubbles easier to pass. OTCs that contain simethicone include Mylicon, Alka-Seltzer Anti-Gas, and Gas-X.
Experiences on What to Do When Overeating
"For me, a walk after overeating is the best thing. If you like herbal tea, try a cup and then take a walk."
"Drink a glass of water with a half-teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda stirred in. It will cause burping, but you'll feel much better afterwards. Go easy on the soda, as too much will cause vomiting."
"What works for me is a ginger ale or a piece of ginger candy. Ginger settles my stomach immediately. I eat lightly the next day, too, which helps."
"I've discovered that eating a piece of fruit–pineapple, apple, or maybe mango–really helps my digestion. There are good digestive enzymes in fruit, especially the bromelain in pineapple. I've tried apple cider vinegar, too, but it's strong stuff to drink."
How to Go Back on Track After Overeating
Now that you know what to do when you overeat and feel sick, you need to be aware that overeating has negative influence on your digestive health. Here is what you can do to get over it and establish healthy eating habits.
1. Accept and Relax
Everyone needs a treat occasionally, or else it's too hard to stick with a sensible food lifestyle. If you overindulge one day, don't beat yourself up, or feel that there's no use in trying. Just accept that you had a day off, but tomorrow you'll be right back on track. Depending on your body size and structure, you need to consume around 3,500 calories to put on a pound of body fat.
2. Cut Back and Eat Small Meals
It doesn't do any good to skip meals the day following an overindulgent meal. Skipping meals causes hunger, which may lead to overeating again. Start your day with a solid breakfast, such as oatmeal, fruit, and whole-grain toast. Eat a sensible mid-day meal with veggies and lean protein. Eat a light supper that can be easily digested before you sleep. Fresh fruit and a slice of whole-grain toast with margarine is a good choice. If you must snack between meals, choose raw veggies or a handful of nuts or dried fruits.
3. Don't Weigh Yourself
Resist the urge to weigh yourself the next day after you've overeaten. The reason your weight may be higher is that the extra salt in all the food you ate makes you retain water. Try weighing only on Fridays after you've spent all week recovering from overeating.
4. Keep a Food Diary
Keep a detailed diary of every bite that goes into your mouth. This will keep you aware of where those extra calories are sneaking in from.