2

votes

Need to gain weight -- but have zero appetite/feeling dizzy. Suggestions?

Commented on September 24, 2017
Created August 18, 2013 at 2:45 PM

I just got back from a month and a half long trip across Europe where we backpacked across 6 countries. During this time I was on my feet all day every day. I didn't do any typical 'strength training' per ce, unless you count the backpack strapped on my back being lugged up and down hills and steps.

As a result, I lost a significant amount of weight despite eating copious amounts of fresh seafood, local meats like lamb, beef and chicken and lots of fat. I even stepped out of the usual for me and incorporated dairy in the form of yogurt, butter and cream (which I had no reaction to in Europe btw but here it kills me inside), in an effort to up my calories when I noticed my clothes felt looser.

I'm now quite underweight (I'm 5'6" @ 96lbs...scary to write that) but the issue is I have completely lost my appetite. I used to wake up almost craving my eggs in better with bacon but now I feel like my stomach is full already. I've been forcing protein shakes which I never used to have just to get some more calories because its the only thing my stomach seems to handle without feeling nauseous. I literally don't feel hungry all day but I know I need to eat so I make myself have things that are high in calories like fatty cuts of meat, extra spoonfuls of coconut butter, avocados, sweet potatoe etc but I can't eat any of this stuff in high enough quantities.

I'm concerned about losing more weight and I really want to return to where I was before my trip. Any ideas what could be going on and do you have any suggestions on how I could stimulate my appetite? I've tried working out but that just surpresses it more and seems risky given that I'm already very thin and I don't want to create a further deficit.

I've also noticed that I've been feeling very anxious and dizzy at times..which really scares me. I've never had this issue before -- could it be weight related?

I'm staring at a gorgeous pile of glistening bacon but I can barely stomach it -- what the eff is going on!? Help me get my paleo back!

470a7c8fb288c18d17b0e3d242806991

(0)

on September 24, 2017
at 06:22 PM

Hi , I am just jumping in on this ...I giigled what seems to be the same problem for me going on . I just came off working as a cook ( ! ) for 3 month , and worked 17 days 15 hour days with no brake ...and I exhausted and depleted my body ...Now I wigh 105 at 5'7 . I do not like it . I have always been skinny and generally eat lots of fats and carbs to keep weight on . Now My appetite is gone ...I feel like whenevr I eat anything I feel full for hours ...sometimes painfully full after two eggs ! The reason I ddid not ask for help or reach out is because people never really beleive somebody that wants to gain weight ...it s like a non big issue ...thank you for the people that brought helpfull answers ...I am going to try more stachy things ...also continue eating bitter leavy greens for a appetite stimulant ....not sure what to do . But I like the discussion here

 

470a7c8fb288c18d17b0e3d242806991

(0)

on September 24, 2017
at 06:22 PM

Hi , I am just jumping in on this ...I giigled what seems to be the same problem for me going on . I just came off working as a cook ( ! ) for 3 month , and worked 17 days 15 hour days with no brake ...and I exhausted and depleted my body ...Now I wigh 105 at 5'7 . I do not like it . I have always been skinny and generally eat lots of fats and carbs to keep weight on . Now My appetite is gone ...I feel like whenevr I eat anything I feel full for hours ...sometimes painfully full after two eggs ! The reason I ddid not ask for help or reach out is because people never really beleive somebody that wants to gain weight ...it s like a non big issue ...thank you for the people that brought helpfull answers ...I am going to try more stachy things ...also continue eating bitter leavy greens for a appetite stimulant ....not sure what to do . But I like the discussion here

 

9f52f85c3964445d7b16c94a890f6136

on August 19, 2013
at 09:32 PM

Have you ever been to nandos? Go to nandos!

5b9a25a1a676397a25579dfad59e1d7b

(2318)

on August 19, 2013
at 05:05 PM

thanks for the non asshole answer -- but it doesn't really answer my question. i know i'm not meeting my caloric needs right now which is why i asked about foods that stimulate appetite etc. i have used/use IIFYM + Cronometer to track macros, which is again why i know i'm not meeting my current needs. i'm more concerned about why my appetite vanished and what i can do to get it back so i can stomach the food i'm eating. right now i feel nauseous and stuffed after any food...hence looking for suggestions. thanks for taking the time to respond though.

