Overeating – one of the deadly sins?

Ever had one of those days where you had to have a second helping of cake? Or maybe a tough day at the office and the one thing that made your day better was your grandma’s chocolate chip cookies?


First off, congratulations – you are human! Effects of overeating are more common than you think and happens to millions of children and adults at some point. There is unfortunately a lot stigma behind the word ‘overeating,’- society labels overeating as an addiction that means you are lazy, undisciplined, addicted, or even worse, a failure that gained weight.

Why the overeating stigma doesn’t work

Here’s the problem: we are focusing on what we shouldn’t do as opposed to what we should do. When we shift the focus of overeating to a health-based rather than  weight-based approach, we can better understand how the effects of overeating impact our lives.

So what are the effects of overeating? Here are

4 effects of overeating and suggested healthier habits to address overeating

But remember aim for progress not perfection. It is okay to overeat once in a while –  just don’t beat yourself up and keep on moving!

effects of overeating - dopamin

1)   The Dopamine Effect- Eating Really Does Make You Happy

A funny thing happens when you eat, you release dopamine, a “feel-good” chemical that increases in response to stimulating experiences. One of the effects of overeating is an increase in dopamine. In fact, whenever you smell your favorite apple pie baking in the oven, dopamine is why you are suddenly hungry.

When we overeat, we start to feel really, really good, but to digest our food our dopamine levels deplete. The problem is in order to get the same ‘high,’ we have to eat even more to get the benefits of dopamine. We eat, eat, and eat to feel happy, but our dopamine levels continue to deplete, making it tough to get back to normal.

Healthy Hints: Food should make you feel happy, but in the right quantities! Try having smaller meals throughout the day to constantly feel the benefits of dopamine without taxing your body.

Also check out 12 worst triggers that make you overeat

2)   Health Starts and Ends in the Digestive System- A Fancy Word Called Autointoxication

Autointoxication sounds like a really scary word, but it actually means the buildup of waste and toxins inside of the colon when we continue to overeat. So yes, one of the effects of overeating is getting indigestion!

When we overeat our bowels become sluggish and we cannot eliminate foods fast enough. Autointoxication happens when our wastes and toxins are released into the bloodstream. Besides weight gain, our immune system becomes compromised leading to chronic fatigue, skin eruptions such as eczema, arthritis, chronic allergies, or even worse diabetes or cardiovascular disease. Our health begins in the digestive system so we have to keep it healthy.

Healthy Hints: To help with indigestion eat slowly and fully chew your food, consider supplementing with a probiotic, drink plenty of water or tea before and after meals, and see your doctor if you suspect you have acid reflux.

3) Mixed Messages, the Yo-Yo Effect. Dieting Doesn’t Work. Yes, That is Correct.

I’m going to let you in on a secret: diets do not work. I repeat: diets do not work! The problem with diets is that they take away things (like your grandma’s cookies) instead of adding in. When you are on a diet, you restrict in some sort of way; either calories, fat, adding points, or maybe some crazy juice cleanse. The problem? Once you reach your goal weight or fat loss, you are no longer on a diet and eat like you used to.

A third effect of overeating is the Yo-Yo effect, where we restrict our food, and then overeat the foods we were not allowed to eat previously. Then out of guilt, we start to restrict again because overeating is bad, thus repeating the cycle.

Healthy Hints: Diets don’t work- but lifestyle modifications do! Try adding more fruits and vegetables to your meals, baking sweets with low-fat butter, cutting your portions in half, or cooking with lemon juice

4) The Physiology Behind Overeatingc – Being Nutrient Deficient Leads to Eating More

Believe it or not, one of the effects of overeating is being nutrient deficient. When you feel strong cravings for the cookies and cream ice cream in the fridge, it is not simply a ‘lack of willpower.’ Your body is trying tell you it is lacking in calcium or iron, and to get your attention it stimulates your need to eat (remember that funny thing called dopamine?). When our eating habits become unbalanced, we lose essential vitamins and minerals responsible for our well-being.

Think about it: the average diet is high in processed sugars and fat, and low in B vitamins, zinc, protein, calcium, magnesium, and other essential nutrients. The final effect of overeating then relates to our biological need to return our body to optimal health.

Healthy Hints: When making lifestyle changes, try to limit white breads and sugars, consult a nutritionist to make sure you are fueling up properly, and if you overeat don’t beat yourself up and move on. Remember- its a process, not a journey. Have fun with your food!

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Pollyanna Hale Health and Lifestyle coaches
Lost 13 Kg in Total
Mel, 32y Location: London, United Kingdom Working with Pollyanna changed everything. I lost 13kg, got toned and have more energy than ever! Get same results!


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Lost 45 Kg in Total
Chris, 50y Location: London, United Kingdom Lost 45kg after the age of 50 and now competes and wins physique competitions and runs marathons Check our weight loss plans