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After Overeating on Thanksgiving

So – I overate on Thanksgiving. Not to the point of being so stuffed I felt sick, but I definitely had more than I needed, largely due to eating more foods that are a bit heavier than I’m used to, including pumpkin pie and whipped cream with breakfast (along with sausage, homefries, crepes, and cranberry bread), then some Indian food and more pie in the evening.

I’m quite sure I’m not alone in having too much, but the question that always follows is, what next? What do you do after overeating?

In my case, I had a restless night of sleep (always a side effect when I eat too much), and then in the morning I wasn’t hungry at all. Sometimes when I overeat, I still am hungry in the morning and will eat a light breakfast, but Friday I had some tea and then waited until I got hungry before eating.

That didn’t happen until around 11:30, and in the meantime, I focused on other things. I did go for a walk between bouts of rain, not because I felt like I should or needed to, simply because I thought it might help me feel better, which I did. I also made some carbonated water with my SodaStream to try to help settle my stomach, and that was also useful, both in making me less queasy and keeping me hydrated.

In an odd way, it may also have helped that even though I wasn’t eating, I was still focused on food, since I used the day to do lots of cooking and baking. In the morning, I made roasted vegetables, a zucchini-based hummus (since beans don’t agree with me), chicken soup, and sugar cookie dough, and in the afternoon I rolled, cut, and decorated a bunch of sugar cookies.

It let me pay attention to food, just in a different way than usual, and I didn’t feel like I was depriving myself at all.

In between, I did have a light lunch, but even then I wasn’t super hungry. I simply had some soup, nuts, and an apple – plus a little bit of sugar cookie dough. As I learned from my dad, it’s important to taste the dough to make sure it’s good. (Or at least, that’s a good rationale.)

Part of me felt like I should have more, since I hadn’t eaten much, but I ignored that little voice and acknowledged that I simply wasn’t hungry.

By dinner, I felt a more normal hunger, like I was back to my usual eating patterns, but I still paid close attention to when I got full, since I didn’t want to end up back where I was at the end of Thanksgiving. It worked out well, and by Saturday, I felt recovered.

This doesn’t mean I want to overeat all the time, or even every Thanksgiving, but it’s helpful for me to remember that when it does happen, I can refocus and get back to a more mindful approach, and it’s will balance out in the end.

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