26b7615ef542394102785a67a2786867

(7967)

on August 18, 2013
at 09:06 PM

Ah, good!! I'm a lot less scared for you now, I admit! Though it is curious that you lost 15 lbs so fast despite attempting to eat to compensate for the backpacking. I'm now wondering if you are undergoing some sort of hormonal dysfunction (hyperthyroid?) or have a parasite... definitely time for a trip to your doctor and possibly a few specialists.

5b9a25a1a676397a25579dfad59e1d7b

(2318)

on August 18, 2013
at 08:56 PM

Interesting... I'll keep that in mind. Thanks!

5b9a25a1a676397a25579dfad59e1d7b

(2318)

on August 18, 2013
at 08:54 PM

I've never done low carb paleo per ce -- I average at least 250g a day when I'm active and 150g on days when I'm sedentary.

5b9a25a1a676397a25579dfad59e1d7b

(2318)

on August 18, 2013
at 08:53 PM

Thanks animalcule -- I agree with you for the most part. I'm definitely eating carbs though -- I mentioned the meat, butter etc as examples of high calorie 'dense' foods that I'm trying to chose over something like a potatoes to bump up my calories since my stomach feels sick. I had lots of carbs during our trip -- lots of starchy veg, potatoes, rice and things like gelato and cheese -- but I still lost weight. I've always been very thin (averaging 110 @ 5'6" no matter what I eat!) but this is too low. I didn't realize that I had lost so much until we got back and I weighed myself.

5b9a25a1a676397a25579dfad59e1d7b

(2318)

on August 18, 2013
at 05:13 PM

thanks for the feedback and great suggestions. i'm scheduling an apt with my doc this week to get some blood work/tests done. something is definitely off, i just wanted to see some suggestions on appetite stimulating foods while i waited to see if i could address the dizziness/appetite disappearing.

5b9a25a1a676397a25579dfad59e1d7b

(2318)

on August 18, 2013
at 05:07 PM

thanks -- i'll switch out some protein for starchy veg and see if that makes a difference

5b9a25a1a676397a25579dfad59e1d7b

(2318)

on August 18, 2013
at 05:06 PM

thanks for responding :) i'm going to schedule an apt for some bloodwork with my naturopath this week. hopefully i can figure out how to stimulate my appetite in the mean time and keep adding in extra cals w/ shakes for now.

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10480)

on August 18, 2013
at 04:56 PM

I don't think an underweight woman with appetite issues is quite in the same league as a healthy guy with a normal appetite wanting to bulk. It sounds like she may have (perhaps a minor, easily fixable) health issue that is contributing to this.

9f52f85c3964445d7b16c94a890f6136

on August 18, 2013
at 04:53 PM

However yes maybe I was slightly rude. I apologise, but after years of seeing ectomorphs being shown how to track macors and after just one month following a nutrition plan from a coach gain weight really easily, I am kind of out of patience. As Joe defranco said, if you want it that bad it is easy, if you can't bear to force feed yourself how can you be expected to lift 800 pounds or run a fortune 500 company. Set goals and follow them with a maddening intensity. GOMAD, pun intended.

9f52f85c3964445d7b16c94a890f6136

on August 18, 2013
at 04:50 PM

This is my problem with the anti calores in v calories out crowd. Every single bodybuilder, fitness model and meathead I knew for over 2 years at one of the most hardcore gyms in the country used that method and not once did they fail to gain or lose weight. The simple issue with most ectomorphs is they don't count their calories, they eat a pizza and drink some milk and complain they can not bulk. If you have an insanely fast metabolism, then simply start by drinking a gallon of whole milk a day and 3 meals. If you eat more than you brun off you will gain weight, taubes is psuedoscience

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10480)

on August 18, 2013
at 04:49 PM

I agree with all this! Especially the dizzy feeling being from lack of food. I get that way, having a low appetite. I also sometimes get jittery. My father also has this problem - after having a ruptured ulcer, it was a very, very long time before he could feel hunger normally again. He would also just get the other signs of hunger, like dizziness and the jitters.

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10480)

on August 18, 2013
at 04:41 PM

-1 for rude, overgeneralized inaccuracy.

