August 17, 2020

Does My Stomach Actually Shrink When I Lose Weight?

The short answer from a gastroenterologist

Stomach size feels smaller

Q: Does my stomach actually shrink when I lose weight?

A: Not exactly, but here’s why you might feel full. Our stomachs have a reflex called receptive relaxation: As food enters your stomach, the muscles relax and expand out to accommodate more volume. In fact, your stomach can expand up to five times its volume after a meal as compared to before.

Advertisement

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

Some studies suggest that neurons surrounding and within our stomach wall actually control receptive relaxation. After losing weight, they may cause our stomachs to have less elasticity. This is also related to hormonal changes that affect our feelings of hunger and thirst, namely changes in the hunger hormones ghrelin and leptin.

All these factors can control whether you feel hungry or full, but none of them are related to any changes in the size of your stomach (even though it might feel like it).

Gastroenterologist Maged Rizk, MD

Advertisement

Related Articles

Person eating healthy bowl of noodles with fitness items floating around head
January 17, 2024
How To Shed 10 Pounds — For Good!

Actively choose healthy habits not only when it comes to food and nutrition, but also physical activity and your mental health

male with beer belly on treadmill, with giant mug of beer next to
January 1, 2024
Does Beer Really Cause a ‘Beer Belly’?

Getting rid of excess abdominal fat will take more than just cutting back on cold ones

person in wheelchair lifting weights in gym
December 26, 2023
7 New Year’s Resolutions To Improve Your Heart Health

Resolve to move a little more, drink a little less, eat a little healthier, sleep a little better and destress a lot

close up of green coffee beans
December 14, 2023
Should You Go Green? What To Know About Green Coffee Bean Extract

There’s no evidence to prove this supplement can help with weight loss, and it may come with risks

Happy caucasian woman hiking in forest
December 5, 2023
Forest Bathing: What It Is and Its Potential Benefits

Immersing yourself in nature can improve both your mental and physical health

clock with diet foods and water
November 14, 2023
The 10 Worst Ways To Lose Weight

Trying fad diets and skipping meals won’t do you any favors

Sad thin elderly adult looking out window.
November 7, 2023
Alzheimer’s Disease and Weight Loss: Why It Happens and What Can Be Done

Finding the causes of weight loss is key to treatment

Weight scale with arrow pointing to overweight is shown with sneakers and a water bottle in foreground.
September 10, 2023
Is It Healthy To Be ‘Fat and Fit’?

Having obesity brings long-term health risks no matter your fitness level

Trending Topics

close up of keto gummies
Do Keto Gummies Work for Weight Loss? Are They Safe?

Research is inconclusive whether or not these supplements are helpful

Person in yellow tshirt and blue jeans relaxing on green couch in living room reading texts on their phone.
Here’s How Many Calories You Naturally Burn in a Day

Your metabolism may torch 1,300 to 2,000 calories daily with no activity

Older person postioned sideways showing dowager hump.
Dowager’s Hump: What It Is and How To Get Rid of It

The hump at the base of your neck may be caused by osteoporosis or poor posture

Ad