SSM Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center
(314) 577-5600
www.cardinalglennon.com
 

How Can I Balance My Eating Habits?

Sometimes I'm not hungry for a week to 2 weeks at a time. I eat a little but not a lot (I barely touch my food). I try to eat but I'm just not hungry. Then other weeks I'm really hungry all the time, but I try to moderate what I eat so I don't overeat. But other times I am right in the middle. Is this normal or healthy?
- Joss*

As long as you're maintaining a healthy weight, it's normal to have some fluctuation in appetite from day to day. Several factors contribute to whether we feel hungry or not. On active days, you might find yourself eating more than on days when you are burning fewer calories. Hormonal changes that occur during the menstrual cycle also have an effect on appetite. Stress and other strong emotions can cause some people to either eat more or less than they usually would.

If you're feeling stressed, try to find ways to relax (exercise, talk to a friend, listen to music) and make a conscious effort to watch what you eat. Choose healthy snacks, like fresh fruit and vegetables, and eat regular meals.

Sometimes, being aware of what may be behind the fluctuation in your appetite can help you stay on top of it. But if you're losing weight or gaining more weight than you should, are feeling stressed out or depressed, or are just worried about what's going on with your body, it's a good idea to see your doctor.

Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: October 2011

*Names have been changed to protect user privacy.