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flash74686's avatar

Experiencing a loss of appetite since coming to college?

Asked by flash74686 (432 points ) December 17th, 2012

I’m originally from the South, in a suburban household with a pantry filled with nothing but junk. It would make sense that I was about 20–25 pounds overweight (my weight would often fluctuate within those five pounds). Just this year, I started college in New York City, where I’m walking more than I ever have in my entire life, but not exercising at all other than that.

I’d like to take this moment to say that I’m not depressed or worried about my weight in any way. I’m the happiest I’ve ever been, having made some of the best friends I’ve ever had, and I haven’t even missed home once. College feels like home to me and I literally could not be happier at this moment in time. And while I’ll acknowledge that I’m a bit overweight, I don’t always look it, and I can appreciate the pros and cons of my body like everyone else. I often look in the mirror and and pleasantly surprised- no warped sense of weight here.

But something’s changed since coming to school. I’m eating less than I ever have. You’d think with the more active/stressful lifestyle, I’d be eating more, but no. Back home, I’d eat two meals with TONS of snacks in between. Never had time for breakfast. Because of that, I’m not in the habit of eating breakfast now, and sometimes, I’ll only eat once a day. Sometimes that one meal is a smoothie and a bag of chips. And I’m good. I’ll get a personal pizza at the dining hall and only finish one slice. A lot of times, I’d just eat cereal and fruit for meals, since I’m a picky eater and dining hall food is so bad. I don’t know why, but I just fill up so quickly now. And I don’t get as hungry as often. It’s 4 pm now, and I have yet to eat anything more than a bag of chips, and six oreos, and I’m not even hungry. Oh yeah- and I woke up at six am today!

Smoothies are really the only thing I can bear to eat anymore, since to get anything else would be a waste of my meal plan. At least I finish the smoothies. I’ve lost weight too- ten to fifteen pounds, depending on what starting weight you choose. Though my weight fluctuated in the past, every time I’ve weighed it recently, it’s stayed the same, which is good, I guess? I really can’t eat much at all. I start feeling sick before long. It’s enough that my friends have noticed it. They’ll get angry at me and say, “You haven’t eaten anything, how can you be full?!” I lie and explain it away with my height- I’m not quite five feet tall.

I just want to know if maybe something could be wrong with me? It’s not natural to eat so little, is it? I’ve also recently started exercising once a week. Not very intensive, but I don’t want to worry about accidentally fainting in the middle of practice (it’s a club sport). I’ve tried to eat more, but I literally feel like I will vomit if I take another bite. Eating two slices of pizza is an all-out war nowadays.

Sorry this is so long, but I wanted to add as much detail as possible. Tl;dr: I can’t eat nearly as much as I used to, sometimes only once a day and want to make sure I’m not dying.

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8 Answers

CWOTUS's avatar

I’ve often found that when I exercise even moderately that I eat 1) less and 2) better (more healthfully). If you’re happy on top of all that, then that might help to explain why you just have less need for “comfort food” (and you probably have other things keeping you busy), so that you just don’t have the need or time to eat that you used to.

Good for you!

JLeslie's avatar

Losing appetite can be a sign a slow thyroid. An easy inexpensive blood test can check that. Although, feeling very nauseas might indicate something else, but still worth checking I think.

You say you are not depressed, which is something I would have suggested, but for now let’s take it at face value you you aren’t. Are you stressed from your studies?

If you were overweight previously, and now much happier and more active, maybe less bored, it is not surprising to me your appetite would fall off a bit, but your sounds quite extreme. How long has this been going on that you feel sick if you eat a reasonable sized meal? In my late teens I went through about 6 weeks of that, the stomach upset was severe, and then it finally went away. My doctor thought maybe it was some sort of odd virus.

How tall are you and what do you weigh?

Any chance you are pregnant?

marinelife's avatar

You are happy so you are not eating for emotional reasons.

You are busy so you’re not eating because you’re bored.

You are exercising a lot more (walking is really good exercise), which naturally curbs your appetite.

As long as you stay the same weightwise, do not worry. Only if you keep losing should you become concerned.

Remember that when this phase of your life ends, you’ll need to watch what you eat again,

WestRiverrat's avatar

If it worries you, I would advise you to stop by the school clinic and talk to either the nurse or a dietitian. It may be any number of things from being in a new environment to ulcers. I am guessing closer to the new environment.

Moving from the south to NYC your body will have to adjust to different bacteria in the food chain, this can take some time if you are a delicate eater to start with. It is a normal process that can sometimes take several weeks.

A daily or 3 times a week multivitamin supplement would probably be a good idea with as little as you claim you are eating. That and check your weight regularly, as long as it isn’t dropping you should be ok with not visiting the clinic.

Bellatrix's avatar

It could simply be you have other things you want to do other than eat. You are happy. Your body is releasing feel-good endorphins. You are also exercising (even that extra walking is exercise) and exercise can suppress the appetite because it also leads to the release of endorphins. I think getting used to a new routine can mess with our appetite too. As long as you have plenty of energy, you feel well, your skin, nails, hair etc. are all healthy. I wouldn’t worry too much about it right now. If you don’t feel well or have other symptoms then speak to your doctor. If it continues and you feel it is something more than just being busy and less interested in eating, speak to your doctor.

burntbonez's avatar

Enjoy this while it lasts. I’m sure you will return to being more hungry at some point, and then you’ll find it difficult to keep your weight down.

If you are worried, talk to a doctor. We don’t really know anything about you, and can’t really give good advice.

JLeslie's avatar

I thought about this more. Smoothies, like fruit smoothies? Those have a lot of calories and sugar, your diet doesn’t sound that great actually. Pizza and smoothies. Don’t get me wrong, college usually kids don’t eat the best foods, so it isn’t that unsual. Also, it doesn’t sound necessarily like it is a hunger thing, but maybe the food doesn’t fit in your stomach? That might be something to be concerned about, hard to tell. Since you are so short, the nornal amount you should eat is pretty small.

gailcalled's avatar

At slightly under five feet tall, you still need a minimum number of calories/day and nutritionally valuable foods in order to stay healthy.

“It’s 4 pm now, and I have yet to eat anything more than a bag of chips, and six oreos, and I’m not even hungry. Oh yeah- and I woke up at six am today!”

That is dangerous and needs addressing. No matter how you may be feeling now, you are heading for disaster.

You have every reason to be alarmed and should be seeking professional advice. We here can be concerned but have no credentials.

Head to student health, please. You are happy with school and your life, it sounds like. Don’t be sabotaged by a medical issue.

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