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5 things to do after eating a large meal

When the weather outside is frightful, a warm meal can be so delightful. And though it may be tempting to take a cozy nap after eating a large meal, Kristen Smith, MS, R.D., a bariatric surgery coordinator at Piedmont, recommends the following alternatives:  

1. Take a 10-minute walk.A walk outside can help clear your mind and also help improve blood sugar levels,” says Smith. “It doesn't mean you're walking off what you've eaten, it just helps regulate the body and aids in digestion.”

2. Relax and don’t stress out. Don’t be too hard on yourself, particularly if it’s a one-time occurrence. Feeling guilty after overindulging in a large meal can lead to binge eating behaviors.

“Many people feel like if they've already overeaten, they should continue that habit throughout the day and they may overindulge with their remaining meals,” Smith says. “Instead of stressing out, just relax and try to avoid repeating this behavior.”

3. Drink water. “Sipping on water can help flush out some of the sodium you've consumed,” Smith says.

Don’t chug too much water if you're overly full, she cautions. Stick with four to eight ounces after a large meal. Then, aim to stay hydrated the rest of the day.  

4. Take a probiotic. Probiotics are microorganisms found in yogurt and cultured foods that can help improve digestion and the absorption of food.

5. Plan your next meal.  Make a plan for the rest of the day to avoid overeating at your next meal.  Aim for a more nutritionally balanced meal that includes lean proteins, fruits and vegetables.

“Practice mindful eating during your next meal, which would entail chewing your food thoroughly,” Smith explains. “Try to take 20 to 30 chews per bite and don’t eat while sitting in front of the television or being on your phone. Just focus on the food that you're eating. That will really help you enjoy what you're eating and feel satisfied.”

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