Overeating isn't all that hard to do. Whether it's during stretches of holiday celebrations, big birthday extravaganzas, or just an indulgent weekend, overeating is something that can happen to most people. It's also often fairly easy to extend that one meal or one day of indulgence to multiple days and decadent eating. Although most people know that overeating for long stretches of time isn't all that healthy, there are some surprisingly bad things that happen when you overeat two days in a row that you might not expect.
The number of meals you should eat each day vary from expert to expert. But I think most people know instinctively when they've overeaten, something that occur from eating too many unhealthy or healthy foods. The thing is, many experts believe that overeating and indulging from time to time isn't as big of a deal as some people are led to believe. Registered dietitian Abby Langer told Shape that overeating every once in a while isn't the end of the world, because your body is good at maintaining the status quo. As long as you don't make it a daily habit over a longer stretch of time, everything should be fine. Getting back on track after a day or two (or a couple more, it happens) is important, however it might not mean what you'd think. Registered dietitan Ashvini Mashru told Self that following overeating up with under-eating in an effort to correct for any perceived damage you may have done is not the right way to go about it. Instead, focusing on eating healthfully to rebound after overeating is the best plan of action.
That being said, if you do overeat two days in a row, you probably won't feel like your best self the following few days. In an effort to keep the indulgent days in check, here are a few things that can happen when you overeat a few days in a row.
1. You Get Tired
After you eat a large meal, even just one, you probably usually feel lethargic. According to the U.K.-based Independent, the fatigue after overeating is caused by your parasympathetic nervous system making your body slow down to allow you to digest the fat, sugar, and carbs you just gorged on. Now imagine overeating for two days, you're likely to feel even more sluggish.
2. You Beat Yourself Up
Oftentimes, after eating too much for a couple of days, you feel guilty and start to beat yourself up a bit. Don't fall prey to negative self-talk. According to the aforementioned article from Self, it's better to act as though a bout of overeating is no big deal.
3. Your Natural Reflex Weakens
Your brain has a natural reflex that tells you when you're feeling full. If you eat super quickly, this can delay that reflex from telling you you're full until you've eaten too much. According to an article from Stack, overeating more often causes that natural reflex to weaken, meaning you'll get increasingly comfortable overeating and allowing your stomach to distend. Although the distensibility of your stomach won't increase overnight, two days in a row of overeating will set you on that path.
4. You Become Bloated
Eating a bit more than usual tends to make you feel not so great. According to Women's Health, eating too much of salty foods or gassy cruciferous vegetables (for example) can make you feel bloated the next day.
5. You Can Gain Weight Easier
You probably can't eat enough to gain weight with just a couple of days of overeating, but according to the website SFGate, any extra calories you consume end up stored as fat, which means if you continue to regularly overeat, it'll make it easier for you to gain weight in the long run. But it bears repeating that weight gain doesn't happen overnight. You can't completely derail a healthy lifestyle with just a day or two of indulgence. Don't fret.
6. You Might Deal With Some Inflammation
According to the aforementioned article from Shape, overdoing it on food can cause your hormone and energy levels to fluctuate as well as add some temporary stress and inflammation to your body. It should clear up in a couple of days, so long as you (generally) go back to eating as you would normally.