Why Can't I Eat?

I eat probably once, maybe twice, per day, and I don’t a whole lot when I do eat. This is the way I eat more often than not…about 3% of the time, I actually have a day where I’ll eat like a normal person.

For instance, it’s 2 p.m. at my house, I’ve been up since eight, and in that time, I’ve eaten about 1/4 of a chicken breast and I’m working on my second can of Coke. I might eat a sandwich or an orange or something later. Dunno. Anyway, I always feel like I’m wasting food, because I just can’t eat a whole serving of something, and if I do try to clean my plate, I end up feeling overstuffed and nauseated.

So, d’ya suppose there’s something screwy about my belly that I need to have checked out? Or maybe am I just perfectly fine as is? I can’t be the only person who eats like this, can I? Is it even semi-healthy? On one hand, I hear that you should only eat if you’re hungry, and never eat more than your fill. On the other hand, I hear that you’re supposed to have so many servings of veggies, of meat, of milk, etc. per day, and I never even come close.

Any thoughts on why Chris just can’t eat?

Currently playing: Louis Armstrong - La Vie En Rose

Have you tried cooking the chicken breast? Raw chicken just ain’t what it used to be.

Chris, couple of thoughts:

  1. Don’t drink coke. Drink water.

  2. Try eating a sandwich.

  3. Don’t try to force yourself to eat really big meals. Every fall term I have to readjust myself to the fact that I can’t snack all day . . . I have to eat meals. Hurts my stomach.

  4. What I suggest to you is to eat when you’re hungry, and to get exercise.

Iampunha is right, you really should cut out the coke. It’s fairly caloric and all those bubbles really fill you up. Plus, I’m not sure if this is everyone, but any sort of caffiene drink supresses my appetite. I think I remember hearing about ladies in the 50s using caffiene as an appetite supressant.

And you are definately not alone. Somedays I’ll go until 5 or 6 pm without eating anything. I really gotta cut out on that coffee!

Another question, have you been this way all of your life? I ask because I understand you’ve had a lot of upheavals lately. When I get stressed eating is the last thing on my mind.


1)I drink Coke during the day these days, as I like the caffiene to keep me going during classes, but not up all night causing me to stay up late enough that I only get about 3 hours of sleep. I drink water after it starts getting dark.

2)Maybe later. I ate 1/4 of a chicken breast about 45 minutes ago. I’m full.

3)I don’t force myself to eat big meals or after I’m full, because, as I said, that makes me feel sick. The weird thing is that I barely eat anything at all. I don’t snack throughout the day, or eat regular meals. My son eats well. He has breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a snack or two in between. I think he eats about two or three times as much as I do, and he’s two.

4)I eat when I’m hungry. The trouble is that I’m either rarely hungry, or I never eat as much as I felt hungry for. It’s like the hunger diminishes as soon as I have food in front of me. And re: getting exercise. I’ve gotten more exercise in the last week (since school started) than I’ve gotten in about the last 10 years, total.

Currently playing: Portishead - Numb

You didn’t mention that you felt fatigued or unhealthy any other way.

Maybe the amount you eat is normal for you. I don’t think you ned to worry about it if you feel good.

However, iampunha is right about drinking water instead of Coke. If you eat very little, I think you should take great care in what you eat. I mean, if it only takes half a slice of chocolate cake to fill you up, it would be more advisable to use that stomach space on vegetables and protein AND complex carbohydrates…
Eat small amounts of these if you can’t hold much, try snacking all day if you can rather than meals and try to vary your diet.

And forgive me for sounding like a mommy.


The only unhealthy thing is that I’m overweight. I can’t really understand that…I’ve been pretty sedentary for a long time, but I haven’t been filling up on junk during that time. Now I’m walking to and from school everyday, and climbing up 800 stairsteps a day, and walking from one building to another to another to another. So, I’m suddenly getting exercise, and my eating habits haven’t changed. I thought I’d be hungrier with all the physical stuff that I’m suddenly doing, but I’m not. I prefer veggies, fruits, lean meats, etc. to junk food, and I don’t really eat much in the way of fried stuff or “heavy” food.

::shrug:: I dunno what’s up with me. It doesn’t take much food to fill me up, and 99% of what I eat is good-for-you stuff. Maybe I’m an alien.

Are you on any meds at all? Sometimes prescription drugs affect your appetite greatly (and your weight)


If you’re eating that little, your body is probably in starvation mode, slowing your metabolism way down. Eating too little is as bad as too much.

