Have you ever so thoroughly indulged yourself during a meal that you’ve felt horrible afterward? You might have regretted how sluggish and heavy you felt following a big meal. It may even be a staple part of your holiday meals with friends or family. Being too full and a little uncomfortable may almost be a tradition!
Naturally, most people don’t like feeling so heavy after eating big meals. It can distract you from the tasks you have to do for the day, and those groggy feelings may stick around for many hours. How can you get rid of them? Here are six things you can do to feel lighter after a heavy meal.
1. Maintain Hydration
Water can feel filling, so after a big meal, it’s tempting to want to abstain from putting anything at all into your body, even water. But you should make sure that you maintain your hydration levels after eating a lot of food at once!
Not only is water crucial to many positive body processes, including digestion, but it’s also key to helping you feel better after all that sluggishness from the food. Here are some reasons water is helpful when it comes to managing yourself after a heavy meal:
After a heavy meal, you likely want to do what you can to work off the excess calories. Drinking water can help to kickstart your metabolism, even improving the expenditure of energy while resting by an impressive 30%, according to research!
· It Helps Promote Weight Loss
Drinking water can help you lose weight, promoting several bodily processes that help you feel simultaneously fuller and lighter in everyday life. If you plan to cut back on your next meal because of the heaviness of the previous one, drinking water will aid that balance, say studies.
· It Makes You Feel Fuller The Next Time Around
To prevent yourself from continually overeating, drinking water and staying hydrated between and before meals may have positive effects. Though this in itself doesn’t necessarily help you feel lighter, it does ensure that you don’t make the same mistakes again!
The exact amount of water recommended tends to be around 500 ml or 17 ounces – basically, approximately two glasses. However, the same amount that you need and that will work for you depends
2. Do Some Yoga
When you overeat, the body can enter a sort of stress state. Yoga can help calm it down by soothing the stomach nerves, heart rate, and blood pressure through parasympathetic nervous system activation. It also boosts the release of hormones that contribute to positive thinking and happiness, like oxytocin and serotonin. It’s even been found to help severe or chronic digestive issues and symptoms! Here are some poses to look up and try:
· The Vajrasana Pose
Also known as the thunderbolt or diamond pose, this pose involves the movement from kneeling to sitting on the ground. Between five and fifteen minutes after a heavy meal, you can perform this simple pose, and it’s likely the only yoga pose that is safe to do on a full stomach. It works by aiding digestion, stimulating organs like the pancreas, kidneys, and liver, and it also just feels nice and comfortable when you’re stuffed.
· The Bhadrasana Pose
This pose is also known as the butterfly pose, referred to as a meditator’s sitting position by many. It’s gentle and doesn’t involve too much movement, so you can do it while recovering from a big meal. It is said to be good for digestion, but do note that you shouldn’t do it immediately after a meal! Give it half an hour before moving into this sitting position.
· The Pushan Mudra Pose
Often called the digestion gesture, this pose is believed to have benefits for the gallbladder, stomach, and liver. A few different variations of this interesting hand-yoga pose, with each one being meant for a different purpose. For example, you’d do a different pose to ease constipation, a different pose to aid acid reflux, and another to help with bloating or gas. Pick a posture that will help you feel lighter!
If you’d like to, you can use all three of these poses. Arrange them in order and cycle between them as you gradually work off the discomfort from your heavy meal.
3. Get In The Right Mental State
Feeling sluggish after a heavy meal can make you feel grumpy at the discomfort, ashamed or guilty for having eaten so much, or even angry at yourself for over-indulging. If you genuinely want to start feeling lighter, you have to start with your mental state. Here’s how:
· Do Not Beat Yourself Up
Don’t start feeling bad about eating a lot to the point where you feel incredibly guilty and berate yourself for it. This will become an unhealthy and unstable relationship with food, forming negative behaviors relating to disordered or emotional eating. The second you start scolding yourself, put up a stop sign and turn your attention to other thoughts.