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on August 18, 2013
at 04:39 PM

I will politely disagree with you here. Weight gain has more to do with hormones than with calorie consumption. I dated a girl that was 5'5" 104, and wanted to gain weight, and no matter what she ate, she could not gain.

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on August 18, 2013
at 03:38 PM

I would not be worried about whole fruits with hypoglycemia. Don't do fruit juice. Any starchy vegetable like butternut squash or sweet potato will help with appetite because starches are less filling that fats and proteins.

5b9a25a1a676397a25579dfad59e1d7b

(2318)

on August 18, 2013
at 03:18 PM

Should I be concerned about spiking insulin levels with too much fruit? I've been hypoglycemic in the past -- which is what led me to paleo coupled with my gluten intolerance.

5b9a25a1a676397a25579dfad59e1d7b

(2318)

on August 18, 2013
at 03:15 PM

I've tried fruits like papaya, apples, bananas and berries but that didn't seem to do much. I'll try some squash tonight and see if that helps. Any particular fruits or starches that have been known to stimulate appetite that you know of?

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7 Answers

2
26b7615ef542394102785a67a2786867

on August 18, 2013
at 08:41 PM

This is very serious. You have anorexia. Not anorexia nervosa, with it's attendant neurosis (yet), but medical anorexia. And you are already severely underweight. This is a very serious health problem! And it can also turn into a full-fledged eating disorder (which all start off with nutrient starvation, the psychological problems and addictive aspects develop later on, as a reaction to malnutrition and stress). Your dizziness is from low blood sugar, and the anxiety is a very bad sign. Your body is probably having a lot of adrenal issues right now.

You triggered your weight loss and loss of appetite by abusing your body for more than a month with constant cardio and a zero-carb, too-low-in-calories "paleo" diet. Zero carb paleo has many potential side-effects, especially for people of low to normal bodyweight.

Eat LOTS OF CARBS and hyperpalatable foods (whatever sounds tempting), and eat extremely frequently. Honestly, fuck paleo right now - eating zero carb paleo CAUSED THIS. You need to eat as much as possible, and trying to force down more meat and spoonfuls of butter and oil aren't going to help you recover from this. Eat potatoes, white rice, sweets, anything that sounds tasty - carbs+fat. You need it right now. Increasing your appetite and bodyweight are the only priorities.

I say this as someone who usually weighs 105 lbs at a small-framed 5'5" no matter how much I eat (and that is scary-skinny, to me, so your current weight sounds terrifying), and will occasionally go through periods of decreased appetite and lose a few pounds if I don't take care to eat well, and enough. Low carb is very bad for me, though high-carb isn't great either. I also have hypo- and hyper-glycemic issues. I usually stick to 100-150g of starch daily, but will eat up to 250g if I'm doing a lot of cardio. I'm extremely lean. Carbs are not the enemy even if you have blood sugar issues.

5b9a25a1a676397a25579dfad59e1d7b

(2318)

on August 18, 2013
at 08:54 PM

I've never done low carb paleo per ce -- I average at least 250g a day when I'm active and 150g on days when I'm sedentary.

5b9a25a1a676397a25579dfad59e1d7b

(2318)

on August 18, 2013
at 08:53 PM

Thanks animalcule -- I agree with you for the most part. I'm definitely eating carbs though -- I mentioned the meat, butter etc as examples of high calorie 'dense' foods that I'm trying to chose over something like a potatoes to bump up my calories since my stomach feels sick. I had lots of carbs during our trip -- lots of starchy veg, potatoes, rice and things like gelato and cheese -- but I still lost weight. I've always been very thin (averaging 110 @ 5'6" no matter what I eat!) but this is too low. I didn't realize that I had lost so much until we got back and I weighed myself.

26b7615ef542394102785a67a2786867

(7967)

on August 18, 2013
at 09:06 PM

Ah, good!! I'm a lot less scared for you now, I admit! Though it is curious that you lost 15 lbs so fast despite attempting to eat to compensate for the backpacking. I'm now wondering if you are undergoing some sort of hormonal dysfunction (hyperthyroid?) or have a parasite... definitely time for a trip to your doctor and possibly a few specialists.

