Can’t Eat Due to Anxiety? Here’s What You Need to Know

By Mark Bowden | News

Mar 15
No appetite- elderly woman refusing to eat meal due to anxiety

Do you ever feel like your stomach is in knots and you just can’t seem to bring yourself to eat? Anxiety can have a significant impact on our appetite, causing us to lose interest in food or overeat as a coping mechanism. It’s a common experience that many people struggle with, but it’s important to understand how anxiety affects our bodies and what we can do to regain control.

In this article, we’ll explore the relationship between anxiety and appetite loss, why it happens, and ways to address it. So pull up a chair and let’s dive into the world of anxiety-induced appetite changes.

Have you ever experienced a loss of appetite due to anxiety? If so, you’re not alone.

The American Psychological Association’s 2015 survey found that 31 percent of adults admit to skipping a meal in the past month due to stress and anxiety.

This effect can vary from person to person. Some may find themselves unable to eat due to the physical symptoms of anxiety, such as nausea or stomach pains. Others may lose their appetite because they are too distracted or overwhelmed by anxious thoughts to focus on eating.

Why Does Anxiety Suppress Your Appetite?

Studies have shown that people who suffer from anxiety have an increased activity in their sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the “fight-or-flight” response. When this happens, essential functions needed to deal with a threat are prioritized over eating.

However, it’s essential to recognize that prolonged periods of not eating can have detrimental effects on our physical and mental health. Therefore, it’s crucial to find ways to manage your anxiety and regain control over your appetite.

How to regain your appetite if you lose it?

To regain your appetite if anxiety has caused it to decrease, start by focusing on comfort foods that make you feel happy and relaxed.

A lady that wears read offers muffin to her friend that wears white to make her feel happy and relaxed

Comfort foods are usually those that remind us of our childhood or a pleasant memory from the past. For instance, if chocolate chip cookies were always around when you were growing up, try having one or two for dessert after meals.

It’s also important to pay attention to food sensitivities while trying to get back into eating normally again. If certain items don’t sit well with your body, such as dairy products or gluten-containing grains, avoid them until you start regaining your appetite and feeling more comfortable with the idea of eating non-preferred foods.

Also, you can look for simple dishes like soups or salads that require minimal effort but still provide enough nutrition to keep energy levels up throughout the day.

Finally, spend some time outdoors in nature every day. Just a few minutes outside breathing in fresh air can help reduce feelings of anxiety and lift your mood so that eating becomes enjoyable again rather than something laborious or scary.

Man resting on bench after exercise and drinking water | Mark Bowden Hypnotherapy

With these steps in mind, getting your regular appetite back should become easier over time!

Other conditions that may cause loss of appetite

Loss of appetite is not just a symptom of feeling anxious. There are other physical and psychological conditions that could be the cause as well. Below, we have listed some common examples:

Physical Conditions Psychological Conditions
Stomach bug Feelings of anxiety
Food refusal Chronic stress
Irritable bowel syndrome Depression

Physical conditions like stomach bugs can disrupt your body’s natural processes, making it difficult to eat anything at all. Food refusal also causes loss of appetite; this may occur when one has had a negative experience with food in the past or if they feel unsafe eating for any reason. Lastly, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is an example of a medical condition that affects digestion and often leads to decreased hunger.

Psychological conditions such as feelings of anxiety, depression, and chronic stress can make it hard to get into the mood for meals too. Those suffering from these issues will likely find themselves avoiding food due to their symptoms or lack thereof. It’s important to note that anyone experiencing different levels of mental health concerns should seek help from a professional; this goes for those who have difficulty maintaining their appetite as well.

What to do if you can’t eat because of anxiety?

If you can’t eat because of anxiety, here’s what you can do:

Try to eat at least smaller meals more frequently: Eating small portions throughout the day helps avoid overwhelming yourself by having one large meal.

Make sure to get enough nutrients: Nourish your body with healthy snacks such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. This will ensure that you are getting essential vitamins and minerals even if you cannot eat larger meals.

• Make sure you’re getting enough sleep: Getting enough sleep is essential for managing anxiety, as lack of sleep can worsen the symptoms. Aim for 8–10 hours of sleep per night to give your body time to rest and reset.

Avoid caffeine and alcohol: Caffeine and alcohol can increase feelings of anxiety and may hinder your appetite. Try to limit these substances when possible.

• Consider eating on a schedule: Having fixed times you eat each day can help you feel more in control and can lead to better eating habits. It can also be helpful to plan meals ahead of time and have them ready so that you don’t have to worry about deciding what to eat when you’re feeling anxious.

Practice relaxation techniques: Trying activities like yoga, deep breathing, or mindfulness can help reduce tension in your body and make it easier for you to eat.

Talk to a mental health professional: Professional help can provide you with the right guidance and techniques to manage your anxiety.

Though regaining lost appetites may seem daunting at first, know that with patience and understanding you are capable of overcoming even the toughest obstacles in life. With careful attention paid both mentally and physically, soon enough you’ll find yourself savoring each bite taken just as before!

Hypnotherapy For Anxiety Could Improve Your Eating Habits

Hypnotherapy or hypnosis can be an effective tool to help improve your eating habits by reducing anxiety. The key to a successful session is the use of relaxation techniques and conditioning the mind towards healthy behaviours.

By allowing yourself to relax, specific words, metaphors, stories, and other techniques are used to condition new thoughts, behaviors, and ways of operating. This helps to break unhealthy patterns in order to create healthier ones.

Here are 5 ways that hypnosis could improve your eating habits and appetite loss:

1. Help create new and healthier eating habits

2. Increase motivation to make better food choices

3. Improve focus on nutrition-related goals

4. Help break bad habits that contribute to unhealthy diet patterns

5. Increase motivation to make better food choices

When an individual is struggling with an anxiety-based feeding disorder, hypnotherapy provides them with tools to reduce tension and worry while giving them insight into why certain triggers may have caused the problem in the first place. This type of therapy also offers insights into how to cope with difficult emotions like fear and shame that often accompany anxiety-based feeding problems.

So, if you’re looking for a non-invasive way to manage anxiety and develop healthier eating habits, consider hypnotherapy or hypnosis audio sessions. A clinical hypnotherapist will guide you through the process and help you discover how powerful the mind can be when it comes to improving your well-being.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, it’s crucial to nourish your body even if you don’t feel like eating. One way to do this is to try and make eating more manageable by opting for smaller, nutrient-dense and easy-to-digest meals throughout the day instead of large ones. Eating nutrient-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins can help keep your energy levels up and improve your mood. You could also consider drinking smoothies or protein shakes if solid foods are difficult.

What Are The Best Foods To Eat When Dealing With Anxiety?

Try to make sure you’re getting enough whole grains, fruits and vegetables each day. Eating complex carbohydrates such as oatmeal or brown rice can also help regulate blood sugar levels and reduce stress hormones like cortisol. Additionally, magnesium-rich foods such as spinach, almonds, avocados and beans have been shown to support mental health by calming nerves and reducing feelings of anxiousness.

How Long Does It Usually Take To Regain Your Appetite After Experiencing Anxiety?

The length of time it takes to recover one’s appetite depends on the individual’s coping mechanisms and the severity of their anxiety. But once you address and deal with your anxiety, it usually gets your appetite back immediately.