What happens when you binge eat?

When you overeat, you wind up with a sore, stuffed belly. Everyone feels like this from time to time. But if you have a binge eating disorder, your eating habits could lead to serious problems that might last a lifetime.

Mentally, binge eating can lead to feelings of guilt, shame, and low self-esteem, and may contribute to the development of disordered eating behaviors and disorders such as binge eating disorder or bulimia. It can also exacerbate existing mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety.

Physically, binge eating can disrupt the normal functioning of the digestive system and cause discomfort, bloating, and indigestion. It can lead to weight gain and an increased risk of developing conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. These are discussed below.

Weight Gain and Obesity

Weight gain is common when you binge eat. Two-thirds of those with the disorder are overweight. You put on extra pounds by eating lots of food in a short period of time and not burning the calories off with exercise.

A lot of people who binge feel bad about their weight, too. This leads to low self-esteem, which can cause more overeating. Being overweight or obese can also raise your chances of getting long-term health problems such as:

  • Breathing that stops many times during the night (sleep apnea)
  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Arthritis

Heart Disease

Being overweight makes it harder for your heart to pump blood to the lungs and body. Having a lot of fat, especially around the belly, raises your risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high blood sugar. All of these things boost your risk for heart attack and stroke.

Type 2 Diabetes

People who binge eat are more likely to get type 2 diabetes, studies show. Diabetes can be a lifelong disease that requires ongoing treatment. If you have this condition, binge eating can make your blood sugar harder to control.