You may want to get your thyroid checked. Hypothyroidism hits the women in my family, and one of the symptoms is weight gain in spite of eating almost nothing. My sister had a big problem with it. She was on a carefully regulated diet, no more than 1100 calories a day, lots of exercise, and her weight just kept creeping up. She finally went to a doctor who found that her thyroid, like my mom’s, had just sort of wound down. After getting some hormone therapy and altering her diet to be a little more health conscience and less emphasis on number of calories, the weight started to drop off and she had a couple other health problems get better at the same time.

Hey Chris-

I can’t tell you anymore about your eating habits, but the exercise you described-

It does burn calories, but you don’t change your metabolism until you engange in aerobic exercise- that is, it keeps your heart rate up for a sustained period.

When you do that, you burn more calories even when resting.
I believe that an exercise is aerobic if it raises your heart rate to 85% its maximum rate, which varies according to age and other things.
And you need to keep doing it for a long enough time so that your body burns fat instead of sugars. Running up a staircase doesn’t do all that much good, but moderate-paced stairclimbing for 20 minutes is very beneficial.

This is not to say that walking to school everyday does no good, but it would be better if you jogged, just fast enough so that you can keep it up, not pushing yourself too hard (that is, if you aren’t carrying too many books).

No meds, Zette. Good thought, though.

I might do as Lucie suggested and have a thyroid check. As far as anything else goes…:::shrug::: Wonder if I can train myself to be hungry more often.

FWIW Chris, your eating habits sound a lot like mine. It’s been forever and a day since I finished an entree at a restaurant. I know and very much dislike that stuffed feeling. Some good thoughts have been posted, but it could be, as I’ve decided is the case with me, that your body is getting all that it needs.

Tater, I didn’t even see your post…sorry. In answer to your question, yeah, I’ve eaten this way pretty much since the physical part of puberty finished up. When I was a kid, I was a total vacuum, especially when it came to bad-for-you things like fries or sweets. After my body was finished doing what it had to do, though, my eating tapered off a lot. Generally when I get stressed, my eating patterns aren’t affected, but my sleep is (I end up not sleeping a lot) and I smoke about three times more than normal.

I think you should go to the doctor.

From your description of what you eat, there is no way you could be getting enough fiber, calcium, and vitamins. This could have a negative effect on your long-term health.

An old friend of mine had a similar problem, and her doctor determined that she was, in fact, in starvation mode. She was subsisting on 400-600 calories a day, and shared many of the same characteristics as an anorexic–even though she was of average weight. The doctor put her on a diet designed to gradually raise her daily caloric intake to a normal level. She didn’t gain any weight, and she lost that excess body hair.

You may well just have a naturally tiny appetite, but it is still worth getting checked out.

I’ll second Green Bean. If you really are eating as little as you say (not that I disbelieve you) then it’s worth looking into. You may be descending into an eating disorder, which is not a place you want to be. Almost all of us have psychological issues with food. Most of the time they don’t interfere with our health – but it sounds like in your case it could happen.

Also, after a certain point appetite becomes a very unreliable indicator of your body’s need for food. If you are in “starvation mode” your appetite could be haywire. There are psychological effects from starvation too.

Heres my two cents…
I am 5’5 and weighed 95 lbs (with clothes and hiking boots) a year ago because eating made me sick. After months of screwing around at the docs office I finally got tested for GERD (acid reflux) and that turned out to be my prob. I got on meds, but they aren’t exactly working miracles, so I am just trying the best I can to suffer though my “bad days” and eat as much as I can during my “good days”. I now weigh 102 and it’s been a struggle all the way. Getting checked out for GERD would be something I’d do as well as checking thyroid!

Where’s the mystery? You’ve got a slow metabolism. You’re body doesn’t require that much food to stay at the baseline rate. If you are sedentary it gains weight and if you exercise you will lose weight. Even if you exercise you may not have much of an appetite. Exercise and diet often supresses appetite in some individuals.

Be thankful your appetite is not more robust, if you are as sedentary as you indicate, you could wind up being huge.

If you have an underactive thyroid, your metabolism slows down. I also am being treated for hypothyroidism, and based on what little you are telling us, it could be that this is what is going on. Check out this link and see if anything here strikes home:


Aerobic exercise is nice, but perhaps a bit of weight-lifting might help. Adding muscle mass will increase the amount of calories that you burn at rest, and the tearing down and rebuilding of said muscles will make your body require more food, especially protein, to repair itself.

Not to be nosy, but it may help if you state your height and weight so we can determine the average amount of calories burned per day by a person of your size. It’s on the order of 12 times your weight in pounds for an active person, and less for a sedentary one. If you can figure this out, and calculate the difference between that number and the number of calories you eat, we can see if you’re on the road to starvation or not.