The 4 Worst Things to Do After Overeating

what to do after overeating

Yesterday I ate too much.

The day started ok, with a typical breakfast and lunch. Mid-afternoon I was at a friend’s for a little gathering. I didn’t show up hungry but over the course of a few hours I nibbled on the chips, popcorn, hummus and crackers, bologna and fruit. I didn’t stuff my face all at once but I know I ate more than I needed to, in total.

Then I came home and had some torilla chips with the (excellent) homemade salsa my husband made. Dinner was steak and veggies (a fairly typical supper). We normally have fruit as an evening snack, which I ate, and then the popcorn came out. I’m a sucker for chips and popcorn (not a sweets gal) so I had a few handfuls.

I knew I didn’t need that, but chose to eat it anyway.

After all the salty snacks from the day before, I woke up today feeling bloated and full. I knew it was because I overindulged.

For many people, this would be a time when you feel like you “screwed up” or “failed”. However, I choose not to to take that view. Instead, I just accept that it was a day I ate a little more than I needed to and I’m moving on.

Here’s what I’m NOT doing:

I’m not…Feeling guilty.

These days happen. For me, they are rare. I keep my physique because 90% of the time, I eat well. So, when a day comes when I eat more than I need (and of not so healthy stuff), I don’t sweat it. I know that one “bad” day isn’t going to make me gain 5 lbs (just like one “good” day isn’t going to see me lose 5 lbs). Consistent healthy eating over time is what makes the difference. #healthyhabits for the win.

I’m not…Starting in with negative self-talk.

It would be so easy to start the negative self-talk, berating myself for not having more self-control, not being disciplined, for knowing better, etc. Telling myself things like “I should be able to control myself more”, “Why did you eat the extra snacks at night after the snacks during the day?” Once you get started down this path, it’s very easy to get sucked into a tailspin and you are left feeling like garbage, mad and frustrated at yourself. So don’t. If there is a lesson to be learned from the experience, acknowledge the lesson and keep it in mind for the next time. If it’s just an off day, take it as such and move on. It’s done. It’s in the past. Keep moving forward.

I’m not…Starving myself today

I often hear comments from people after they have a day with poor eating choices that they just won’t eat much the next day. Not only is this bad for your body and metabolism, it’s unhealthy mentally because it creates a reward/punishment system related to food.

I’m not…doing extra (or any) cardio “to make up for it”

In addition to not starving myself, I’m also not doing any cardio to “burn extra calories and make up for yesterday”. Personally, I don’t train on the weekends and I don’t really do much cardio anyway. I will go on a walk, but because I enjoy a leisurely Sunday stroll, not because I feel I have to.

Here’s what I AM doing:

I am…eating as usual.

I’m going right back to my regular healthy eating habits. No throwing in the towel “screw-it” mentality and overindulging today because “I already messed up yesterday, what’s one more day?” Nope. Back to my usual healthy eating. All regular meals and snacks, which includes lots of veggies and some fruit.

I am…drinking water.

I will drink my typical minimum 2L water to help with digestion and keeping things moving. I’m not doing any special detox since my organs do that anyway. Just plain water.

I am…getting back to my regular workout routine.

As I mentioned, I don’t train on weekends, but Monday, I will hit the weights again, as usual. Nothing extra, just my regular workout.

I am…recognizing that my actions were my choice.

Nobody forced me to eat at the party. My husband didn’t make me eat the extra chips and popcorn at home. I made the choice to eat those all on my own. I won’t blame the circumstances for my behavior either. As I often say, we always have a choice. Yesterday I chose to eat more than necessary. Again, today I’m moving on. It’s important to learn to own the decisions you make; they might not always be the right ones, but accept and acknowledge that you made them.


On the days when you overindulge/go off track/have a cheat day, the next day is business as usual. No extreme measures are necessary. Just acknowledge and move on. Reminder –> no negative self-talk!

The more you can do this, the less often you’ll have those times when one “bad” day turns into a “bad” week (or longer).

It takes practice and likely some mindset shifting, but I know you can do it!

Lydia Di Francesco, Personal Trainer

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Lydia Di Francesco is the Founder of Fit & Healthy 365 and Creator of the 15 Minute Workout Club, an online workout membership site. As a Certified Personal Trainer, Lydia educates clients and the public that healthy living doesn’t need to be complicated. She promotes simple, fun, exercise, self-care, and creating a healthy mindset with a long-term approach to wellness.

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  • Jennifer Forbes Walker

    Thanks for this Lyds!!