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How Can I Increase My Appetite and Gain Weight?
A loss of appetite can be a frustrating thing to deal with because it often seems like there’s little a person can do to remedy the situation. Not feeling hunger isn’t like pain, which can be mitigated, or high blood pressure, which can be treated; a lack of appetite is often simply something a person has to learn to live with. That said, there are a few ways that a person with this problem can increase their appetite and gain weight, almost all of which can be done at home with very little planning. To learn more about how to boost your appetite and maintain weight with nutrition shakes, keep reading as the people at ENU tackle this topic.
Why Do People Lose Their Appetites?
Because so many different factors – from hormones and stress to infections and illnesses – can influence a person’s metabolism and appetite, it’s sometimes difficult to identify the cause of this issue. Below are a few of the most common reasons why people lose their appetites.
The endocrine system is responsible for creating the hormones that govern how our bodies develop and function, so an issue with any part of this system can causes problems throughout the body. Certain disorders of the endocrine system, such as type 1 diabetes or hyperthyroidism, can trigger unwanted weight loss, while others, such as hypothyroidism, can cause the metabolism to slow, reducing appetite and causing a host of other issues.
Many common forms of mental illness can affect a person’s hunger levels, including anxiety, depression, and panic disorder. Eating disorders – especially ones like anorexia or bulimia – can also diminish the appetite or make people avoid food, while more commonplace issues, such as extreme grief or stress, could have the same effect.
As people get older, changes occur throughout the body, altering the functions of the digestive system and endocrine system, among others. Additionally, older people tend to use prescription medications more extensively than younger ones, which could play a role as well.
Cancer and Its Treatments
There are many types of cancer, and each can have a unique impact on a person’s physiology. Loss of appetite is not uncommon in cancer patients, especially those with stomach, pancreatic, or ovarian cancers, and the treatments used to address this disease can exacerbate the issue. Chemotherapy, immunotherapy, hormone therapy, and radiation therapy can all cause diminished hunger, either as a primary side effect or as a result of another issue, such as nausea or mouth sores.
How to Increase Your Appetite
To avoid dropping to an unhealthy weight, it’s important that you continue to eat the proper amounts of calories and nutrients, even if you seldom or never feel hungry. To make this easier, consider the following tips on how to increase your appetite and improve your ability to eat.
Eat with Other People
It may not be the first solution that comes to mind, but there’s evidence to suggest that dining with friends or family or while watching TV can actually stimulate your appetite. The goal here is to turn your attention away from how much you’re eating; one study found that distracting yourself with conversation or other forms of entertainment could boost calorie consumption by as much as 18% (Source). However, this effect seems diminished when eating with strangers.
Limit Drinks with Meals
When you’re eating to gain weight, your priority should be to consume as many calories and nutrients as possible. However, drinking water, soda, or other beverages before or during a meal can take up space in your stomach and diminish your appetite, so avoid drinks for an hour or so before eating and while dining.
Exercise More Often
Though it also burns calories, exercise can stimulate your appetite by boosting your metabolism. Working out regularly can therefore help you eat more, though you should prioritize weights and resistance training over aerobic exercise if weight gain is your goal.
Tips for Gaining Weight
If a loss of appetite has caused you to experience unwanted weight loss, there are a few things you can do to gain that weight back quickly and in a healthy way. Maintaining a caloric surplus of about 500 calories per day can add around one pound per week to your frame; if this is difficult to manage because of a lack of hunger, try adding calories to your food by cooking with unsaturated fats (such as coconut oil or olive oil), putting lots of condiments on your food, or adding toppings like cheese or nuts to dishes.
One important point to remember is that healthy foods are always a better option for weight gain than junk food, even though they both provide calories. Instead of potato chips, consider snacking on some trail mix or dried fruit; whole-fat dairy products can also provide plenty of both calories and nutrients. Make sure you get plenty of protein to fuel a rise in muscle mass, rather than just fat, and don’t be afraid to adopt an unusual eating schedule; many people who struggle with appetite loss find it easier to eat five or six small meals a day, as opposed to two or three large ones.
Try a Meal Replacement Shake for Healthy Weight Gain from ENU
Along with the tips described above, it can be useful to incorporate liquid calories into your diet if you don’t have much of an appetite. Meal replacement shakes from ENU can accommodate that need; each carton offers 400 calories provided by real food ingredients, plus 20 grams of protein and 24 key vitamins and minerals. Learn more about how ENU nutritional shakes can help you gain weight in a healthy way by visiting us online or calling (855) 266-6733 today.