“Don’t fear it, having an appetite is a sign that you are alive and well. Celebrate this connection to your hunger and needs”.
This quote is something that I put together to reassure people that we need to feel hungry, otherwise we are not driven to eat. If we are not driven to eat, we will not survive. We will not survive due to the lack of nourishment.
For many years, I worked closely with many older people who required nutrition support, those who were experiencing malnutrition, mostly resulting chronic medical conditions.
These people experiencing malnutrition had a poor appetite or no appetite at all. Even if they wanted to eat, they did not feel like eating and became uncomfortable when they did.
Having moved on from working purely with the older population, I have been confronted with many people regardless of their age, trying to reduce their appetite or seeking advice on how to feel fuller for longer and even ignore appetite in attempts to lose weight from restricting and depriving themselves of food….essential nutrients….managing to avoid nourishing their bodies and sustaining their life.
These people were basically striving to become malnourished!
I believe dieting is a cause of malnutrition. Dieting is viewed as the very thing individuals should do to fit in and be a worthy human being that is healthy.
Ironic isn’t it!?!
It’s ironic because pursuing weight loss is so harmful it is not even funny….actually, I don’t think it was ever funny, but weight loss was never viewed as a serious issue and mostly still isn’t.
Here’s an example to show you what I mean about people being blind to the harmful nature of weight loss dieting and unintentional weight loss.
I’ve had clients say they received compliments from some friends and family about the weight they had lost when on the inside they were sick and struggling with food and eating. This is extremely sad and frustrating for the individual and dietitian assisting to improve nutrition and health status.
Dieting mentality definitely hindered the healing process of many older people I worked with.
I remember quite vividly a 40kg lady in her 70s with Parkinson Disease, she was so scared of gaining weight that she sabotaged her ability to nourish herself appropriately.
Her malnutrition from her dieting mindset coupled with the nutritional issues, consistent with Parkinson Disease, was what I believe eventually killed. The Parkinson’s Disease itself did not kill her.
It is extremely sad that on your death bed, you are scared of being fat.
Appetite varies between individuals and in the individual, appetites vary due to many reasons such as:
- Time of day
- What they’ve previously eating
- What they previously experienced (illness, medication, shock & exercise)
Early signs of hunger
- Less content
- Thinking about food
- Empty hollow/churning feeling
Later stages of hunger
- Stomach/gastric juices become more active
- Low energy
- Can’t think properly
How can you reconnect with your appetite?