Appetite is a person’s desire to eat food and drink. It indicates how much food a person want to eat along with the type of food. It is a psychological based impulse rather than biologically based hunger. A person can have an appetite even if there is no feeling of hunger and vice versa.
Studies have shown that people suffering from depression may go through appetite disturbance. It can be low appetite, and high appetite varies from situation to situation or person to person. Whether appetite is low or high, it leads to a disturbance that needs to be catered. The balance in appetite or hunger is necessary to live a happy and comfortable life.
If you are reading this, it indicates that you are here for a solution. So, here are different effective ways to deal with appetite disturbance.
Reduce excessive hunger
If you feel a high appetite and hunger, then you must reduce that excessive hunger pangs. Mental health conditions, such as depression and stress, can also lead to appetite changes and overeating.
1. Eat enough protein
Adding more protein to your diet can increase feelings of fullness, make you eat less at your next meal, and help you lose fat. A high protein intake may help prevent muscle loss when daily calories are reduced for weight loss.
You can have eggs in breakfast as a supplement of protein and balance appetite disturbance. Getting sufficient protein in your diet can help promote weight loss, partly by decreasing your appetite.
2. Fiber-rich foods consumption
A high fiber intake stretches the stomach, slows its emptying rate, and influences the release of fullness hormones. In addition, fiber can ferment in the bowel. This produces short-chain fatty acids thought to help further promote feelings of fullness. A recent review reports that adding fiber-rich beans, peas, chickpeas, and lentils to your meal can increase feelings of fullness by 31%, compared to equivalent meals that aren’t based on beans.
Fiber-rich whole grains can also help reduce hunger and keep you feeling full. Thus you can have control over appetite disturbances and feelings of hunger.
3. Pick solids over liquids
Solid calories and liquid calories can affect appetite differently. Solids require more chewing, which can grant more time for the fullness signal to reach the brain.
Scientists also believe the extra chewing time allows solids to stay in contact with the taste buds for longer, promoting feelings of fullness.
Eating your calories rather than drinking them can help you eat less and get rid of appetite disturbance.
4. Drink Coffee
Coffee has many benefits for health and sports performance and may also help decrease your appetite. Interestingly, decaffeinated coffee may produce the highest hunger reduction, with effects that last up to three hours after consumption.
To reduce hunger and control appetite disturbance, it is suggested to drink coffee, mostly decaf, for up to three hours.
5. Fill up on water
Drinking water can help decrease the hunger you feel before meals. It may also increase feelings of fullness following a meal and promote weight loss. Interestingly, starting your meal with soup may act in the same way.
Researchers observed that eating a bowl of soup immediately before a meal decreased hunger and reduced total calorie intake from about 100 calories.
6. Take healthy snacks
Snacking is a matter of personal choice. If it’s part of your daily routine, you may want to choose snacks that are high-protein rather than high-fat. High-protein snacks can increase feelings of fullness and decrease total calorie intake at the following meal.
For overcoming a feeling of hunger and appetitive disturbance, it is better to opt for protein-rich snacks.
7. Eat ginger
Sounds disgusting? But ginger has been linked to many health benefits. These include reductions in nausea, muscle pain, inflammation, and blood sugar levels. Ginger also decreases inflammation, stimulates digestion, and suppresses your appetite. These properties lead some people to believe that ginger may promote weight loss.
The medical literature indicates that ginger can work along with a healthy diet and exercise to help you reach a healthy weight.
Individuals who exercise frequently burn a lot of calories. This is especially true if you regularly participate in high-intensity exercise or engage in physical activity for long durations, such as in marathon training.
It’s important to note that this mostly applies to avid athletes and works out frequently at a high intensity or for long periods. If you exercise moderately, you probably don’t need to increase your calorie intake.
9. Get enough sleep
Getting enough quality sleep can also help reduce hunger and protect against weight gain. At least seven hours of sleep per night is likely to maintain bodily appetite needs, and you can get control over appetite disturbance.
10. Reduce stress
To control appetite disturbance, it is essential to reduce stress levels. Reducing stress levels may help decrease cravings, increase fullness, and even protect against depression and obesity.
Challenge loss of appetite
Many of us suffer from loss of appetite when in a stressful or depressing situation. The loss of appetite may lead to more mental and physical issues if you want to protect yourself and think about taking good care of yourself. It would help if you overcame mental stressors and barriers that lead to appetite disturbance.
