Looking to get into your best shape for the next party? As tempting as it may be to indulge yourself and gorge on some choicest delicacies, it only makes sense that you follow a healthy diet plan that’ll do something about the lingering belly fat in your body. But if you have trouble letting go of your meals with extra fries and coke, this should help you.
Can you possibly stretch your stomach by overeating? In one word: Yes. But there’s a lot to it. Let’s find out!
What Happens In Your Stomach When You Eat Food
Your stomach is made of flexible muscles and can hold around 1 liter of liquids or about 2 cups of food – whether you have a healthy weight or severely obese. In fasting mode, an average human stomach can hold a volume of approximately two hundred milliliters. Most people can even hold one liter of food comfortably without leading to indigestion. When pushed to its maximum capacity, your stomach can extend to hold a volume of about four liters!
Your digestive process gets a head-start even before you start eating. When you’re waiting for a meal, saliva builds up in your mouth, while acid and enzymes accumulate in your stomach to help break down your food. Your stomach muscles also relax to prepare for the impending feast, also called gastric accommodation.
The walls of your stomach are strong and muscular. Once you start to taste, chew, or swallow your food, your stomach muscles can contract with enough force to break your food into tiny, digestible bits. Once your digestive processes are done, you’re left with a soupy concoction of processed and unhealthy food – chyme. Your stomach’s wavelike contractions then propel this chyme along to your small intestine where your body begins to extract the nutrients that it needs. This process can make you feel full, but once you’ve digested your food completely, your stomach can go back to its original size.
So, what happens to your stomach if you overeat? If you binge-eat a few times, nothing happens to your stomach. But if your meals are constantly larger than usual, your stomach walls will expand. This is known as stomach distensibility. Your eating habits can highly influence distensibility. One study revealed binge-eaters and bulimic subjects have a higher stomach capacity than others.1 It works the other way as well. If your meals are smaller, your stomach walls reduce and this shrinks your capacity to indulge in food – a reason why dietitians stress on eating small meals throughout the day!
How Can You Improve Your Eating Habits
If you wish to support your digestion, boost fat burning, and curb cravings, here are a few important guidelines that will do you well.
Eating small portions of balanced food at the same time each day and at regular time intervals can go a long way in avoiding extra stress on your body while not causing any disruptions to your hormonal balance. This way of eating can help you store more fat, reduce your appetite and, increase your metabolism.
Always remember to start your day with a well-balanced meal that supplies you with all the necessary nutrients that your body needs. This way, you’ll feel fuller for longer and make wise choices for meals that follow.
Avoid eating close to bedtime as it causes weight gain and insomnia. You should also make a conscious decision to eat in a quiet place where there are no distractions. This way, you’ll be able to avoid mindless eating which almost always leads to overeating.
What Happens To Your Body If You Overeat
Besides the fact that you gain weight, overeating can lead to short-term symptoms like bloating and lethargy. When it comes to long-term issues, you could end up with diseases relating to being overweight or obese, an increased risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, cancer, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, joint pain, sleep apnea, and gallstones. You could also have emotional problems like poor self-esteem, an unhealthy body image, and depression, all of which can ultimately affect your social life and your ability to function normally.2
Unless you’ve been regularly overeating for over a month or two, you shouldn’t be in any danger of stretching your stomach permanently. Truth is, by the time you grow up to be an adult, the size of your stomach pretty much stays the same. Remember, eating less won’t necessarily help you shrink your stomach. However, eating less can help you reduce your appetite. Consequently, you’ll feel fuller for longer and make healthier food choices in the future.