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RobH 02-28-2001 06:16 AM

oversized appetite
I am a 29 year old male with a problem that sounds minor but has bothered me since High School. The problem is that I have a very large appetite. My mother first took me to see the Doctor about this when I was 15. I have talked to several other Doctors about this over the years and none of them found any medical condition which could be a cause for it. I have been checked for diabetes, parasites, and thyroid conditions. I was told that without some other symptom this should just be considered normal for me. Also, I got an explanation of normal but differing metabolic rates and a talk about being on the high end of the normal range of food requirements.

I'm not saying that the Doctors are wrong, but I have never heard of anyone with a problem like this. In college it bothered me a lot and made me self conscious. My appetite seemed to be about 2x normal and there was no refigerator for midnight snacks. I got to be very well known for my incredible appetite and people made a lot of (good natured) jokes about it. Sometimes people would talk to me in private with questions like, "How can you eat so much?", (ans: what do you do when you're hungry?). Also, "You should probably see a doctor.", (ans: gee, as a matter of fact - I have).

It is much less of a problem now that I am on my own, but sometime it is still awkward. Recently, some of my friends invited my on a 12-hour day-sailing trip. "What do you want for lunch?", answer: "Oh, maybe a pint of macaroni salad and about 4 sandwiches - and - ah, maybe 2 or 3 more for an afternoon snack". I feel awkward explaining to people about my appetite. One of my friends says I should feel lucky that I can eat so much and not gain weight. I do feel lucky that I am not fat, but there is a difference between being ABLE to eat a lot and HAVING to eat alot.

I would like to hear if anyone else has had this experience. I am sometimes worried that there is a medical problem that the doctors did not find. If anyone knows anything that could have been missed or has any other advice, I would like to hear about that too.
I would really like to know how common this problem is and if other people find it as awkward as I do.

<p>[This message has been edited by RobH (edited 02-28-2001).]

Robert2 03-01-2001 06:13 PM

Re: oversized appetite
If it's caused by something that can be removed. Ask the surgeon if he could put it in me. <IMG SRC="">

You need a specialist. Check with some of the teaching hospitals. They often have studies for these kind of problems with metabolism. My cousin is like you. The trick is to find something cheap to eat. He likes pancakes.

kdoubleu 03-02-2001 07:55 AM

Re: oversized appetite
Have you been tested for food allergies? I have found that since I have eliminated the foods I am allergic to, my appetite is more even. It may not be an allergy, but having it checked out would at least eliminate one more possibility. Good luck.

Looking for help 04-27-2001 08:48 AM

Re: oversized appetite
My son, who is only 8yrs old, eats like a adult. He eats good food and is not overweight-but as skinny as a rail. He eats double what an average adult would eat? I have been concern with his eating but because kids do not always eat properly, I have not looked into his eating habit. I was wandering if you ate large protions as a child?

RobH 04-30-2001 06:30 PM

Re: oversized appetite
Looking for help,

The answer to your question is: yes, I did eat a large amount as child, but no one ever made a big deal out of it so I really don't remember how much. For me everything was normal. Later, after I was grown up, my parents told me stories of how I was as a kid. They noticed my appetite as early as 4 years old. But at 8 I did not eat as much as an adult. According to my father I was 10 or 11 when I started to eat more than he did. I never even knew at the time, but my parents talked to our doctor about my appetite almost every year. I remember being tested for worms and giving urine samples and things, but I always thought it was just routine. I do remember my appetite getting bigger around age 13. My mother started to prepare larger dinners for me and always had some leftovers or sandwiches made every night in case I wanted a midnight snack. I first got the idea that my appetite was actually larger than normal when I was 15 years old. One night at bedtime I told my mother I wanted a snack. She layed out the leftovers from dinner, told me to put them away when I was done, and went to bed. That night a switch must have flipped in my brain, I was ravenous. By morning there was hardly anything to eat for breakfast! I did the same trick a week later and that is when my mom took me to the doctor. As before he couldn't find anything wrong.

