Ate a Big Meal, Now What?
Happy Summer! Is your summer filled with more parties, BBQ’s, eating different foods? Are you beginning to notice some feelings of being sluggish, tired, bloated, and gassy? Are you noticing an internal voice arising after eating perhaps more foods during summer celebrations saying, "Why did I do that?" "You are such a failure for eating that much." "I have to restrict what I eat today to make up for yesterday." "I have to go to the gym today and work this all off."
Do any of these sound familiar to you? Here are a couple of steps you can take after eating a big meal:
1. Focus on Emotional Nourishment
Being with friends and family nourishes us in a similar and different way than food. We can get filled up by the experience of being around loved ones. Chatting, catching up, funny stories, playing games, effect the way we digest our food. When you are being emotionally nourished by the situation your body is in a relaxation response and your digestive tract can handle any input of food easier. So as those voices pop up, redirect your thoughts toward how you are being nourished by your environment. Often big meals are eaten in the company of others. Instead of focusing on how much you ate, reflect on how the people and the atmosphere was ultimately very fulfilling. Additionally, when we satiate ourselves emotionally, food becomes less desirable as we become satisfied from the presence of ourselves and others.
2. Be Gentle With Yourself
Think of the negative, harsh, internal voice that arises after a large meal as your inner child. The more you ignore the fact they are whining, the louder they get. Listen to what your inner child is saying, rub their back, and tell them everything is going to be alright. The voices may still be there but you can acknowledge them and choose not to do anything about them. This can be an opportunity to delve deeper into what the voices are really trying to say. Is eating a large meal mean you deserve less love? Is feeling overly full mean that people won't like you anymore? Be super gentle with yourself after a large meal and think about what you can emotionally nourish yourself with throughout the day that doesn't have to do with restriction or self punishment. Take a bath, get outside for a walk, listen to some music, call a friend, do something that nourishes your soul.
3. Eat Something Fermented
After a big meal, there might have been a lot of sweets, sugar, or carbs that were consumed. By eating some kimchee, sauerkraut, miso, taking a probiotic, drinking a fermented drink like kombucha or kefir, you will be flooding your gut with beneficial bacteria which will support in making sure those foods are digested with ease. Getting in good bacteria after a big meal will help keep your mood up and decrease subsequent sugar cravings. Additionally, if you take your probiotic with a glass of water with a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in it you will increase your stomach acid to also help break down your meal.
Remember every time we eat is an opportunity to learn more about ourselves. There is no judgment here. Be curious and explore each situation to discover what it has to teach you about you.