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jordym84's avatar

How can I get my appetite back?

Asked by jordym84 (4742 points ) June 24th, 2012

For the past 6 months or so, I’ve been eating extremely poorly. I have almost no appetite for anything and I often have to consciously talk myself into eating, especially when I’m with others. I never set out to lose weight, I was very happy with how I looked and how my clothes fit, and now I’m getting too bony and I don’t like it one bit. None of my clothes look good on me anymore because they’re too saggy. Most people have noticed that I’ve lost weight, but since they don’t know that it wasn’t intentional, they don’t see anything wrong with it. Although I feel fine for the most part (I just get light headed sometimes when I stand up too quickly), I know I’m not getting the proper nutrition and I’m afraid of the imminent repercussions if this goes on for too long.

Is there any way I can help myself regain my appetite without having to go see a doctor?

Thanks in advance!

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23 Answers

Ponderer983's avatar

Why did you lose interest in food in the first place? Low blood sugar can be the cause of dizziness upon standing, and the poor diet is a direct factor of that. The only thing I can say is you know there is a problem, so consciously change it. Make sure you eat enough protein in your diet and healthy fats. Make things that taste good to you and hopefully you will crave it more.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Goose your brain and body gently. Sometimes if you wait too long to drink or eat then your body will just stop feeling hungry even though it is and so yeah, you’ll get light headed. Try drinking a cup of water when you first wake up and then maybe a half hour later, eat a little something. An hour after that, eat something again, little things. After a bit then you’ll wake up and feel hunger.

Some people like me actually feel nauseous in the morning and so want to avoid eating. What’s worked is for me to think of what I’d like to eat and then make the whole meal a series of snacks until lunchtime. Believe it or not, that will keep your weight more regular.

Pandora's avatar

Take some B vitamins or vitamins with iron. Both tend to increase my appetite. Then try to eat a balanced meal. I find that if my meals start to become unbalanced, I start to lose interest in food. Once you do that you also lose the energy to even bother.
Vitamins will help increase your energy and then your appetite will follow. To really kick it into gear, hit the gym.

bookish1's avatar

If you are not sure why you are losing your appetite, I feel that you should go to a doctor or health clinic if you are able to access one.

I don’t think that just seeking to put a patch on the symptoms, rather than looking for the cause, is a good solution. But, I am very health conscious (and not in the yuppy way, in the “I have a disease” way). Good luck.

jordym84's avatar

I do have a theory as to why I’ve lost my appetite, but I’m not sure how plausible it is. The only major thing that’s changed in the past 6 months is that I started a new relationship and have fallen in love (big time), which is a first for me. He makes me really happy and things have been going well, but we’re at a distance for the time being until we can work some things out (we’re both at the beginning of our professional careers and are not financially stable enough to be able to move, and I was already in the process of moving away when we started dating) and it’s causing me major anxiety. Could it be that love has made me lose an interest in food and eating? Or is it the anxiety? Or both?

My boyfriend’s noticed my weight loss (from pictures) and is always telling me how worried it’s making him (last time we were together he noticed that I wasn’t eating well, but I keep trying to reassure him that I’ve been eating, even though it’s not true because I don’t want him to worry about it)...

Blackberry's avatar

Work out. Your body will demand more intake to replenish your muscles.

marinelife's avatar

Why do you not want to see a doctor? Not having any appetite is not natural. There is most likely something wrong with you that a doctor could diagnose and fix.

You should see uour doctor right away.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Love will do that to you.

I kind of know how you feel, in that I’m not really interested in eating either. About half way through any one big thing I almost feel sick, so I pick on things that I can take small bits of. Like I cut my hamburger into 4ths, and tell myself I only have to eat as much as I want. I just take small bites, and I usually get ¾ths down…which is actually more than I would if I was faced with a big, ginormous whole burger that I felt I had to take big ginormous bites out of. Yuck.

Or if I makes some sort of muffin, I make them in the smallest muffin pans available. You actually eat more when you’re not so overwhelmed with the sheer volume of food. (This holds true for children, too. Just put a bit on their plate and they can have more when they want. They DO eat more.)

Little bits.

Please come back, or stick around, and let us know the outcome in, say, 3 months.

Judi's avatar

Have you talked to your doctor at all? Unexplained weight loss is a red flag and you should at least talk to someone.
Not to scare you, but my mom lost weight and she thought it was just because she was controling her intake. It turns out she had liver cancer. She died about 2 months later.
Unexplained appetite loss is nothing to mess with.

