Why can’t I eat enough? I’m not anorexic!

beet, walnut and feta salad

Seems strange, right? If you burn a lot of calories through exercise and you’re eating lean protein and healthy homemade meals it’s possible that your caloric intake is too low for your active lifestyle. For most people the problem is eating too many calories. If you’re not eating enough calories, it doesn’t matter how nutritious your meals are because you’re consuming inadequate nutrients and will either need to eat more or add supplements.

You may be saying, well, the answer is simple: eat more! For some athletes, their appetite declines due to too much exercise. Their brain isn’t telling them they’re hungry. When they try to eat, it’s unpleasant. I don’t like to eat when I’m not hungry either. Nutrient-dense food is fibrous and filling. Add broccoli to your meals and you’ll get full much faster.

Here’s some indications that you may not be getting enough calories in your diet:

  1. You cannot gain muscle even though you’ve been weight training at least 3 times a week
  2. You cannot lose any fat, no matter how much more you exercise and regardless of how little you eat
  3. Your blood work shows you’re deficient in several nutrients even though you’re eating whole grains, lots of vegetables and sufficient protein
  4. You don’t have enough energy
  5. You cannot sleep through the night

Here’s some tips to add calories and calm your stomach:

  1. Try swapping out bread and pasta for quinoa. You may be gluten intolerant and the gluten is causing bloat and fullness.
  2. Avoid diary, especially milk and ice cream. You might be lactose intolerant, which causes stomach cramps.
  3. Shun beans which cause many people stomach distress. Digestive enzymes don’t work for everyone,
  4. Cook hard-to-digest foods like broccoli and cauliflower until tender, and have those in the evening instead of during the day.
  5. Have nuts towards the end of the day as a snack. Since nuts have a lot of fat, they can fill you up about 20 minutes after eaten.
  6. If you wake up in the dark of night thinking about food, eat!
  7. You’re drinking too much water. Water fills me up faster than food so I try to drink water after I eat.
  8. Add salt to your meals. Manufactures add lots of salt to their products because salt makes you want to eat more.
  9. Eat frequently. Six times a day is ideal.
  10. Eat breakfast shortly after waking which gets the metabolism going.

Sometimes all you need is to add is a protein bar to fill in the gap. Start adding calories slowly, otherwise your stomach may hurt since it’s so used to eating less. You should also notify your doctor that you have a loss of appetite to rule out any medical issues. After these suggestions are put into practice, you should start seeing the results you’re been working so hard to obtain. Good luck! Let me know how you do.

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