2
9f52f85c3964445d7b16c94a890f6136

on August 18, 2013
at 05:08 PM

OK my non asshole answer.

Download myfitnesspal. Use IIFYM calculator online to calculate your caloric needs based on height, weight, age, sex and activity level, I would aim for a 2 lbs a week weight ioncrease, around 10% surplus. 2 pick a macro nutrient ratio that will allow you to eat foods you most enjoy.

  1. track your calories for everything you eat and drink in a day.

  2. Start a food log over at Tnation or bodyspace on bodybuilding.com so you can get support and help from other members.

  3. see yourself gain weight :)

9f52f85c3964445d7b16c94a890f6136

on August 19, 2013
at 09:32 PM

Have you ever been to nandos? Go to nandos!

5b9a25a1a676397a25579dfad59e1d7b

(2318)

on August 19, 2013
at 05:05 PM

thanks for the non asshole answer -- but it doesn't really answer my question. i know i'm not meeting my caloric needs right now which is why i asked about foods that stimulate appetite etc. i have used/use IIFYM + Cronometer to track macros, which is again why i know i'm not meeting my current needs. i'm more concerned about why my appetite vanished and what i can do to get it back so i can stomach the food i'm eating. right now i feel nauseous and stuffed after any food...hence looking for suggestions. thanks for taking the time to respond though.

2
089dd41b18fbb95ebb5347cded708d98

(5635)

on August 18, 2013
at 04:54 PM

i'm the same as you. 96 lbs on the dot!! i had gotten up to 102 in july, but it's come off since i was in the hospital flaring. ever since early july, my appetite has been way down. luckily, I can attribute it to my ulcerative colitis, but it seems like it's a mystery to you. either way, I've been drinking absorb plus shakes to add in extra calories. they aren't paleo, but it's pure whey protein and they taste awesome. not sure what foods really stimulate appetite- maybe just your FAVORITE Foods? cook everything in lots of fat and finish with a few tbsp. of olive oil. it's hard to force yourself to eat when you just aren't in the mood for anything. it's also not good that you are having dizzy spells though so you know something is wrong. maybe you should get some bloodwork done- cbc, electrolytes, iron, b-12, vit d, thyroid. maybe something will come up?

I also notice that i lose very quickly when I stop strength training, so I keep up with the diligently. I don't do any cardio type exercises whatsoever besides random walking.

5b9a25a1a676397a25579dfad59e1d7b

(2318)

on August 18, 2013
at 05:06 PM

thanks for responding :) i'm going to schedule an apt for some bloodwork with my naturopath this week. hopefully i can figure out how to stimulate my appetite in the mean time and keep adding in extra cals w/ shakes for now.

2
Fd7b128cf714044a86d8bd822c7a8992

(4292)

on August 18, 2013
at 04:25 PM

-Can you make your protein shakes with coconut milk? That would add calories and maybe in a form that you'd be able to eat more easily.

-Have you tried digestive enzymes? If your body isn't making enough of the enzymes on your own, one of the symptoms is feeling stuffed after just a few bites of food. You can get supplemental enzymes OTC and they really help for some people.

-Have you considered the possibility that you picked up a parasite or something similar on your trip? Especially considering the rapid weight loss it might be worth getting checked out for.

-The dizzy feeling could just be from lack of food. Even if your appetite isn't there, your body still needs nourishment, and dizziness is one of the symptoms of extreme hunger. It probably just feels unusual to have that dizziness without the normal feelings in your stomach as well.

-I would definitely also suggest some carbs. White potatoes might actually be even better than sweet for stimulating appetite because they have a higher GI. Also, have you tried spicy food? It doesn't work for me but my mother claims that eating spicy food is a good way to get her stomach a little more enthused about it.

5b9a25a1a676397a25579dfad59e1d7b

(2318)

on August 18, 2013
at 05:13 PM

thanks for the feedback and great suggestions. i'm scheduling an apt with my doc this week to get some blood work/tests done. something is definitely off, i just wanted to see some suggestions on appetite stimulating foods while i waited to see if i could address the dizziness/appetite disappearing.