11. Make use of protein-rich food
Eat foods high in calorie and protein content. Foods high in protein are peanut butter, eggs, nuts, cereal, chicken, steak, meat, etc. Foods high in calories are cheese, yogurt, ice cream, peanut butter, etc.
Additionally, it is essential to eat bread with meals to add more calories. Add milk and cheese to things you cook to add more calories.
12. Less fluid intake
Refraining from pre-meal water intake could increase your calorie intake by 8.7%. Therefore, try to limit your water intake 30 minutes before meals and see if your appetite improves. Drinking water or other liquids before or during meals can affect your appetite and make you eat less.
13. Gentle Activities
Exercise lightly before meals to stimulate the appetite. Even a short walk may be refreshing. Light exercising or walk helps you free of stress, and you can control your appetite disturbance issues.
If your circumstances make it difficult for you to get to the gym or even do formal exercises at home, try to increase the amount of walking, gardening, cleaning, and other lighter forms of movement and exercise you usually do from day to day.
14. Eat small meals
Eating three full meals might seem like a challenging task when you don’t have a healthy appetite. A more motivating way to eat is to divide your three main meals into five or six smaller meals.
As your appetite improves, you can start increasing the portions of these meals or adding more ingredients to consume more calories throughout the day.
For example, if you’re eating a tuna sandwich, incorporate some veggies and cheese to add more calories and nutrients.
15. Avoid greasy and fried food
Foods that make you feel gassy should also be avoided as these make you feel full. Examples of gassy foods are beans, cauliflower, broccoli, and carbonated drinks. The goal is not to feel full but to nourish yourself.
When you start avoiding fried food, it leans to better appetite pangs, and you can control your appetite disturbance.
16. Use of large plate
This technique makes it look like you are eating less food and makes the task of eating seem less overwhelming. It is a psychological based technique like you are ditching your mind to eat more.
17. Take care of mouth-related problems
Take care of mouth sores and other mouth-related problems that can make eating unpleasant. When you feel good and healthy, you enjoy your meal and balance your body fats and weight. Hence, appetite disturbance can be resolved.
18. Eat food when you are most hungry
When you feel hungry even though you recently ate, check to see if what you’re feeling is a craving brought on by something psychological. Some people find that it’s easier to eat several small meals throughout the day. Other people do better with three meals per day. Whichever you choose, try to eat on a regular schedule every day, according to how hungry you usually get. Eating regular meals can help you be more aware of hunger and fullness.
19. Try different and new foods
Trying something new may excite you and increase your appetite. Try eating soft foods when you are not feeling well (e.g., pancakes, eggs, casseroles, cheese, pasta, potatoes). This strategy helps you to incline toward food eating and balance your appetite.
20. Cool off appetite with soup
If you are feeling hunger at a rough time, then it is better to try the soup. Do not miss regular three times daily food consumption. Soup is good for appetite disturbance and can help you to combat bodily eating patterns.
21. Slow down when eating fast
Eating too quickly often leads to overeating, as your brain doesn’t have enough time to receive fullness signals. Additionally, eating slowly has been shown to decrease the amount of food consumed during the meal due to an increase in fullness hormones.
Combat stress eating
22. Identify stressors
Identify the circumstances and emotions that lead you to stress-eat. These are your emotional eating triggers, and once you recognize them, you can take steps to avoid them or at least be prepared for them.
23. Reach out for help
Talk out your feelings and unhealthy responses to stress with close friends and family who can give you the support you need to get through challenging situations. If you often feel guilt, shame, or regret over your eating habits, you may want to speak with a professional counselor.
24. Intuitive eating
Learn intuitive eating, a practice developed by dietitians Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch back in the 1990s that complements mindful eating, and that is still recommended by nutrition experts today. Intuitive eating means paying more attention to the natural, internal hunger and fullness signals sent between your brain and your gut. These signals help you determine when, what, and how much to eat. It’s also about trusting those signals.
Once you understand and trust your natural eating cues, unless you have dietary restrictions, you can permit yourself to give in to a craving for, say, the chocolate cake just as quickly as you allow yourself to eat vegetables without guilt or shame. You’ll know intuitively when to say “enough!” Your decision is based on hunger and the appeal of certain foods at certain times, but not on how stressed or emotional you feel in the moment.