Instead of thinking negatively about overeating, reframe the situation. Even if you are trying to watch your weight, one binge isn’t the end of the world. You can control your thoughts, and those thoughts will go on to manage your further mindset. Keep your positive thinking. Remember, eating too much isn’t a sign of failure. It just means you have to try again tomorrow and need to learn how to monitor your consumption in the future.
· Take Note Of What Happened
Your body may have an adverse reaction to the heavy meal, so note the “damage.” Be aware of the way this is affecting your body negatively and how long these effects last for. Learning about your body’s reactions to heavy meals allows you to better prepare for them in the future so you can circumvent the worst of the heaviness and their effects.
· Plan A Better Next Meal
Start feeling lighter quickly by self-monitoring, and according to research, you’ll be eating in a more balanced way again. So you’ve eaten a big meal now; your next one should likely be lighter and smaller, with healthier options on your plate. Knowing that you’ll be compensating for this heaviness can be enough to refocus you and even subconsciously make you feel less stuffed.
A little bit of physical activity after a heavy meal can be a great help to your overall feelings of lightness. While you should never engage in even moderate activity when you feel this full, a bit of a slow walk can help you feel lighter more quickly. Here’s why:
· It Helps Your Stomach Empty Itself Faster
Walking can accelerate the digestion process, allowing bloatedness and discomfort to fade more rapidly, say studies. It’s also suitable for burning a couple of additional calories if you feel that you need to; don’t do it in excess!
· It Helps You Burn Fat
Extra calories that the body can’t use are often stored as fat. This builds up over time, though, so it won’t come barrelling out of anywhere after a single heavy meal. Still, walking can help you burn off some extra energy so you don’t wind up storing as much of it, as we can infer from specific studies.
· It Makes You Feel Better
Are you feeling a little bad about eating a lot? Some walking can aid that emotional stress. Physical activity, even of a mild kind, releases hormones that contribute to positive thinking like norepinephrine and serotonin. This helps reduce feelings of anxiety, depression, and stress, allowing your mood to be improved so you can overcome the discomfort more quickly.
5. Eat Something With A Digestive Bonus
The last thing you probably want to do when you’re feeling bloated and full from a heavy meal is to eat some more. But if you’re concerned about digestion, it turns out that eating certain things may help you feel lighter a little more quickly. Here are some options that could work for you:
A digestif refers to an alcoholic beverage typically served post-meals to aid digestion. If you’re happy to drink some alcohol, you can get benefits from drinks like sambuca, cognac, sherry, and Jägermeister. Some, specifically herbal-liqueur ones, are especially beneficial thanks to their carminative effects. This means that they fight gas and encourage digestion, helping you feel lighter more quickly.
· Aromatic Bitters
These work on your digestive system almost as well as a digestive enzyme supplement. Have some in a club soda or a plain glass of water, and your stomach will thank you, especially if it’s been experiencing discomfort from the meal.
It’s up to you how you want to eat ginger to feel lighter. It admittedly seems a little strange, but research has proven its effectiveness. It works by encouraging salivary flow, contractions in the stomach, and emptying of the gastric systems.
You probably know all about the drowsiness and grogginess that pops up when you’ve just eaten a hefty meal. Your body goes into a shut-down mode in an attempt to process everything you’ve just put into it. Why not give in to its desire for rest?
The jury’s out on whether sleeping after a heavy meal is right for you or not. Some people claim that it just slows down digestion and therefore shouldn’t be done. But others state that sleeping can help your body focus entirely on the digestive process, allowing you to sleep through the worst of the discomfort from fullness, so you wake up feeling lighter.
While we’re at it, if you often overeat, make sure you’re getting enough sleep! Studies have found that sleeping too little can make you eat more because the brain needs to release additional neurotransmitters to stay alert and awake. If you need to fight cravings, sleep at least eight hours every night – or however many your doctor recommends.
Final Thoughts On Some Things You Can Do To Feel Lighter After A Heavy Meal
It’s normal to eat a bit more than necessary every once in a while, so don’t beat yourself up over it! Instead, focus on doing what you can to feel a little lighter as your digestive system works hard to handle what you’ve eaten.