There’s no point mincing words here, if you have just binged or eaten way past the point of comfortable fullness (this is how I prefer to refer to overeating BTW, but to avoid making things too wordy, I will use ‘overeating’ from this point on), you are feeling pretty awful right about now.
I know you want to know how to feel better after overeating, like, yesterday, so let’s get right to it.
How to ease stomach pain after a binge
- Change into clothing that is more comfortable. Stretchy fabrics, less tailored items, elastic waistbands are your friend right now. Not only will looser, stretchy fabrics take the pressure off those pain sensors in your abdomen, you will have removed that physical reminder of how awful you are feeling. Nothing is going to keep your attention on your painful digestive system than pinching, digging, constricting clothing – ditch it asap.
- Sit or lie in a position that feels most comfortable. If you experience reflux or indigestion when you have eaten past the point of comfortable fullness, you want to make sure your head remains elevated for a couple of hours afterwards. Either by remaining upright; or by elevating your head with a couple of pillows or a mattress wedge if you are lying down.
- Apply some heat. A heat pack or heating pad on your abdomen can work well or, if it doesn’t feel too confronting, you may even like to try a warm bath.
- Sip on peppermint tea. Peppermint tea is often recommended in Irritable Bowel Syndrome circles as it may help to ease stomach upsets, bloating, gas and indigestion.
- Over the counter preparations for reflux can help soothe that burning feeling and chest pain but check with a pharmacist first.
- Some gentle movement may help alleviate physical discomfort (walking, stretching, yoga). Note the emphasis on gentle and please be mindful of your limits and safety for this if compulsive exercise is a piece of your food, eating and body puzzle.
What else you can do after binge eating
The suggestions above can help you to feel better physically after overeating or a binge. The following offers some ideas for how to feel less awful mentally and emotionally after a binge or after overeating.
- Even if you put all of the ‘easing stomach pain after a binge’ steps into place, they likely won’t be a magic fix and you are still going to feel uncomfortable. So, some acceptance that you will feel this way for the next couple of hours as your body works to digest what you have eaten can help you not continue to beat yourself up for what has just happened.
- I know it’s going to feel near on impossible, but acknowledging what you are experiencing with neutrality and self-compassion is going to be much more supportive of you moving through this than berating yourself. Not sure what self-compassion is? Read more about self-compassion here. The quickest way to think about how you could be kinder to yourself in this moment is to ask yourself what you would say or do if it was someone you cared about who was going through this. Would you shame them? Would you say horrible things to them? Or would you be gentle? See if you can offer yourself even just a smidge of that same kindness.
- Remind yourself that this uncomfortable feeling and pain IS temporary. Your body was designed to digest and metabolise food. It knows what to do, it just needs some time and your patience.
- You might like to do something that can distract your mind – anything you know you tend to get really engrossed in, e.g. watching TV, reading, watching your favourite movie, or calling up that person who you know is always good for some juicy conversation.
- For more ideas on how to stop feeling guilty about overeating, check out this article.
To help stop a binge happening again
After a binge or overeating, I’m guessing the thought “I never want to do that again” crosses your mind at some point?
It’s going to feel extremely appealing and it will seem logical because you are feeling really, really full physically, but avoid the temptation to skip your next meal or snack.
Skipping meals and snacks will only serve to keep that restrict/binge pendulum swinging for you (you know the one, where you skip breakfast and lunch, then binge at the end of the day and then wake up and do it all again).
While it is not a 100% guarantee for never binging or overeating eating again; picking yourself up, dusting yourself off and eating that next meal or snack demonstrates to your body that you are not going to pull that pendulum back over to the restrict side. And that it doesn’t have to panic about not getting its basic need for nourishment met. Want to learn more about this? Check out In Charge Eating
I wish I had a quick and simple fix to take away your pain so that you feel better after overeating or binge eating. In the absence of this, I hope some of these ideas can help to ease your pain and discomfort so that you can get back to using your physical, mental and emotional energy for stuff that is more important to you.
What have you found helpful to do after binge eating to help you feel better?