Food code of conducts in dealing with appetite disturbance
25. Change the eating pattern
Looking for an eating pattern is compulsory. Try to record food consumption daily and note it down on a diary—the normal eating pattern range from 3 times per day. Eating more than 3 times associated with overeating, and less than three times is associated with less eating.
Balance eating is compulsory to maintain appetite disturbance and leads to a healthy diet.
26. Fight fatigue and improve energy levels
Changing up your diet to incorporate certain foods can fight fatigue. But to keep the energy up, most of the carbohydrate foods you eat should be whole. If you don’t have much of an appetite, eat smaller portions more often.
27. Don’t eat while working
Eating while you’re distracted by work can be a disaster for your waistline and energy levels. How many times have you mindlessly munched your way through lunch, and before you realize it, you’re on your last bite? Research has shown that eating while distracted can lead to overeating.
28. Diet is not a war to fight
Learn to taste what you are eating, learn to prepare it, don’t give up the pleasure of the food and the table (color, layout, details of the plates and cutlery); choose delicious and scented herbal tea. Look for new cool restaurants where they cook food which fits your new lifestyle. It is not a punishment! Don’t think you are in a coercive situation.
29. Treat underlying digestive problems
It is important to look for digestive problems to cater to appetite disturbances. Such issues can result from bacteria in food, infection, stress, certain medications, or chronic medical conditions such as colitis, Crohn’s disease, and IBS. But no matter the cause, anyone who has frequent digestive problems faces daily challenges and potential embarrassments.
30. Treat nausea
Take the anti-nausea medication at the first sign of queasiness or nausea. Delay eating favorite foods if feeling nauseous.
Medical and psychological therapies
31. Check regularity of hormones controlling appetite
The two hormones most closely associated with energy homeostasis, leading to appetite and satiety, are ghrelin and leptin. It is suggested to do a medical checkup to assure the regularity of hormones.
32. Meal replacement supplements
Meal replacement shakes are a portable and convenient option for an on-the-go meal. They may be an effective way to reduce your calorie intake and lose weight. However, be sure to choose a meal replacement shake high in protein and low sugar and artificial ingredients.
33. Cannabinoid drugs
According to experts at Washington State University, new research on how cannabis use alters eating behavior could lead to treatments for appetite loss in chronic illness. Using a new procedure to dose lab rats with cannabis vapor, the researchers found how they trigger hunger hormones.
If in case you are suffering from a depressive episode and that is the reason for appetite disturbance. Antidepressants such as SSRIs can help relieve symptoms of depression, social anxiety disorder, anxiety disorders, seasonal affective disorder, dysthymia, or mild chronic depression, as well as other conditions.
35. Cognitive therapies
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is the leading evidence-based treatment for bulimia nervosa. A new “enhanced” version of the treatment appears to be more potent. It has the added advantage of being suitable for all eating disorders, including anorexia nervosa and eating disorder not otherwise specified.
36. Behavioral therapies
Appetite-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy in the treatment of binge eating with purging. The first-line treatment for bulimia nervosa (BN), cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), uses food-based self-monitoring.
37. Nutritional counseling
Good nutrition aims to improve your overall health and wellness. With the help of a nutrition counselor, you can use nutrition to increase energy, enhance sleep quality, strengthen your immune system, boost mood, improve concentration, and reduce disease symptoms.
38. Family therapy
Family-based therapy (FBT) is a treatment method that has been robustly used to treat eating disorders in adolescents, such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. FBT is designed to empower family members to support the patient’s recovery in a home setting by providing parents and siblings with education on eating disorders.
Appetite disturbance may lead to severe eating disorders that can distort the personal, social, and occupational functioning of life. We have to look after our eating patterns. If there is any up and down, look for treatment from the very start. The suggestive ways can help you in combating appetite issues to some extent. Don’t hesitate to take help from a practitioner or psychologist. Life is a gift. Never take it for granted.
Moving forward with Psychotherapy
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Alternatively, if you need to seek psychotherapy, be sure to check out ahealo.com. Ahealo is an online psychotherapy platform with a diverse range of psychotherapists for many different fields of mental challenges. Ahealo provides ePsychotherapy at an affordable price, confidential, convenient (through a web page 1-1 private video call), and at your comfortable schedule.
With these options, we believe your appetite disturbances can be resolved soon.
Take care and stay well.