What Happens to My Body When I Overeat?

This is a companion post to the one I wrote on Overexercising.

I was recently invited to a free celebration buffet at a local riverboat. I probably have about one buffet a month there and pretty much control myself despite some wonderful temptations like an open soft serve machine and trays of apple cobbler. However, I found myself caught up in the ‘celebration’ and yielded to the temptation by overindulging. It didn’t help that they upgraded their offerings for the celebration. Part of the experience was two free alcoholic drink tickets, too. I don’t drink much, particularly when I am driving, but I did indulge as I will explain further on.

This prime rib tasted even more delicious than it looks.

Since one picture is worth a thousand words, take a good look at the photo of the prime rib I was served. If it looks delicious to you, I can only say that it tasted sinfully better than it looks. When I was in the buffet line later I heard people using the phrase, ‘melts in your mouth.’ I knew they were talking about the prime rib. It was that good.

If the prime rib were all that I ate, I would have shot past my usual lunch calories when at home, but it wasn’t … by a long shot.

I also ate some fried shrimp, corn on the cob, steamed broccoli and finished off with a strawberry sundae. I used one of the drink tickets for a shot of Bailey’s to put in my coffee. I make no pretense at sophistication. I just love Bailey’s in coffee. Usually it comes with a shot of whipped cream melting on the top. It’s like a child’s alcoholic drink.

I am not going to break down each of the elements of my lunch, but I reckoned that it amounted to just under 1800 calories. For those of you who aren’t regular readers, I weigh 145 pounds and need around 2000 calories per day to maintain my weight. Clearly, an 1800 calorie lunch shoots me over the top.  My usual breakfast smoothie comes to just under 400 calories so I was already over my calorie budget for the day.

Looking back over my Lose It! records, my usual daily consumption of calories ranges from 2700 to around 3200. The reason I have been able to maintain my weight under 150 pounds for the past year is that I also average around a 20 mile bike ride per day. Last year I finished with 6300 miles on the bike here in Chicago. Last but not least my 2700 to 3000 calories is spaced throughout the 16 hours I am awake. I don’t eat 2/3 of it at one sitting.

Getting back to my Brobdingnagian lunch. I drove home afterwards and took my dog for her afternoon walk which comes to around a mile. That burns off 80 calories from my frame.

I found that after the walk, I felt a little tired, so I lay down in bed. That’s one of the blessings of being retired. You can nap if/when you feel like it. I don’t nap every day, but never hesitate if I feel the urge. Normally, when I take a nap it lasts 30 to 45 minutes and I wake up refreshed.

I did nap but it lasted nearly two hours. I woke up and didn’t know if it was morning or night I had slept that deeply. There is a good explanation for this. When you overload your digestive system as I did, your body has to work overtime to handle it. That requires a lot of oxygen which would normally be going to your brain. So, if your brain can shut down to some extent during the nap, it helps your digestion. Have you ever overeaten and woke up the next morning and felt like you had a mild hangover? It’s the same thing. You kicked your digestive system into overdrive and taxed the remainder of your body’s resources.

After the nap I did manage to get out and ride 12 miles on my bike. It burned 500 calories, but that wasn’t enough to cover the lunch.

I was fine by the next morning and when I weighed myself was pleasantly surprised to show no gain overnight.

I had invited my brother to go with me, but he couldn’t make it. When I showed him the prime rib photo and told him about the rest of the meal, he said, “I’m glad for your sake it’s only once a year. There aren’t that many miles on the lake front to pedal ….”

True enough.


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Filed under brain, calories, Exercise, overeating, Weight

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