I’d like to say I don’t overeat. But, it simply ain’t true.
I do it less often. I’m more aware of the root reasons why I do this – stress, or depletion, or because I had a drink…
Yet, it still happens from time to time.
Here are some of my tools, in case you find yourself overeating (during the overeating time of year).
You’re not alone.
Nom, nom, Siva
1. Walk. Walking is one of the best things we can do to move digestion forward. It helps stimulate peristalsis in the colon, which moves the food bolus down the digestive tract. Walking also helps to increase our metabolism – the rate at which we burn through our food fuel – in multiple ways. In Ayurveda, we’d acknowledge that walking helps to increase agni – our digestive capacity, digestive enzymes and insulin production. Many cultures go for an after dinner walk to help digest. While this may not feel great outdoors during a cold winter, even walking around your house for 15-20 minutes can do wonders for an overstuffed belly.
2. Rub your tummy. Gently, but firmly. I like to start at my belly button and move in a spiral that gets bigger. Always down on the left, Left to right on the bottom of the abdomen, up on the right, and right to left on the top of the abdomen. This supports the natural direction of digestions. Massage has been used for millennia to move things in the body that are stagnant. When you feel an area that is tense, rigid, sore, or feels really full, just pause and send some love as you gently massage out the tension. Doing this regularly helps you get to know the patterns in your tummy. It’s nice to lay on your back with knees bent to relax the abdominal musculature, but sometimes I even will do the belly rubbing as I’m walking or on the phone. I do it often enough that little children ask me if I’m pregnant regularly, so just know that may happen. LOL.
3. Fast. I grew up with my parents fasting on different occasion, and always for a spiritual intention they were offering a sacrifice towards. So, I began this practice in this vein. However, after studying the benefits of intermittent fasting, and feeling the effects in my own body, I can say fasting is awesome from both professional and spiritual perspectives. I do an easy day of liquid nourishment once a week. This is a mild fast that doesn’t require me to step out of my work and family roles. I don’t have any particular rules, just that all my “food” that day is liquid. This means I don’t have to do a lot of prep or planning. I simply listen to what my body needs. Often, I’ll do bone broth and tea and various herbal teas. Other times I feel I need more hearty soups, smoothies, or nutmilk elixirs. My digestive system always thanks me for the day of rest – and I see this with less inflammation, less bloating, and more beautiful poops. In Ayurveda, we always bring in the opposite to balance. So the idea of rest and less food, when the digestive system has had to work overtime with too much food makes so much sense.
4. Herbs can help. Mainly herbs to help increase digestive capacity. We carry a few digestive teas and these lovely little instant digestive aids I call “spiceballs.” I carry my spiceballs in my purse, and pop a few anytime I feel I’ve eaten past what felt good, or eaten food that was heavy, or when I have a thicker coating on my tongue (a sign of incomplete digestion). The digestive teas can be tailored for your digestive patterns.
I’m referring here to my own formulations, which you can find in our online store. (Search “Digestive” to pull up all digestive teas, and if you don’t do herbal teas, we got you – just order in capsules.)
- VK Digestive Tea is great for people who tend to be overweight and constipated, or with low true physical appetite.
- VP Digestive Tea is good for those of us who toggle in poop texture from dry/small to loose/mushy and have a tendency to bloat or inflame.
- P Digestive if wonderful for those with heartburn, ulcers, and inflammatory conditions.
- 3 Seed Digestive tea is a more neutral digestive support that’s good for anyone.
VK Digestive Tea is great for people who tend to be overweight and constipated, or with low true physical appetite. VP Digestive Tea is good for those of us who toggle in poop texture from dry/small to loose/mushy and have a tendency to bloat or inflame. P Digestive if wonderful for those with heartburn, ulcers, and inflammatory conditions. 3 Seed Digestive tea is a more neutral digestive support that’s good for anyone.
5. Address the stress. Both our digestive capacity, and our tendency to overeat are directly affected by stressors. We eat to soothe, since birth. All mammals do. Obviously, this is a bigger topic, but my Masterclass on Resolving Internal Conflict may give you the tools you need.
6. Time alone in nature. Being in nature feeds our souls. We bring in prana and reconnect our circadian rhythms. This in turn helps to decrease our depletion, and strengthen our digestive clock. Being alone strengthens this affect. Also, most of us don’t get much quality time alone. That means we’re not taking the time to be with ourselves and process our life experience. That can lead to an inner restlessness or anxiety that will have you staring in the pantry every 10 minutes.
Egregiously, all of the above tools have more benefits than the digestive ones we’re discussing. That’s what’s amazing about Ayurveda – all of the tools benefit all of you in multiple synergistic ways.