Dutchess_III's avatar

It was kind of explained. She fell in love 6 months ago. Love, divorce and unrelenting stress will destroy your appetite. But, I agree. She should be safe and check with the doctor.

sixteenarmsbill's avatar

watch the food network

JLeslie's avatar

Try swimming. I just swam a few laps and I am starving.

Are you depressed? Or, very worried about some stresses in your life?

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@JLeslie Read the OP’s post in the thread. It offers a possible cause.

JLeslie's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer Thanks :). Anxiety, makes perfect sense. I call that the stress diet. Loss of appetite due to anxiety is very common. Xanax would bring her appetite back, but also risk addiction, so I am not recommending it per se.

@jordym84 Love usually makes us lose weight, and anxiety also causes a lot of people to lose their appetite. Sounds like you are pretty normal. But, you are right to be concerned if it has gone on for a few months. You need to somehow get a handle on your anxiety. Maybe see a therapist once a week so you can talk things through? Starting a career and out on your own as an adult is one of the most stressful times of life.

Ponderer983's avatar

@jordym84 It’s the anxiety, not the love. Granted the love has caused some of the anxiety, but I don’t think that’s what’s going on here. A lot of anxious people do experience a diminished appetite. I am the opposite and stress-eat, but there was one time that I was so incredibly over-stressed and anxious that I was barely eating for 3 weeks and lost 15 lbs during that time. Once I dealt with the anxiety, my appetite came back. So you either need to deal with the anxiety (which is the best option), or really force yourself to eat even though you don’t have the desire. Do some yoga, meditate, work out, or other things you may enjoy that are stress/anxiety relievers. But if you do work out, you really need to start eating otherwise it will get even worse!

Mariah's avatar

I gotta echo that you should try and find out why your appetite has gone.

Obviously it’d be best to try and solve it first without medication, but if necessary I can recommend cyproheptadine. It doesn’t work for everyone (it’s actually usually prescribed only to children) but if you’re young or small it might work for you. Doesn’t have side effects.

jrpowell's avatar

I’m going to assume you feel no need to eat unless your body screams “food”. I can go three days without eating without feeling hungry. I have no idea why this is or how to fix it. All I can really offer is a “good luck” and you are not alone.

And your situation seems totally foreign to most people. My mom eats when she is bored and can’t really fathom that I really don’t like eating.

JLeslie's avatar

I felt I should clarify swimming is different than other exercising. Many people lose their appetite at least temporarily when they are very hot, so other forms of exercise may not help you as well as swimming, which cools you down. After a good swim try some cold watermelon to tease your appetite and then a meal.

jordym84's avatar

@marinelife and @Judi – I’m currently unemployed and as such have no source of income and no health insurance, so seeing a doctor is not an option for now.

@Dutchess_III – that is exactly how I feel!! Every time I feel hungry and try to eat something, I feel sick. I can’t even fathom the thought of putting whatever it is in my mouth without gagging. But thank you so much for the tip!! I’ll definitely give it a try, I can see why it would work. Just out of curiosity (and you don’t have to answer if you don’t feel comfortable) is your lack of interest in food a result of falling in love?

@sixteenarmsbill – that’s my favorite TV channel. Most of the shows do whet my appetite, but not enough to make me want to eat what I have at home…

@johnpowell – I’ve also always been able to go a long time without eating, but when it came time to eat I always had an appetite, whereas now I have zero appetite. Most days the only thing I eat is a bowl of cereal with milk and a piece of whole grain bread with butter for “breakfast” and for the rest of the day subside on water. I took several nutrition courses in college as part of my major so I’m fully aware of how bad this is. Whenever I talk to my mom on Skype she mentions how skinny I look and she doesn’t understand that I’m not eating because I don’t want to, but because I can’t. I’ve stopped using my camera when I chat with her, told her it’s not working, so I can avoid the comments, which are very counterproductive because they make me feel worse. Good to know there’s someone who can understand…

Thank you everyone else for your input!! I really appreciate you taking the time to read and comment!

Judi's avatar

I read that ginger is something that they give to cancer patient to make food more palatable. I wonder if it would work for you? I really like these. You can probably find them in a local health food store without buying a whole case. I get them from my acupuncturist for $5.00
Edit: I guess you CAN get one bag from amazon!

jordym84's avatar

Thanks for the tip!! I love the taste of ginger, will give it a try.

Dutchess_III's avatar

LOL! No @jordym84, but I have been in love it it made me lose weight! Been divorced too. WONDERFUL diet tool!

No…I just don’t have the inordinate interest in food that so many people have. I just eat it because I have to. I’ve always felt that way, as long as I can remember.

jordym84's avatar

@Dutchess_III – Oh ok got it! :)

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