How to Recover From Too Much Food Indulging


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How to recover from too much food indulging |

I know you know the feeling. The all-over-body euphoria that comes when you devour something of utter decadence. Something you know you shouldn’t be eating. But you eat it anyway. Because it tastes so freakin’ good.

And let’s be honest. That good feeling becomes addictive in under .25 seconds, right? So you eat just one more bite (or so you tell yourself), before polishing off the entire thing. Enough for three or four people.

You’ve completely overindulged. And in that moment, all rational thinking was flung out the window. You were enjoying the present moment and didn’t have a care in the world how you’d feel the next day. 

Until you wake up the next morning

*cue groaning* You feel icky, weighed down, lethargic, have a headache and swear, once more, that you are never going to do that again. 

But the reality is that you probably will. Because you’re human. And fallible. 

You start off the day with the best intentions, but somewhere, somehow, something flips. You think to yourself, “It’s only one more glass of wine” or “I’ve been good so I deserve this” or “Just one more bite and then I’m done.”

Then one bite turns into many

On the weekend I decided to make some gluten-free chocolate cupcakes. Talk about decadent and divine! But did I stop at one? Nope. I also had some large bowls (yes, plural) of mint chocolate chip ice-cream, even though I can only handle dairy in small amounts. And to top it off, I may have had more than a few servings of dark chocolate.

I did a sweets overload and I’m now paying the price with bloating, constipation, stomach cramps and cystic acne. Lovely, eh? 

So yes, I make mistakes too. We all have celebrations, successes and good reasons to indulge every once in a while. 

But truth be told, I don’t cheat very much anymore. Why? Because once you eat a regular diet of clean, healthy, wholesome foods, you much prefer the increase in energy and mental clarity that comes with it. Goodbye foggy brain! 

A clean gut also means those cheats seem to hit you twice as hard. They immediately gunk up your now well-oiled machine…that little thing called digestion. 

But if you do have a slip-up, I’ve got the tried-and-true wellness prescription (which was retested just this week). Here’s how you recover from too much food indulging:

  1. Wake up and drink lots of water 
    As in chug it! You need to rehydrate your body to kick-start your digestion and the eventual elimination of whatever it is you ate. Drinking water will also stimulate your kidneys to cleanse your body of toxins. Your goal should be water in, waste matter out.
  2. Avoid NSAIDS and Antacids 
    I know your head is pounding and your stomach hurts. But avoid the urge to pop NSAIDs or antacids. While NSAIDS may make your head feel slightly better, they’re also damaging your intestines. And right now, you want to be as gentle as possible on your gut. Antacids will also reduce your gastric output, which is the
    opposite of what you want to happen. Your gastric juices are needed to digest the lump of food that’s sitting in your gut. The best course of action? Patience. Let your body work it’s magic to repair itself naturally.  
  3. Accept the isolated incident 
    It will do you no good to flog yourself with guilt and shame. You probably already feel like crap physically. So why make it worse with negative self-talk? Just simply accept your indulgence for what it was. An amazing day/moment/celebration which increased your feelings of joy, happiness, success, love and togetherness.
  4. Nourish your body with gut-healing foods 
    As your body recoups, steer clear of hard to digest foods (meats, dairy, starches) for the first 24 hours. It’s best to stick with small meals and easy to digest vegetables, soups and bone broths. Fermented foods, like sauerkraut can also do wonders as natural probiotics. In my case, I immediately went back to an autoimmune paleo diet (AIP) – a stricter form of the paleo diet. That helped me feel lighter, cleaner, more energized and back to my old self pretty fast.
  5. Get some fresh air and movement 
    Go outside and let mother nature work her magic. Trust me, you don’t want to be cooped up laying on the couch in the fetal position all day. Get your toes in the grass or go for a walk amongst the trees.
     The oxygen and sunshine will do you good.
  6. Train your brain to understand how you’ll feel the next time 
    You learned as a kid that if you put your hand on a hot stove you’ll burn. Well, now you know how you’ll feel after a day or two of food overindulging. Cement that memory in your brain. Then, next time before you indulge, ask yourself out loud, “Am I ok feeling like ________ tomorrow?” If you do that, logic may very well win the next round!


How do you recover from too much food indulging? Any tried-and-true natural remedies? I’d love to hear in the comments below! 


About the author

Lisa Bryan

Lisa is a bestselling cookbook author, recipe developer, and YouTuber (with over 2.5 million subscribers) living in sunny Southern California. She started Downshiftology in 2014, and is passionate about making healthy food with fresh, simple and seasonal ingredients.

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  1. Even though I didn’t overindulge to the point of pain (so far) this holiday season, this was a fantastic read & a much needed reminder. Thank you. <3

  2. I appreciate your forthrightness here, Lisa. I follow a similar diet, but I DO make mistakes, or even sometimes forget that I’m on that eating plan (although I never, ever knowingly eat gluten). It can be tough to eat in a counter-cultural way, and tough to deal with the regret one feels after a slip-up. I can benefit from your smart approach to moving on after an eating mistake.

    1. Thanks Chara! Yes, slip-ups happen. But I think more it’s more important to value practice over perfection. We all get do-overs! :)

    1. Absolutely! Stretching and yoga poses (especially gentle abdominal twists) can act as a massage to our internal organs and help with digestion. I know I always feel better after a good yoga sesh! :)