What Happens When You Eat Too Much

Hey guys!

We’re right in the middle of holiday season… which means FOOD SEASON. Every year, we’re hit with headlines and pressure to avoid overeating, to avoid holiday weight gain, blah blah blah.

But what if we shift the focus a little away from weight gain, and think more about how icky it feels when you eat too much? Especially this year, it’s important to enjoy any time you get to spend with loved ones, and food is a huge part of that experience! Stressing about avoiding the mac n’ cheese or dessert table just isn’t worth it.

It’s totally possible to have a little of allllll the good stuff while still avoiding that miserable stuffed feeling at the end of your holiday meal. But to do that, we have to understand what happens when we overeat!

Let’s get into it.

Your stomach stretches

Before you freak out over the image of your stomach stretching (I did too when I first learned this)…it’s SUPPOSED to stretch.

To an extent.

The stomach is actually covered in little folds called rugae. They allow the stomach to stretch and shrink, depending on how much food is inside. But if we overeat, it stretches beyond what it’s really supposed to after a meal. And it’s uncomfortable.

How much your stomach can comfortably stretch actually depends on how much you usually eat. On average, your stomach is about the size of a fist but can stretch to hold about a quart of food/liquids.

Woman nausea from overeating

You might feel a little queasy

“I ate soooo much I might puke.”

Haven’t we all said this at some point?! I think it’s an exaggeration most of the time, but that queasy, “too full” feeling is definitely a familiar one. So can you actually get sick from eating too much? Does your stomach just say “NOPE, that’s enough” ?!

Kinda. When the stomach stretches beyond it’s comfort level, the extra pressure makes you feel nauseated. ESPECIALLY if it stretches too quickly (like if you eat too much AND too fast).

It doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to actually vomit, but you’ll feel queasy until some food digests and the pressure is relieved. You can help your stomach by taking a walk or if it’s really uncomfortable, you can lay on your left side, which encourages things to move along.

bloat reason abs aren't showing

Get ready to bloat 

Ugh. My worst enemy.

Your digestive system gets a little overwhelmed with all that food coming in, especially if it’s fatty, salty food that you might not eat on a regular basis. So it starts working in overdrive.

That brings in extra water and gas, making you super bloated and maybe even a little gassy. Eating too fast makes this even worse.

Nap tiiiiiiime

A big meal always makes me sooooo sleepy. I feel like I’m pretty much down for the count for the rest of the day after I eat too much. Apparently there’s a reason for that Thanksgiving nap, even if you avoid the turkey!

Obviously being uncomfortable is the big reason. You just want to get horizontal and let that food digest.

Otherwise, your body prioritizes digestion when it has a lot of food to handle. That triggers a neurological response that can make you feel a little drowsy. Some of the main hormones that regulate digestion can also make you a little sleepy.


Will you instantly gain weight from one big meal? 

Probably not.

Yes, your body is going to use the calories it needs and then may store some extra as fat, but one meal isn’t going to cause a noticeable difference. Weight gain and weight loss happen over time. It’s more of a reflection of your overall diet over the course of several weeks or months!

If you wake up 2 pounds heavier the day after Thanksgiving, it’s probably water weight from all of the hard work your body is doing to digest the food, combined with water retention from eating more salt than usual. Don’t stress (and maybe don’t even weigh yourself the day after a big meal), and just get back to your usual habits.

Remember, food is joy and a huge part of tradition and socialization! ENJOY IT. But if you want to avoid being uncomfortable, just slow down and eat smaller portions 🙂 

20 thoughts on “What Happens When You Eat Too Much”

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  1. Just tired of feeling good guilt says:

    I feel like a crap after thanksgiving because I still have dessert after thanksgiving but honestly I’m starting to feel guilty today even though today was a rest day. I just feel like a failure and completely lack of control even though I workout tomorrow I just don’t feel up to par like I let me body down today for eating something.

