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How to Prepare for Thanksgiving Overeating

A man clasping his overfull (from Thanksgiving dinner) stomach
Whether you’re about to chow down on a platter of Thanksgiving food or holiday treats, there’s some preparation that you can do to ensure you won’t feel too stuffed. Overeating is common during a holiday like Thanksgiving, so take time to help your body prepare for it. You don’t have to anticipate hours of discomfort after you’ve finished the big meal. Instead, do what you can to make your body feel as good as possible!

The following tips come from LifeSpa and PopSugar:

Before the Meal

If you know you’re going to eat a huge meal, it’s a good idea to eat something before it. Of course, we don’t mean that you should eat a huge breakfast or lunch, but you should at least eat something light and balanced. Coming to a dinner while starving is an invitation for overeating, and you probably won’t be able to avoid it.

Drink a tall glass of water 20 minutes before starting a meal. As LifeSpa says, “This will pre-hydrate your stomach wall, which is lined with an acid buffer that is 80% water. The more water, the better the buffer and the more acid your stomach will produce to enjoy more food. Studies show it helps reduce weight.”

The Meal

Digestion is the strongest during the afternoon, so avoid having a huge dinner late at night. When you eat, take your time. LifeSpa points out, “The more time you give yourself to chew and relax, the more your stomach will gracefully expand and allow you to comfortably continue to enjoy your Thanksgiving (or other) meal without over eating.” Also, avoid drinking cold or ice water with this meal. Drink before and after. If you must drink during, sip on a warm drink.

After the Meal

While it might sound tempting, lying down after a huge meal can be unhealthy; if done the wrong way, it can cause indigestion as well as acid reflux. If you need to lie down, there “is an old Ayurvedic strategy to lie on your left side for 10 to 15 minutes after a large meal. This is not an all afternoon siesta, but a short rest on the left side to allow the stomach to empty gracefully and effortlessly,” according to LifeSpa. Also, make a cup of herbal tea. Ginger, chamomile, and peppermint are all great options that help improve digestion.

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