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Loss of appetite
Apr 3, 2001

In the past 2 months I've lost 15lbs from 165 down to 150. My appetite is nonexistent, and nothing even sounds remotely good to eat. When I do eat, I'm only able to eat 1/2 of what I used to eat. Fatigue is a big factor also, too tired to exercise after working all day. Any suggestions?

Response from Ms. Fields-Gardner

There are many reasons for appetite loss, another one of those "non-specific" symptoms that is hard to pinpoint. First, find out if any of those items exist: depression, medication side effect, recent or current infection or other illness, low testosterone levels. Fatigue is often associated with weight loss, but may be related to anemia or other medical factors.

Once your appetite loss leads to weight loss, you can be at a higher risk for other problems. So, prevention whenever possible and quick reversal of weight loss is important. Prevention of weight loss is certainly better (and often easier) than having to regain it once it is lost.

There are many diet strategies to help improve your food intake. It is likely to be easier to restore your appetite if you make sure that you eat well when you don't have an appetite. You can try small, frequent meals and foods that don't fill you up as quickly. Also, eat more when you feel like it to compensate for times when you don't. Add in small amounts of exercise (walk a little, for instance) that you can tolerate. Keep plenty of small snacks (hopefully healthy ones) available for when the urge to eat hits. Eat with friends or TV (when mindless eating is easier). You can also use medical nutritional supplements (calorie-containing supplements) as meal or snack additions or even meal replacement, if you need to.

If you have already checked for risk factors (listed above) and solved any of those problems, you may want to talk with your doctor about medications that improve appetite.

If 165 pounds is your usual weight and a good weight for you, that will be your goal. If at all possible, get a baseline and follow-up body composition evaluation to make sure that weight you regain is the "right stuff."

And, when you do regain your weight, keep an eye on it so that you can catch any weight loss earlier on.


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