How long should I go without eating?

I’m going through a divorce after 13 years. It’s tough, but the problem is that I’ve lost my appetite completely. This last time, I’ve been unable to eat for about 24 hours. What should I do? I know I should take vitamins, and I bought some Ensure as well, but how long will this last? I’ve lost 20 pounds in two months. (5"9, down from 185 to 165).

Normally I’m not a huge eater, but I do get hungry. What is the physiological mechanism of this weird state? When should I become worried?

Thanks in advance


You’re unable to eat because you have no appetite or you eat and it comes right back up?

Loss of appetite can be a warning sign of depression. If it persists for much longer, or if you experience other symptoms of depression (constant fatigue, avoiding social contact, insomnia), I would recommend seeing a psychiatrist.

IANAD, but here’s a link for starters. I’m sure Quagdop will be by shortly to help us out better:

I’d be worried, that’s a lot of weight to lose without it being from exercise/healthy diet changes, etc. I’d be especially worried if you were losing muscle mass (which it sounds like you are).

The vitamins are probably a good start, but I’d also try eating fruit which is easily digestible and will give you some extra energy (and balance blood sugar levels, etc.) which should hopefully get you eating on a more regular basis again. Be especially sure to keep hydrated via water and fruit juices. When you do eat, what sorts of food do you eat?

I’ll have to dig up some cites from my crazy alternative medicine library before I get beaten for not having any…

However, depending on how often your 24 hour “fasts” are spaced out, you may want to go to the doctor’s and have a blood test done to make sure you’re not in any danger of having dangerously low blood-sugar, malnutrition, etc.

tonbo0422, sorry to hear about the divorce.

I went through a breakup a couple years ago that really tore me up. In two weeks, I barely ate. By this I mean that I ate a banana or two. I just couldn’t be bothered. I did drink a lot of tea though (it’s a comfort thing for me). I lost 20Kg in a month (that’s around 40lb I think).

IANAD, but you will probably survive this. Try to eat. Even if it’s just one bite of toast or a piece of fruit or something. When you’re doing it, tell yourself that you’re obeying the “I must eat at least one thing today” rule. I found that was the only way I could get myself to eat after the first couple weeks. Eventually I started feeling a bit better about life and started eating again.

Hope things get better for you,

Call me and tell me all of your problems, concerns and regrets. I could stand to lose more than 20 LBS. :wink:

[sup]Not making fun of your situation, just making fun of mine.[/sup]

I think I am closest to Maxxxie’s situation–it’s not that I don’t want to eat, but just the thought does not conjure up any visions of hunger. As you can see from my email address (montrealfood) I love food–it’s just that right now a part of my mind seems to be saying “Fuggedaboudit.”

I am trying to stay hyrdrated with lots of liquids–lots of water–and definitely will force down a banana or some sort of fruit if I become worried.

It’s annoying but also strangely nice to lose so much weight–I realise that last post was a joke, but as far as diets go, this one comes highly recommended. However, that is not my point at all.

I am flying out to be with my family today, so hopefully that will trigger some hunger somewhere along the line. Taking business class with my air miles. How can I turn down those crab-roll canapés? I hope.

I recognise the signs of depression but feel momentarily unable to fight them. I guess this too shall pass and one day I will once again be at my porcine best. I will keep you posted. Thanks for the advice.


You should probably consult a doctor. I’ve known a person with depression who was unable to eat, but they forced themselves to eat health bars and this was only for about a week. After two months of eating only fruit, I’d be a tad worried.