I think my parents handled things very well. I think you should do the same thing with your son. Let him eat what he wants, but have him checked by a doctor. There is no reason for him to know that anything is unusual. By the way, with an appetite like he has, does your son have any trouble at school? What does he eat for lunch?

I am interested, do you have any other children? What are there appetites like?
Does anyone else in your family have an unusually large appetite?

<p>[This message has been edited by RobH (edited 05-01-2001).]

Looking for help 05-02-2001 09:24 AM

Re: oversized appetite
I have a six year old and he eats like a bird. My 8yr old does not eat late at night. He eats 3 large meals and has a snack before bedtime. I try to make sure he eats good food but his favourite food is potatoes.

What did the doctors tell your parents when you were a child?? I am thinking of contacting his doctor to ask some questions.

RobH 05-02-2001 12:03 PM

Re: oversized appetite
Looking for help,

When I was very young, the doctor checked me for conditions which can cause an increased appetite, like parasites, hyperthyroidism, etc. When nothing came up positive, he told my parents that everything was probably alright and that different kids burn different numbers of calories. He said to watch my appetite and report any sudden changes or anything else that seemed unusual. This is according to my mother. The first time he ever talked to me about it was when I was 15. He had me keep a record of everything I ate for a week. He also ran a bunch of tests. They found no cause for my appetite. About six month later they measured my metabolic rate both resting and while walking on a treadmill. While resting my metabolism was on the high side of normal, but while exercising it was off the chart. The doctor estimated that one in 10,000 people would have such a high response to exercise. Even so he said I was probably eating more than I needed. No one ever tried to get me to eat less, but he did tell me that if I ate slowly, or had smaller meals more often, that I would get full faster.

We talked about it every time I went to the doctor for a physical, but that is about all that happened when I was a kid.

I never felt self conscious or abnormal while I was living at home. My mom never complained about my appetite. At school, people thought I had a big appetite but not abnormal. They might have if I didn't eat most of my food at home. Your son eats even more than I did at that age. Just be sure that he doesn't start to feel abnormal. How much does he eat?, 3x (or even 4x) an average 8 year old? That's a lot. Does he get his lunch at school? If so he must go back for seconds or thirds to feel full. Make sure that other kids don't think he is unusual. Give him a good breakfast and a snack right after school. He may be able to eat less at lunch if he knows that an afternoon snack is coming soon.

By the way definately take your son to the doctor. I am interested to hear what happens.

Looking for help 05-02-2001 12:16 PM

Re: oversized appetite
Thanks so much for your help. I will definately keep you informed. I hope all goes well with your battle.
Looking for help

peter73 05-02-2001 06:55 PM

Re: oversized appetite
You sound like my baby sister (well, i guess she's 17 now). Her appetite has been family gossip for the last 5 years. She's seen the doc's - no result. She's not overweight, looks like a regular teenager - and my god does she eat! She stayed with me a few days over her spring break. No midnight kitchen raids, but after lunch on the first day my refrigerator was pretty well cleaned out! Now I know what my mom has been putting up with.

RobH 05-05-2001 06:18 AM

Re: oversized appetite

I'm just curious, does your sister just have a teenage appetite or is it really unusually large? What did the doctors find? Does she think her appetite is unusual?

By the way, don't let family gossip get out of control!

peter73 06-07-2001 12:24 PM

Re: oversized appetite
Hi RobH - You wanted to know if my sister's appetite is just a normal teenage appetite. Well, I don't know what a normal teenage appetite is. She eats more than I do - more than I did as a teenager. At meals she has a good healthy appetite - but not abnormal. She sometimes has a second lunch in the afternoon - and she snacks! You don't notice much at first but when you're around her for a time you find out she really eats! Is it normal? - I don't know, she is very active, once choosing to run up six flights of stairs instead of taking the elevator - and she is on the swim team. She knows she eats a lot, but it doesn't seem to bother her.

Why are you so worried about your appetite - are you unhealthy? - are you overweight? If so you may be eating too much - if not then what's the problem? you may have a fast metabolism - most people would want that, look at the second poster on this thread. You said you eat twice as much as other people? That shouldn't be a problem - just don't worry about it!

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