No Appetite

People lose their appetite for all kinds of reasons: illness, pain, fatigue, depression, stress, medication, disease, or a combination of these.

If that happens, the appetite control center of your brain might be affected, signaling that you're not hungry even when you should be. You may lose your appetite and tolerance for food when you're sick— even though you need nourishment to get well. Or emotional stress may affect your desire for and ability to handle food.

Cope with a loss of appetite. Eat by the clock rather than by hunger. It may be easier to consume all the calories you need. Take advantage of the "up" times. When you feel well and your appetite is good, eat and enjoy! To stimulate your appetite:

  • Add some pizzazz to your foods! Colorful foods, appealing texture, and an appetizing aroma are helpful aids to increasing food intake.
  • Drink a glass of beer or wine before meals. This often gives your appetite a jump start. But check with your doctor first.
  • Eat meals with friends. The pleasure of being with others may be an appetite booster.
  • Fill the house with enticing food aromas such as freshly baked bread, cake, or cookies.
  • Keep favorite foods on hand. You may eat more when food is readily available.
  • Make mealtimes pleasant. A relaxed and attractive setting with soft music or flowers on the table may perk up your appetite.
  • Try eating your meal away from the dining room table, such as picnic style in the living room or at a candlelit table in front of the fireplace. Sometimes a change of place helps.
  • Plan for longer mealtimes. Don't schedule activities close to meals.
  • Walk before meals. A short walk often helps stimulate an appetite.
  • Stay away from unpleasant or unsettling topics of conversation at mealtimes, especially if stress is a problem for you.

Source: Adapted from Gail Farmer, Pass the Calories, Please! (Chicago: The American Dietetic Association, 1994). Used with permission.

Appetite Antidote

Appetite Antidote

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