At what point is gluttony a mortal sin?

I am a big eater. I love to snack often, eat larger meals, etc. Mostly it is done for emotional/comfort reasons and because I feel so hungry (even if I just ate sometimes.) I am overweight and still gaining. I just can’t seem to curb this insane hunger. I never used to have a weight problem when I was younger, now I do. It’s just crazy. Diets work for a short time, but then I gain it all back, and more sometimes. Am I in mortal sin? Is this type of overeating grave matter?

My advice would be that if it’s concerning you and you are having a more and more difficult time controlling it, and you know that you will be putting on more weight the more you eat, you should make an appointment to see your doctor and have a checkup. You might have some kind of metabolic or hormonal condition, or depression or anxiety, there are many possibilities.

Gluttony is a pretty widespread temptation in our society and the types of foods marketed are designed to hit a lot of pleasure receptors in the brain and for some folks those foods can be addictive to varying degrees. For most of us, they’re at least unhealthy to consume very much of.

I’m battling a weight problem that has metabolic and behavioral origins, and have hit that point in middle age where it’s really difficult to lose even a pound. :frowning: It’s good to be proactive and not let things get out of hand. As far as the morality issue I would get medical advice to see if there’s some physiological or psychological craving mechanism making it difficult, then take that information to your spiritual director or confessor once you know what you’re up against.

I’ve actually been praying for all of us who struggle with weight because it is such a distressing problem and our God is good and wants to help us. It’s not too “trivial” to “bother” Him with, if you see what I mean. Sometimes we think it is, and we shouldn’t. Wishing you all the best! :thumbsup:

I think you are dealing with several things.

Please speak with a priest on what is gluttony and explain your emotions that lead you to want to eat for comfort and emotional reasons.

Speak with your doctor to see if there is any medical condition that needs to be treated.

You might want to join a group such as Weight Watchers. You will probably find lots of “over-eaters” due to many reasons - such as eating to escape other pains.

You might want to look for a therapist who can help you with all the areas you suffer and feel the need to “self medicate” with food.

I do not think you are sinning. I think you have struggles in other areas of your life and food may be a comfort.

I love, love, love the gym. I’m probably the slowest swimmer in the lap lane, the least coordinated at Zumba, the least flexible in the Yoga stretch class, the one with the least resistance on the bike in Spin Class - but I love going. I love walking an hour every day…enjoying the trees, the skies, and the walk.

Five years ago - walking to the mailbox was too much - because I thought “I was too old” - I was just over weight and without exercise. I got a booklet on food serving size and learned to measure my food. I learned what a serving of food was for each item. I lost weight by learning how to eat. Two years ago, I started walking and gradually added the rest.

You can find what you need, too. Blessings to you.

I wouldn’t think that what you are doing is ever a mortal sin. Gluttony becomes mortal when one only avails to himself all the comforts of life by not sharing with others. The parable of the rich man and Lazarus explains gluttony to its full expression. The rich man failed for not taking any consideration to those around him. That is what gluttony signifies. It is more the whole structure of your life set against in helping others. This is when it can be mortal. What you are talking about is much less serious when it is involving spiritual matters but your problem is much more “physical” so go to someone is a authority on nutrition and follow their advice.

Gluttony is mortal when you endanger your health gravely.

A behavior is a problem when we continue doing it despite increasing negative consequences. It sounds like you have reached that point.

As they say, it’s not about what we eat, it’s about what’s eating us. People who are successful with weight loss are the ones who deal with the underlying emotional factors (old wounds / childhood hurts / various types of abuse suffered…)

Good luck and prayers said for your situation.

Chronic gluttony is more of an addiction. It’s impossible to go cold turkey off of food, unlike smoking and alcohol. Our hunter gatherer ancestors were programmed to gorge in preparation for times of famine. Unfortunately in our sedentary society with a constant supply of processed foods, this spells trouble.

The human misery resulting in the form of chronic diseases is becoming a big problem for many and a burden on the healthcare system. I’d like to see a comprehensive public health campaign to help people overcome this!

Gluttony is a vice, not a sin.

Father John Hardon’s Modern Catholic Dictionary:

GLUTTONY. Inordinate desire for the pleasure connected with food or drink.** This desire may become sinful in various ways**: by eating or drinking far more than a person needs to maintain bodily strength; by glutting one’s taste for certain kinds of food with known detriment to health; by indulging the appetite for exquisite food or drink, especially when these are beyond one’s ability to afford a luxurious diet; by eating or drinking too avidly, i.e., ravenously; by consuming alcoholic beverages to the point of losing full control of one’s reasoning powers. Intoxication that ends in complete loss of reason is a mortal sin if brought on without justification, e.g., for medical reasons. (Etym. Latin glutire, to devour.)

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit