What is this eating issue/"disorder?" - not wanting to eat but not "controlling" myself.

(12 Posts)
PloddingPandaMum Sun 12-Apr-20 19:28:09

Yes I know, first world problems... I just don't feel like eating most of the time and can go a whole day without eating just because the thought of making food or putting it in my mouth makes my throat close up. Trying to put food in my mouth is like pushing cotton wool in.

I don't step on the scales, I don't give a shite about my weight. It's not that sort of control. I don't exercise to excess, hardly at all (not least at the moment)... BMI fairly normal, not super skinny by a long chalk or overweight.

I'll get super hungry once every two or three days and order takeaway or make something massive and fatty and nice that I know I like and have it happily. It's not normally particularly healthy but it's not really a binge as such either.

Maybe it's just an unusual, if unhealthy eating pattern that evens out? The trouble is when I don't eat I really do find it harder to function the next day - I spend most days running on fumes, but honestly trying to butter a slice of bread and put it in my mouth when I'm "off" is virtually impossible.

I think I've always been this way - since teenage years and I'm pushing 50 and not sure if it's just a weird but OK pattern or if this is something I could sort out. I take vitamins because I know I really am not getting what I need. I'd welcome any thoughts on what is going on or what I can do.

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pawpatrolmightypup Sun 12-Apr-20 20:22:13

I do this in times of stress, I don't feel like I'm controlling what I eat more that my appetite disappears. When I come out of the stressful situation I realise that actually food is often the only thing I can control and it's my go-to coping mechanism to restrict what I eat.

If you're not particularly stressed - could it be a habit you've got into that stems from something years back? Can you think of anything that could have triggered this disordered relationship with food? If it's something you want to break perhaps CBT or something similar could help break down your thinking around food?

PloddingPandaMum Sun 12-Apr-20 20:34:33

Thank you. Yes, I think that might be a factor. Thinking about where it started - my younger sibling was quite ill when I was 10 or so - not feral by any means but disjointed. I remember having one "lean cusine" microwave meal for dinner which would have been a fist sized clump of crap pasta. My children would have that as a side portion with some protein and veg. They eat earlier "than I do" - that's a lie - I just don't usually.

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pawpatrolmightypup Sun 12-Apr-20 21:12:15

Definitely worth looking into counselling / CBT or similar to breakdown your relationship and thoughts around food. Don't get me wrong my own relationship with food is still completely knackered but I've found counselling to be helpful (I've only really started recently but all positive so far

PloddingPandaMum Mon 13-Apr-20 13:09:33

Yes, perhaps unpicking it would be a good idea. Im not healthy. It's not a healthy way to be. I know people "fast" but like I say I have a virtual physical problem to put food in my mouth. I'll by the most delicious looking oranges or avocados and they'll just sit there.

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Wildernesstips Tue 14-Apr-20 17:15:22

There is something called orthorexia which is about controlling food, I believe, but not actually starving yourself.

Wildernesstips Tue 14-Apr-20 17:16:30

Actually, just read that that is an obsession with eating healthily so ignore my post.


LockdownLucy Wed 15-Apr-20 00:43:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CameraObfuscated Wed 15-Apr-20 02:33:17

I think some counselling would be a really good idea, particularly if self esteem is an issue for you.

You could also think about textures. Are there any that appeal or don't appeal? Does your body feel better if you avoid dairy or wheat? Also (sorry) constipation can reduce appetite, and can also manifest in runny poo rather than hard poo weirdly. You seem to be coming at it from the angle that it's a psychological blocker though, and if you think that I would trust yourself on that one.

Some nutritional shakes like nutrifort (?) might be a good idea as an easy way to get some calories in on a regular schedule. Don't beat yourself up about the oranges though - oranges sit around for ages because they're harder work to eat than other fruit. My kids have only started eating them since we have started just slicing them into chunks and biting them off the peel. Anything more is too much faff.

rvby Wed 15-Apr-20 02:47:12

This is common. A subset of people lose their appetite under stress, and if you were stressed for a long time, especially as a child, it can simply become habitual. Also, being hungry creates a strange euphoria in some folk that can become addictive, or at least, ones norm.

My mother is anorexic/orthorexic and mentally not v stable, as a child she chronically underfed us and I just developed an aversion to eating, swallowing or, god forbid, ever feeling full. I never examined this much as I trusted my mother tbh - she was always slim and gorgeous, always v proud of how thin ("healthy") we all were.

As a young adult I was chronically underweight and went to dr complaining of constant nausea. She took one look at me and told me I just needed to train myself to eat more, and more regularly.

Sadly i was in a stressful abusive marriage so it took me years to get my shit together enough to address it fully. I was BMI 16 for years and years. Now BMI 22 ish and finally able to eat normally. Honestly it was down to slowly expanding my stomach and (counter intuitively) exercising more to stimulate appetite.

Over a lifetime, underweight is more dangerous to health than overweight. Worth addressing op x

sadie9 Thu 16-Apr-20 11:25:44

If you had a home where there was stress and anxiety about food or mealtimes - for example your mother found cooking very stressful, you could have developed guilt about that. That it worried her to prepare food. Children then don't want their mother worried so they 'blame' the food. They put the bad feelings into the food. The food 'made my mother cross'.
If you find yourself hungry and able to eat easily sometimes, then not others, it could be a feelings things. You could be getting a 'freeze' or 'flight' response. You could try some meditation apps and body scan meditations, done regularly they may well start to help. Insight Timer App has loads of free meditations. They have the times on them so you can pick short ones to start.

PloddingPandaMum Thu 16-Apr-20 12:46:18

The thing is I know my mother would love to eat more but she's been policed by my dad over the years to some extent. I absolutely think this contributed to us all having small portions, and as I said an element or rather benign neglect with them just being at the hospital and me and my brother aged 10 or 12 just grabbing microwave meals out of the freezer. I remember one of those big family tins of soup (you don't see them these days but I think they were like twice the size of a normal one) and that went four ways watered down and that was dinner. The more I think about it the weirder it all is. Weirdly my mum didn't seem to mind when as a teenager I would come in with a big macdonalds or something, so it's not like she was policing me in particular, even. Even now when she cooks and does a roast or something there are never ever any leftovers because there's never quite enough to go around. Maybe it's a post-war thing too, hating waste etc.

Lots of food for thought though - ha! I really appreciate the perspectives, I can't believe I've not given it much considered thought over the years, I don't like being like this. It was and is a loving family. I wonder where it all comes from.

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