What Binge Eating Does to Your Brain and Body
Sometimes you binge on a cheat meal, or the holidays. You stuff your face feverishly with flavored food stuffs, ignoring the expansion of your stomach, and suddenly you’re like Violet from Charlie and the Chocolate factory. You’re bloated, immobile and achy. But that’s not the extent of the binge damage. Oh no.
You ignored the brain’s cue with pain and discomfort that you were full. In fact, you might have silenced it by filling up your plate/s. You tend to ‘finish what’s on your plate’ even if it’s too much.
Binge Eating and the Brain
This is because your brain is on dope. Well, dopamine. While every meal causes a release of dopamine which makes you feel happy, carbs and fatty fat fats are what make your brain feel high as a kite.
Your brain is Homer Simpson drooling over your sugary carbs and your eyes are saying “Hey, take a break, I’ll take it from here.”
You scoop another helping of whatever glorious buttery carb lies on your plate like a tasty carb mermaid basking on the shore and there begins the full-fledged binge.
Binge Eating and the Body
Your mouth begins to water as amylase primes your salivary glands to cover your food in gooey enzyme-laden saliva to start breaking it down.
As your food hits your stomach, more enzyme soldier attack it and begin breaking it down further.
But as you stuff more food in, your stomach stretches to accommodate the food. Do this too often and the ‘stretch’ is permanent…and you need more food to be full.
At this point you’re probably eating so fast your body’s hormone, leptin, can’t come out like the helicopter parent it is and tell you “NO MORE!”
So you eat.
If you do this often, your body will stop listening to leptin, and you won’t be able to get the cues that you’re full.
Anywho, back to this binge-eating train wreck story:
About 8 hours later, that food slides into your small intestine.
The pancreas then releases insulin to help utilize the broken down parts of food.
Repeated insulin spikes from eating like this can lead to insulin resistance. And if you become insulin resistant—it can lead to diabetes.
In addition to insulin, bile joins to help break down the foods more. Four hours later it moves into the large intestine and a day or few days later, you refund what your body didn’t use in the toilet.
Binge Eating Can Lead to Weight Gain and Disorders
Binge Eating on the regular can lead to weight gain because you’re taking in more calories and than you’re burning. Your body stores this as fat, and your fat cells expand just like your stomach did.
This can also lead to addictive binges and other disorders.
We’re not saying not to binge on the holidays, but don’t make it a habit. If it is a habit—get help.
Long term issues stemming from binge eating can be detrimental to your health.
It wreaks havoc on your body as it goes through roller coaster rides of high glucose, insulin spikes and hormonal responses more than it should. It affects the immune system and eventually can damage your metabolism.
So how do you fix it?
Dealing with Binge Eating
Look, we’re not saying not to celebrate on Turkey Day, but if you develop a disorder, seek help first and foremost. Talk to your doc.
You can also choose smaller plates and portions to start retraining your brain or tricking it into thinking its full by ‘cleaning’ your smaller plate.
It takes time, but you can do it in a few weeks and get your body and brain back to normal.