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10480)

on August 18, 2013
at 04:49 PM

I agree with all this! Especially the dizzy feeling being from lack of food. I get that way, having a low appetite. I also sometimes get jittery. My father also has this problem - after having a ruptured ulcer, it was a very, very long time before he could feel hunger normally again. He would also just get the other signs of hunger, like dizziness and the jitters.

2
C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on August 18, 2013
at 02:50 PM

I would suggest mixing up what you are eating. You only mentioned meats and eggs and dairy in your post. How about some safe carbs like butternut squash, sweet potato, plaintains, fruit, etc. It might help you get your appetite back.

5b9a25a1a676397a25579dfad59e1d7b

(2318)

on August 18, 2013
at 03:15 PM

I've tried fruits like papaya, apples, bananas and berries but that didn't seem to do much. I'll try some squash tonight and see if that helps. Any particular fruits or starches that have been known to stimulate appetite that you know of?

5b9a25a1a676397a25579dfad59e1d7b

(2318)

on August 18, 2013
at 05:07 PM

thanks -- i'll switch out some protein for starchy veg and see if that makes a difference

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on August 18, 2013
at 03:38 PM

I would not be worried about whole fruits with hypoglycemia. Don't do fruit juice. Any starchy vegetable like butternut squash or sweet potato will help with appetite because starches are less filling that fats and proteins.

5b9a25a1a676397a25579dfad59e1d7b

(2318)

on August 18, 2013
at 03:18 PM

Should I be concerned about spiking insulin levels with too much fruit? I've been hypoglycemic in the past -- which is what led me to paleo coupled with my gluten intolerance.

1
A6b7afacdb512b861716bca9e9226ad3

(333)

on August 18, 2013
at 07:45 PM

here's what worked for me and another lady--both of us had hyperthyroid/Graves' disease, by the way:

copper. It's a mighty little mineral, and too much can screw you up, but if you are deficient, adding it back in can bring the weight back up. For real.

One important note: I assume you get plenty of zinc from meats, but copper and zinc work together. Too little zinc could result in copper becoming bio-unavailable, IIRC.

Do read up on recommended amounts...I think it's the closest thing to a "quick fix" you'll find. Just don't take too much and go hypo.

5b9a25a1a676397a25579dfad59e1d7b

(2318)

on August 18, 2013
at 08:56 PM

Interesting... I'll keep that in mind. Thanks!

-4
9f52f85c3964445d7b16c94a890f6136

on August 18, 2013
at 04:36 PM

Anyone who claims not to be able to gain weight is a fucking liar.

Almond butter beef rice

At what point do you stop analysing and just do what you need to do?

Either force the food down and grow or don't and stay the same.

9f52f85c3964445d7b16c94a890f6136

on August 18, 2013
at 04:50 PM

This is my problem with the anti calores in v calories out crowd. Every single bodybuilder, fitness model and meathead I knew for over 2 years at one of the most hardcore gyms in the country used that method and not once did they fail to gain or lose weight. The simple issue with most ectomorphs is they don't count their calories, they eat a pizza and drink some milk and complain they can not bulk. If you have an insanely fast metabolism, then simply start by drinking a gallon of whole milk a day and 3 meals. If you eat more than you brun off you will gain weight, taubes is psuedoscience

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on August 18, 2013
at 04:39 PM

I will politely disagree with you here. Weight gain has more to do with hormones than with calorie consumption. I dated a girl that was 5'5" 104, and wanted to gain weight, and no matter what she ate, she could not gain.

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10480)

on August 18, 2013
at 04:56 PM

I don't think an underweight woman with appetite issues is quite in the same league as a healthy guy with a normal appetite wanting to bulk. It sounds like she may have (perhaps a minor, easily fixable) health issue that is contributing to this.

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10480)

on August 18, 2013
at 04:41 PM

-1 for rude, overgeneralized inaccuracy.

9f52f85c3964445d7b16c94a890f6136

on August 18, 2013
at 04:53 PM

However yes maybe I was slightly rude. I apologise, but after years of seeing ectomorphs being shown how to track macors and after just one month following a nutrition plan from a coach gain weight really easily, I am kind of out of patience. As Joe defranco said, if you want it that bad it is easy, if you can't bear to force feed yourself how can you be expected to lift 800 pounds or run a fortune 500 company. Set goals and follow them with a maddening intensity. GOMAD, pun intended.

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