In this blog post, we will answer the question, “Is Being “Too Lazy To Eat” Disorder?, mental health conditions that can reduce your appetite, how to deal when you have lost your appetite, and answer frequently asked questions.
Is Being “Too Lazy To Eat” a Disorder?
Just being too lazy to eat is not enough to point towards a mental health disorder but it can be a sign of an eating disorder like anorexia, depression, etc.
Sometimes we lose our appetite due to other physical and mental health conditions which are discussed below. But, before getting into reasons for your concerns, let us understand the meaning of feeling too lazy to eat.
What does it mean by being too lazy to eat?
People often complain about being lazy. We all feel lazy at some point, some people more than others. Have you ever had a day when you were too tired, you just came back from work or school and just felt like crashing on your bed and sleeping?
I’m sure everyone has had days like that. Or sometimes you simply do not feel like waking up and cooking, like that on a Sunday morning.
The point is, it is quite normal to feel lazy. But the difference is, we know we have to eat, and even though you are tired, you are still hungry and you wake up, whisk something up and eat.
But what happens when you are unable to do that? What is the difference between being able to eat even if you are tired and not being able to eat?
Keeping the general ‘lazy to eat’ feelings aside which are temporary and you tend to catch up on meals as soon as you rest a little bit, when ‘too lazy to eat’ is due to loss of interest in food or a loss of appetite, it is called ‘Anorexia’.
Please remember that anorexia is not the same as anorexia nervosa, an eating disorder. While anorexia is a major part and main symptom of the eating disorder, it is simply a term used to describe the loss of appetite. The reasons for this loss of appetite or interest in food could be due to many reasons.
Health conditions: Reasons you might feel too lazy to eat
Loss of appetite when suffering from the eating disorder Anorexia Nervosa is a little complicated. As mentioned before, anorexia is not the same as anorexia nervosa. As opposed to earlier assumptions, unlike people who do not experience the feeling of hunger, people suffering from anorexia nervosa do feel hunger. In fact, at times all they can do is think about food and how they think they should avoid it. They feel hungry. So how do they suppress this hunger? People with this disorder often learn to ‘embrace’ these feelings.
Being able to feel hunger would mean that they are doing a good job by starving themselves. They believe it will help them get to their ‘ideal weight’. But they also take supplements which can reduce their appetite because ultimately their goal is to not eat.
Over time when left untreated, people with anorexia nervosa get used to their body and they get to the stage where they no longer feel hunger.
Now that we spoke about the eating disorder, let us now talk about Anorexia as a symptom of other medical or psychological conditions.
When it comes to food, people with depression might fall into either category. That is, experiencing a great surge in their appetite or completely losing their appetite.
People with depression have often reported decreased appetite as one of their symptoms. This is because they have been found to have lower blood flow to the insula. Insula is a part of the brain involved in responding to cues of food.
And since blood flow provides the necessary stimulation, absence of blood flow would mean reduced stimulation hence reduced appetite.
Among the same group of people are others with depression who describe that they do experience the feelings of hunger, but they simply do not “feel the need to” eat. There is always a lack of motivation or laziness when it comes to fulfilling their needs.
Presence of Pathogens
Another reason due to which people experience a loss of appetite is the presence of a pathogen like bacteria, virus, or fungus. For example, skin infections, meningitis, respiratory tract infections, pneumonia, colitis, gastroenteritis, etc are all some medical conditions which can lead to a loss of appetite. However, after treating these infections, proper appetite is restored.
The regime of your medication has great effects on a loss of appetite. Medications such as opioid pain relievers reduce the speed of the food movement throughout the digestive tract which leads to a prolonged and lasting feeling of fullness and potential constipation issues.
These side effects can make food seem very unappealing which leads to avoidance. Medications relating to stimulations, which are most commonly used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), are another type of medication that can have you ignoring your next meal.
In the past, these stimulants were sometimes used and also prescribed for the entire purpose of decreasing appetite in someone who wanted to cut down their calorie intake and lose weight or for managing the symptoms of binge eating disorder (BED).
Cancer that has advanced into end-stages can cause loss of appetite, therefore, it is not uncommon for people with end-stage cancer to decline or avoid food. This is because as cancer progresses, the body of a person during their end-stage begins to save up energy, as their bodies are unable to properly utilize food and fluids.
Hence the loss of appetite commonly occurs as the end of life approaches. They would frequently just stick with water sometimes or ice creams.
