“You’ve lost your appetite? I wish I could lose MINE!”
Maybe that’s how people react when they hear that you don’t feel like food, but just not feeling hungry is often a sign of something else. Whether your loss of appetite is caused by lifestyle, emotional or health issues, let’s see if we can help you get it back.
Habits that can take away your desire to eat
- Lack of exercise. Being inactive can lessen your appetite, but there’s an easy way to fix it: get up and get moving, even if it’s just a decent walk each day.
- No routine. If your normal breakfast, lunch and supper routine has been thrown out by a new schedule or changes in your work situation, you might be skipping meals. Find a way to get at least two of them back on track.
- Being unable to prepare food. This can happen if you’re suddenly living alone and wondering whether it’s even worth cooking for one, or without facilities to make proper meals. Find a way to buy fresh foods daily and to adapt to your circumstances. If nothing else, eat a good breakfast and have lunch.
- Stressful mealtimes. If your dinner table is a war-zone of arguments or tense silences, you may not even want to be there. If you can’t change it into a positive space, try taking your meals somewhere else. But don’t skip them!
Is it a health issue?
- Whether this is caused by medication side-effects or just not drinking enough, it’s not good for you at all. Make a point of getting more water or fluid in, and your appetite will probably improve too.
- Sensitivity to smells. Many pregnant moms-to-be know all about this one! Certain smells that never bothered you before suddenly bring on nausea. Try to identify what those smells are and avoid them if you can!
- Loneliness or depression. Eating is not just a necessity, it’s also a social activity, and not having someone to share a meal with can make loneliness feel worse. How can you make mealtimes more pleasant? Perhaps invite a friend to join you, or put on your favourite TV series.
- Battling to chew or swallow. Dental problems, or medical conditions such as stroke or multiple sclerosis can make eating difficult. If you’re dealing with a medical issue that affects eating, talk to your doctor about supplements and ways to make it easier.
- Viral or bacterial infections can affect your appetite – especially if you have a fever. Remember to drink a lot of fluids, and try to eat something light.
- Pinworms. If you notice a child with a loss of appetite, restlessness, and itchiness around the anus, take him or her to the doctor to check for pinworms.
Still unsure why you’ve lost your appetite? Then ask one of our doctors. We’re here to help!
Joanne Hart for HelloDoctor.com