  2. Claire says:

    I also find drinking water during the meal between mouthfuls is really helpful; you feel full but the water passes through much faster so you aren’t uncomfortable for long 🙂

    1. Dominique says:

      You’re actually not supposed to do this because this way you water down digestive acids in your stomach which makes it harder for your body to process your meal.. The way you use water to feel better and fuller in order to eat smaller portions is drinking a glass or two 15 minutes before your meal 🙂

  3. Elle hernandez says:

    Thanks for this info, Cassey! I’m starting on my weight loss journey and this is so helpful!

  4. elmaried says:

    Love this! My problem is that my stomach does not tell my brain that it is full and done… I just keep going and then realize I ate way too much! Thanks for this post <3

    1. SANDRA TRUONG says:

      I used to have this same problem too until I discovered a great product called TLS Core and Carb Inhibitor.

  5. Ava says:

    Love this!! I always feel a little guilty after eating big meals, and this eased that guilt!

  6. Ellie says:

    I love this, thank you Cassey for always helping me feel better about food. I’ve been jumping back on the pilates train to get back in shape and I just love you so much. I’ve been doing your workouts since I was in high school, so for about 10 years. You’re amazing, thank you for being here for us. 💟💟💟

  7. Elissa says:

    I love this, thank you Cassey for always helping me feel better about food. I’ve been jumping back on the pilates train to get back in shape and I just love you so much. I’ve been doing your workouts since I was in high school, so for about 10 years. You’re amazing, thank you for being here for us. 💟💟💟

  8. Aryushi Jha says:

    I really need this because earlier I was like if I ate a big fancy meal then all my hardwork will waste. But all your blogs help me keeping me motivated and puts me on my track. Thank you very much Cassey. Really love you ❤

  9. Rishona says:

    Hai Cassey i had a question…im 14 nd im on a journey like urs…im getting fit nd im shape. But my concern is shud i deit or not..i gain weight very fast nd i do controll wat i eat but because im an adolescent…my mom says if i dont eat enough ill not grow enough.
    So can u pls pls pls help me with this im shore there r many others out there with this same question. Tysm nd ur so inspirational keep goin luv ya<3

    1. Rebecca says:

      Hi Rishona! It is awesome you are working out and focused on healthy habits. Regarding whether or not you should diet, it depends what you mean by diet – your mom is right that you are still growing and need to fuel your body properly. Starting a very restrictive diet would not be great fuel for your body, and it also isn’t very sustainable for creating long term habits. However you can definitely improve your diet by getting at least 4-5 servings of veggies per day, drinking more water and decreasing processed carbs like white bread, white pasta and chips Tracking your food in a journal or app such as MyFitnessPal can also be helpful in learning what foods make you feel healthy. Many sources won’t recommend going below 1800 calories at your age, and you would need to eat more if you are active. Talking to your mom about your concerns is also a good idea – maybe you can even influence her to buy more veggies so that you can make that healthy change. If you feel like you are having trouble maintaining a healthy weight even with doing your best to eat well, it’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor about whether there may be underlying issues. Best of luck to you!

  10. Nidhi Sai says:

    Dear Cassey
    Are lifting weights my only option to get more toned ?

  11. Wunmi says:

    Yeah…my main problem is being not able to move for a few mins or longer….Sometimes I overeat,then I overdrink…then I feel guilty….
    Well….all in all…I’ll try to eat slower and focus on the ingredients and food I take in!Thanks!

  12. I love how you said to focus on how GOOD it feels to eat right and light and how icky it feels after a super huge meal.

  13. Ann says:

    We need more of posts like yours instead of those that make people feel guilty and anxiety about what they ate! Thank you so much!

  14. Kiana says:

    Really needed this
    Thank you Cassey♡♡

  15. Janelle says:

    Thank you so much for this! I just ate a giant lunch and was curious about why I was feeling weird

  16. Vanny says:

    Hi cassey, what is your workout routine now ? Im trying to not getting bulky iand do you still eat around 1300 or do you reverse diet after your Deficit ?