Some cancer treatments (radiation and chemotherapy) can also cause side effects like loss of appetite. They experience nausea, difficulty swallowing, difficulty chewing, and mouth sores which makes people lose their appetite entirely. They feel uncomfortable and therefore try to avoid food.
Uremia, the presence of excess protein in the blood is a condition that occurs in people with kidney failure. This protein which is normally flushed out through the urine is due to damaged kidneys that are unable to filter it properly. It can cause people with kidney failure to feel nauseated, and therefore not want to eat. The food might also taste different and so some will notice that the foods they once enjoyed no longer appeal to them.
Other medical conditions
Apart from cancer and kidney failure, other medical conditions that cause a loss of appetite are chronic liver disease, heart failure, hepatitis, HIV, dementia, hypothyroidism, etc. they all result in loss of appetite in some or other way.
Pregnancy can also cause loss of appetite because the food starts tasting weird and there is frequent bloating.
Loss of appetite and being too lazy too is especially common among older adults. It has also been called “the anorexia of aging”. Older people, in general, have lower energy levels when compared to younger people. Also, the energy requirements decline as the muscle activity declines, this, in turn, causes less appetite.
After a point, older people lose their interest in little things, they find it hard to be excited over food, which might once have been their favorite.
Food is not just about eating, it has a lot to do with our other senses that is how the food smells, how it feels on touch, etc. Since all these senses tend to decrease over age, their interest in eating also decreases.
And of course, weakened facial muscles, reduced saliva, poor dentition etc all cause trouble while chewing which again decreases the appeal to eat.
Psychological causes of losing your appetite
Apart from mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders etc, other psychological issues can also cause the apparent loss of interest or laziness. Boredom, stress, sadness, general anxiousness, failure, loss of loved ones, trauma can all lead to loss of appetite.
Dealing with feeling too lazy to eat and loss of appetite
Anorexia, as a symptom, can cause serious nutritional deficiencies when ignored. It may cause unintentional malnutrition and loss of weight. Here are ways in which you can handle your loss of interest in food. Always remember that food is required for proper functioning and you should talk to your nutritionist for the best regime.
Quick tips to help you out
- Eating smaller meals more frequently will not make you feel full. Try dividing your normal food intake into parts and eat them after certain intervals of time. This will help you control how much you are eating as well as help you stimulate your appetite.
- Try preparing meals that smell good and seem attractive. This will help increase your appetite. Also, try being in hygienic conditions as bad odors can cause a loss of appetite.
- Do not eat greasy and deep fried foods. They make you feel bloated and should also be avoided as they can make you feel full. For example, foods such as beans, cauliflower, broccoli and gaseous drinks, etc. Remember that the reason you eat is to nourish yourself.
- Try being social while eating. People tend to eat more when they are socializing with close family members. They find it fun and enjoyable.
- Using a large plate makes it look like you are eating less food, and makes the task of eating seem less overwhelming. And if you are trying to restrict your food intake, eat on a smaller plate which can help you control your quantity.
We discussed what it means by being too lazy to eat, potential reasons and conditions for a loss of appetite, psychological causes of loss of appetite, and tips to deal with the issue.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs): Is Being “Too Lazy To Eat” a Disorder?
How can I get my appetite back?
Get plenty of exercise, burning calories and using your muscles makes you feel hungry, try preparing your meals yourself, the ones which have the vegetables or aromas you like, stay hydrated and this will aid in your digestion.
What do you eat when you’re lazy?
If you just do not feel like putting in the effort to cook and are feeling lazy, try going for fruits and vegetables or just whisk up a quick salad. Remember that meals are important and should be taken on time no matter how small.
What is it called when you are too lazy to eat?
Loss of appetite or feeling lazy to eat can mean you are feeling anorexic.
Does depression make you not want to eat?
Depression does cause loss of appetite or you might simply not want to do anything at all and that includes eating.
What happens when you don’t eat regularly?
Not eating regularly increases the production of cortisol which leaves us hungry and also stressed. Not eating regularly, skipping meals, not having enough physical activity also reduces metabolism which might lead to weight gain.
Can stress and anxiety cause no appetite?
Anxiety and stress triggers emotional responses which can lead to loss of appetite. However, it is temporary and once you calm down you will feel hunger again.
Baxter LC, (2016). Appetite changes in depression. Am J Psychiatry.
Keys, A., Brozek, J., Henshel, A., Mickelson, O., & Taylor, H.L. (1950). The biology of human starvation, (Vols. 1–2). Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.
Pilgrim AL, Robinson SM, Sayer AA, Roberts HC, (2015). An overview of appetite decline in older people. Nurs Older People.