Friday, January 29, 2016

Eating When Anxiety Leaves You With No Appetite

Land Rover MENA
Many of my loved ones would probably tell you that the only visible sign of my illness (apart from occasional trembling and crying) is weight loss. When I have a spike in my anxiety that lasts a few months, I invariably lose between 20 and 40 pounds. Without the proper care, I would easily lose much more. Anxious people who have stomach symptoms know that sometimes eating is next to impossible. Keeping the food down is another challenge altogether. Here are some tips I've found help me stay relatively healthy when my anxiety doesn't want me to eat.

Medications

Depending on the level of your anxiety, your feelings on medication and your plan with your health care providers, you may include medication in your plan to stay nourished through your anxious periods. Medications that help me include anti-anxiety meds and anti-emetics. Luckily, anti-anxiety meds can have some anti-emetic effects as well, so I often only need those to get enough of a handle on my stomach to get something, if not much, down and keep it there.

Food

Sometimes, there is no food that is going to go down. Swallowing anything that isn't liquid feels like eating concrete that makes you cry. (Yes, I've been brought to tears in my attempts to eat. I'm sorry if you have this experience too.) The answer when this happens is Ensure Plus. Ensure Plus has nearly 400 calories, so it can easily count as a meal. Just a few ounces and you've got some great nutrition and enough calories for a few hours. I swear by this stuff.

Accessible, nutritious foods are best when it comes to solid food. You don't want to rely on anything that needs a lot of cooking for two reasons. Firstly, you may be too anxious to cook. Secondly, you might lose your appetite by the time the food is cooked. Keep items like low-fat cheese, sandwich meats, pasta salads with vegetables, tuna salad, boiled eggs, hot cereal, cold cereal and low-fat bran muffins on hand. Make sure everything you eat has serious nutritional value in at least one of the food groups. Make sure you can grab it and eat it the moment you have an appetite. Use these rules for your anxiety food and you should be able to get the minimal calories and nutrition at least.

Obviously, keep some food you can cook on hand for when you're feeling well. Try to keep away from fast foods because you don't want your intake to be full of saturated fats and sodium. Snack a little throughout the day if a big meal doesn't feel good on your stomach. In short, the bottom line is to eat food that is as comfortable as possible and understand your alternatives if you are having trouble holding down food.

Good luck to you or anyone you know who is suffering this unfortunate side effect of anxiety. If you have any additional tips, feel free to comment below.