I don’t know what’s caused it, exactly. But for the last couple of days, I have not been hungry.

It’s not just a lack of cravings – I’ve been in that space before, and it feels different. I’m not interested in food at all. No stomach growling before meals, no looking forward to the food I have planned. Nothing. Food means nothing to me.

It’s not that the food itself is unappetizing. As my taste buds recovered from sugar overload, I was enjoying my food more and more – until now. And I’d been making an effort to enjoy it as much as I could. Eating at the dining room table, either with family, or listening to calming music. No TV, no studying, no distractions. It was lovely. If anything, I was struggling to pace myself, and not shovel it in ravenously.

I’m not sure how I feel about the recent change. It makes it easy to follow the plan, which is nice, but I’m also a little concerned. This isn’t like me. I am never not interested in eating. Most of my life has revolved around it. I have to be gravely ill to be put off food. So, what’s going on?

Food with no appeal

Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash

I don’t think it’s BLE itself. I don’t remember going through anything like this, last time. I got to the point where I wasn’t constantly starving, but the hunger never disappeared. And I don’t think I’m sick. I recovered from a short cold a few days ago, but I’ve been fine since. No fever, no chills, no muscle pain or nausea or coughing or congestion. And I would know. I am not going to be one of those doctors who dies of an illness they could have diagnosed themselves, if they’d been paying any attention. I take note of every passing symptom, believe me. I’m fine.

Where has the Hunger gone?

I have a few theories.

It could be simple detox. As I’m losing weight, my fat cells are releasing everything in them, including any toxins that were trapped inside. Along with a slowing metabolism, this is likely contributing to my fatigue, which has really amplified in the past few days. Not exactly an illness, but perhaps enough of a strain on my body that it feels like it needs to shut down the digestive processes – by reducing hunger – so that it can concentrate on healing from the assault. It’s possible.

It could be a side effect of any one of the multitude of supplements I’m consuming, these days. I just went and counted: I am taking 16 different herbs and dietary supplements, daily. Some of them multiple times per day. It sounds ridiculous, I know. I would never prescribe such a regimen to a patient. But on the other hand, some patients self-prescribe this many, or more, and do amazingly well on them. And I’ve gone through each one, trying to see if there’s anything I should eliminate; but I have sound reasons for them all. Some are only temporary, so the number should go down eventually. It’s a lot, though. I’ve taken most of them before, many of them on a long-term basis, and never had this problem. It could be one of the new additions, or maybe just the interaction of all of them – though I do my best to take them separately, I end up swallowing a lot of pills 1st thing in the morning. If my hunger doesn’t return soon, I should probably start eliminating some of these, and see if that helps. But there’s also the possibility that this makes me feel worse – as I said before, I have solid reasons for taking what I do. Also, I’m not sure I want my hunger back, right now. It’s strange, having it gone, but it also simplifies my life. And I need simple, right now.

Which brings me to my last possibility: some combination of mild – moderate depression and/or anxiety. Either of which can affect hunger quite significantly.

It doesn’t sound like me, and I hesitate to consider it. First off, I’ve had plenty of reasons to be depressed and anxious in my life, and I’ve never been seriously affected by either. I’ve been sad, and scared, and both emotions have led to unhealthy coping strategies. But I always coped. I got up in the morning. I bathed. I went to work. I interacted with others in a socially acceptable fashion. I was never unable to experience joy. And I never lost my appetite. The more miserable I was, the more desperately I ate.

Of course, eating (as in, out-of-control eating) isn’t an option anymore. I can’t eat any of the foods that would comfort me. I can’t numb the pain with sugar and bread. So it’s possible that, without this coping mechanism, my body has just shut down my appetite altogether. Like a normal depressed person.

But am I really depressed? That’s the question. I’m very busy. I have several qualification exams coming up, which I have been studying for. My days are spent alone, inside, reviewing material. Of course, I like being alone, I do manage to get outside for a little while each day, and there is something rather satisfying about reviewing. It gives me a purpose, which is protective against depression. But it is highly stressful. And I am dreading some of these exams. I feel unprepared, and I’m worried that I never will be. I’m worried about failing, about panicking and freezing up. I’m stressed about my finances – after years of school, the money is almost gone, and these exams are pricey. And I’m trying desperately not to think about what comes after the exams, because that’s almost scarier.

So I definitely have reasons to be anxious. Perhaps even mildly depressed. I do feel a bit blank. Not without emotion, but less vibrant, and definitely skewed toward the negative end of the spectrum. I have an 11-year-old niece, very perceptive, who’s berated me a few times in the last couple of weeks for not seeming happy. Something she’s never done before. And at those times, I couldn’t manufacture a happy expression, even to please her. Which is odd, because I love that child more than anyone in the entire world. I would do just about anything for her. But I couldn’t fake a smile.

I also haven’t been singing. I usually love singing. But lately, just thinking about it makes me feel like I have no breath. Like something inside my chest is squeezing, tightening, constricting.

So I’m not sure what to think, right now. It could be a combination of several things – the stress, the pills, the detox, maybe something else I’m not thinking of. In all likelihood, it will resolve in a few days. Things change quickly on BLE.

Meanwhile, I’m going to try to get outside more, be more thankful, and have faith, so that I don’t worry so much about the future. Because I certainly don’t want to add any pills to help with my emotions. Even though I can think of a few I’ve been wanting to try.

Day 22: The Absence of Hunger
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