Weight Gain
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How can I make myself feel hungry again!?

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I'm gaining weight and in recovery from anorexia. This is my second time of weight gain (first time was in IP) and I'm finding it so difficult to eat to my meal plan, just because of how full/bloated and uncomfortable I feel.

If I could just have an appetite again and feel hungry, then I think eating would be so much easier. I am resigned to the idea of getting to my target weight because if I do not consistently gain I am going to be admitted to a unit again (not what I want!), so it is mainly just the issue of feeling sick and full.

Any methods for increasing appetite? I heard cinammon helps, and taking short walks before meals.

Also, I eat a very healthy vegetarian diet, but would it actually be more beneficial to eat low-fibre and more "unhealthy" things, just so I don't feel so full? My sister has Crohn's disease and needs lots of calories as she is underweight, and her dietician gives her highcal drinks and having cream,butter and lots of high fat foods is encouraged.

Any ideas?

Thanks :D

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Anyone underweight needs to reverse the usual dietary advice given to people trying to lose weight.  Full-fat dairy products are really useful for you, for example.  A diet with a lot of fat isn't 'dangerous' unless you've got other risky things going on at the same time e.g being obese, smoking, inactive lifestyle. 

Vegetables and other high fibre foods are good things but if you're trying to gain weight they are too filling and too low-cal.  Aim to get a lot more of things that are low in bulk but high in calories.  Things like nuts, avocados, seeds, dried fruit, eggs, olive oil, fruit juices.... all energy dense and nutrient-dense in relatively small amounts.  It's a pity you don't eat fish because oily fish is another excellent choice.  And don't be afraid to add in things like good quality chocolate or dairy ice-cream.  There are no 'bad foods'.

To increase your appetite the trick is to eat 'little and often'.... So you're never starving hungry but you're never full to bursting either.  A walk in the fresh air before meals does sharpen the appetite.  Best of luck
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Short walks tend to work well, I've also noticed if I ever do an extended period of sit-ups, I get the urge to have something snacky. I doubt there is any science behind that, and my 'urge' is prolly just feeling my muscles cause of they've just been used.

Although probably not much use, as your not trying to cause a calorie deficit. Speak to your doctor about it, I'm sure its a common issue.

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i would really work at putting things into perspective first. for you, right now, starving your body of the nutrition it needs is a LOT more unhealthy than eating foods low in fiber.

as far as appetites go, i would try drinking ice cold water. that always helps me. also, space out your eating so that you eat several times a day in stead of two-three very big meals.

I became more hungry when I started eating a normal amount of calories. Now I get sooo hungry if I am under at the slightest.

Eat often, and make sure that you are giving your body fats and proteins and carbs!
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Heya, first of congrats on recovery. i recently recovered to, i found the first month i had no appetitte at all.

it takes time, which is annoying to hear but its true. start eating at a routine, similar times each day, eat snacks a few times even if your not hungry, eat small and often intially and this should help to bring your appetitte back up.


i just ate a good breakfast,snack,lunch,snack,dinner,pudding, evening snack all without any hunger and the first 2 weeks odd it was very bloating but the bloating should soon go, and your metabolism will pick up. our bodies are very able to change when given a chance, and im sure you will get it bac again soon.


exercise, only light, like jogging for twenty minutes really did help me with eating, days i exercised i actually felt hungry for lunch so i would suggest light acticity if your disorder was not that of over exercising otherwise, i would avoid this as it could become addictive.


like gi jane said, swap skim milk for fat, increase portion sizes gradually, use higher fat cheese e.t.c no low fat foods.


give it a few weeks and you should find your hungry again! its great when you hear your tummy rumble again lol!

I too am trying to figure out how to make myself get the "hungry" feeling again. my problem is from recovering from a bunch of liver surgeries and still no positive out come from it though. 

I met up with a nutritionist and she explained to me that its like an older dog that your trying to train, it takes time, just be patient. If you stress, it will mess with your appetite.

One thing she suggested to me that was helpful to still get in calories even when i feel like i cant eat one more thing, is to drink juice. 8oz of most juice is around 120 calories. if you calculate 8oz of juice with your breakfast, lunch, dinner, and 2 snacks, thats 600 calories just in a drink. Juice is less filling on your stomach so you will actually find that you can drink 12oz with each sitting.

Thanks so much for all the replies!

I am going to take your advice and start having more high-cal but smaller things, and also the juice idea is good! I might try that Smile

I think my problem is that at my last IP stay, we were always fed really high-cal things, and it would be deemed an unhealthy diet even for weight gain. So now I'm doing it myself, I want to do it "healthily", but I've realised that anything is healthy right now, as long as its got calories! So I'm gonna challenge myself to have an ice cream later, and not worry about it!

As for making myself hungry, I am allowed to do exercise, but not much right now. But as my weight increases I'm going to be allowed to do more. So I might try doing it in short bursts throughout the day (rather than one big aerobics sesh etc). That might help me feel hungrier.

Also, one more question..

Do you find that eating a big breakfast in the morning makes you feel extra full all day? I find breakfast the easiest meal to eat - as i'm hungrier! - but then don't feel hungry at all. Whereas if I had a small breakfast would I have more of an appetite the rest of the day? I might try to vary how I have my meals/snacks and see what works best.

Thanks again :-)

It depends what you have for breakfast.   A breakfast with a lot of carbohydrates e.g. toast, won't keep you feeling full as long as if you had lots of protein, e.g. eggs, with the toast or lots of fibre e.g. wholemeal toast.   So if you like a big breakfast, keep it heavy on the carbohydrates and low on the fibre and protein.  And then plan a mid-morning top-up snack of nuts and fruit, etc., whether you're especially hungry or not.  
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