When you’re enjoying an epic, delicious meal, it’s easy to accidentally eat too much, leaving you feeling totally overstuffed and bloated. The sensation of being too full is admittedly not a great feeling. The good news is, there’s something you can do about it.
First and foremost, registered dietitian Dalina Soto, RD, LDN, wants you to know that bloating after eating is completely normal and part of digestion. “It’s normal to eat past the point of fullness when enjoying food,” she says. Bloating can also happen after overeating, or eating to the point of feeling uncomfortable (it happens!). However, you should never skip meals in “preparation” for a feast you plan on having, she says. This can make you even more likely to overeat since you limited yourself prior.
On the other hand, frequent painful bloating after meals could indicate a different problem. Extreme bloating can be a sign of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) especially after eating “trigger foods” (aka those high in FODMAPs), says Tessa Nguyen, RD, LDN, a chef and registered dietitian who works with many clients who have IBS. The debloating tips that follow are for people who do not have larger issues related to bloating, such as IBS. If you’ve been diagnosed with IBS (or think you might have it), speak with your doctor or a dietitian for more specific guidance in managing your diet.
When you do end up bloated after overeating or enjoying a big meal, these nine tips will help you overcome it. And, keep in mind this advice from Nguyen: special occasions, and the food that comes with them, are meant to be enjoyed, period. While you can do your best to listen to your fullness cues, if you do overeat, don’t stress. We’re here to help.