Overeating Pain: Why It Happens and What You Can Do About It

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Most of us have been there before: We overeat, feel sick and uncomfortable, and then beat ourselves up for it. If you’re someone who struggles with overeating, you’re not alone.

In fact, studies have shown that as many as 1 in 6 Americans struggle with binge eating disorder. Here’s a look at why we overeat, what happens to our bodies when we do, and how to make peace with food after a binge.

Why do people feel pain after eating?

After eating, some people experience stomach pain eating too much and after the meal has been digested. This type of post-prandial pain may be caused by a number of factors, but is most often related to indigestion or overeating.

Besides stretching the lining of your stomach from the extra food, when you overeat you often swallow extra air too.

In some cases, food intolerance or gall stones in the upper middle area may contribute. Pain from this condition can range from mild to severe and can be located under the ribcage up to the top ribs.

The symptoms alone are not always enough to diagnose what is causing the pain, which is why it’s so important for someone who regularly experiences digestive discomfort or stomach aches to speak with a health professional.

Most often stomach pain is caused by overeating. However, it’s important to note that abnormal gallbladder functioning, digestive and kidney diseases, or postprandial distress syndrome can all be causes of digestive tract pain.

For example, if there is severe pain immediately following a meal, medical intervention should be sought right away as this could be an indicator of something more serious than overeating and feeling too bloated.

Understanding more about why people feel pain after eating can help those effected take proper precautions and get an appropriate diagnosis so they can stop digestive discomfort.

Stomach conditions

Multiple digestion problems may cause pain after eating. Indigestion – GERD, gallstone, IBS, or pancreatitis are cited amongst other possible causes. It’s not just the same as common ailments.

Occasionally, when pain comes, there is not really anything to worry about.

However, when something happens regularly, it needs treatment. Several eating diseases causing discomfort during eating – like binge eating disorder which is a mental health disease – are serious conditions that must always be managed. You should take steps to get help if your symptoms are serious.

What Happens To Our Bodies When We Overeat?

Overeating can lead to a number of unpleasant side effects. In the short-term, you may feel bloated, gassy, or uncomfortably full. You may also notice that your stomach feels stretched out or unhappy.

And in the long-term, overeating can contribute to too much cholesterol, weight gain and obesity. These in turn can increase your risk for heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic health conditions. 

For a fascinating read, check out this science article about “why do people eat the pain away?“.

When should I see a healthcare provider for overeating pain?

When it comes to overeating pain, the approach taken by one individual might not necessary equal that of another’s. That is why it is important that each person takes proper steps to evaluate their symptoms and looks for medical assistance if needed.

While some people might find relief after some rest and hydration, if your pain persists you should consult a healthcare provider as soon as possible. Common signs that warrant seeking medical attention include:

  • Continually feeling queasy after eating
  • Persistent abdominal fullness or tenderness
  • Having digestion problems or hard stools.

In more severe cases such as those involving the stomach lining tearing or the presence of gallstones, seeking immediate emergency care is recommended.

Your healthcare provider will then be able to provide a thorough assessment and establish an appropriate management plan tailored to your situation so that all uncomfortable symptoms can be alleviated in a timely fashion.

Remember to remain mindful of changes in your body and seek treatment when needed — doing so could save you from significant discomfort in the long run!

Why Do We Overeat?

There are a number of factors that can contribute to overeating. For some people, it may be simply be a matter of consuming more calories than they need in a given day. But for others, there may be an emotional component at play.

Binge eating disorder, for example, is often triggered by feelings of stress, anxiety, or sadness. Emotional eating can also be a coping mechanism for people who have experienced trauma or who struggle with mental illness. You may also want to read Why Overeating Symptoms Spiral Out Of Control

How To Make Peace With Food After A Binge

If you’re struggling with binging or overeating, know that you are not alone.

Many of us have had difficulty with food at some point in our lives. The first step is to reach out for help if you think you may have an eating disorder. But even if you don’t have an official diagnosis, there are still things you can do to work on your relationship with food. 

One approach is called “intuitive eating.”

This means learning to listen to your body’s hunger cues and respecting your fullness signals. It also means giving yourself permission to eat whatever you want—without judgment or guilt—and trusting yourself to make healthy choices most of the time. 

What should I do after binge eating?

Binge eating can be a trap that many of us stumble into – whether we eat too much in a single sitting or snack throughout the day.

Although it may help us to feel temporarily better emotionally and even physically, it can cause long-term negative effects.

To help restore balance, your first step should be to acknowledge what happened and forgive yourself. Statements like “I’m human” or “It’s okay that I ate too much” can be helpful in reframing negative thoughts.

You could also keep track of how you’re feeling before and after you eat by journaling or talking to someone you trust so that you can become more aware of your eating patterns.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed and need some distraction, engaging in activities such as going for a run, taking a walk outside, calling a friend, reading a book, or doing art can make all the difference.

Remember, being gentle with yourself is just as important as taking steps to make positive changes – after all, this is an ongoing journey. Through understanding ourselves better we are able to manage our cravings and take care of our physical, mental and emotional health in the long run!

What else you can do after binge eating?

This paragraph might seem similar to the above, but I really want you to remember:

Binge eating can leave you feeling exhausted and guilty, but there are ways to help keep these feelings from becoming overwhelming.

First of all, it’s important to be mindful of your emotions—instead of trying to deny or ignore the guilt after indulging in too much food or drink, accept it instead, and try to come up with a way to relax that doesn’t involve food.

Finding some other way to soothe yourself helps provide an emotional release, like taking a walk or listening to calming music. If you have had more than what is considered moderate amounts of alcohol, a good night’s sleep is essential for clearing the effects as well as helping avoid potential morning anxiety/guilt.

Additionally, if negative thoughts such as self-criticism aren’t avoided – this can further deepen poor feelings following an episode of binge eating. Instead, try reframing the situation using positive phrases – by doing this and keeping track of patterns that lead to overeating, it will help minimize the urge in future situations.

Controlling stress levels is also crucial when trying to manage overeating (or any other health condition) and verbal abuse should never be used on yourself at any time.

Lastly, understanding your triggers can go a long way in preventing future episodes – by addressing them directly and head-on it will reduce their effect on intellectual processes such as decision making.

All these steps combined can help you move past the unhealthy cycle of binge eating quickly and efficiently making them less detrimental each time. 

Taking these steps will ultimately improve your overall mood when you eat or drink heavily during the night and cause fewer emotional repercussions for future occasions.

Overeating Pain Conclusion: 

Overeating can be a difficult issue to deal with, both physically and emotionally. If you find yourself struggling with binge eating or overeating on a regular basis, know that you are not alone—and there is help available.

Seeking professional treatment for an eating disorder is always a good idea if you think you may be struggling with one. But even if you don’t have an official diagnosis, there are still things you can do to work on your relationship with food.

About the Author

Jared Levenson is a former binge eating wrestler turned Zen Buddhist Monk, Internal Family Systems counselor and nutrition wellness coach. He's helped hundreds of people through universal meal principles and internal family systems to make peace with food, stop binge eating, and find true health and wholeness.

@jared_levenson

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