advice, eating disorder, eating disorder posts, lifestyle, nutrition advice, Q&A, Uncategorized

How much to eat when you are sick? Do you need to decrease calories?

I often get asked by my followers how much to eat when you are sick and can’t work out. Many panic and eat far too little just because they can’t workout.

First off, it’s important to remember that when you are sick your body is using alot of energy. Your immune system is working hard to fight off bacteria or a virus and all different systems in your body are working hard to make you healthy again. An inner battle is going on so it’s not so strange if you feel extra tired, your body is trying to save energy so that the energy can go towards fighting off the illness.

If you are sick just a few days then you don’t need to worry about decreasing your calories or eating less. However usually when sick you may lose your appetite or feel nauseous and can’t eat as much anyway. So my best advice is just to eat as much as you can and not worry if it’s too much or too little. Eat ice cream if that’s what will feel best for a sore throat or soup and freshly baked bread. Focusing on resting and getting healthy and you don’t need to eat less just because you can’t workout a few days.

What about if you are sick or injured and can’t workout for a month or more? This depends on the illness as well as how much exercise you did before. Example if you did 1-2 hours of intense exercise a day and you are enough for that amount of exercise and then for a month you can’t workout but you still eat the same amount, then it would be an excess of calories. However if you aren’t exercising you 1) might not eat meals as frequently i.e that pre and post workout meal aren’t eaten. 2) you may not feel as hungry.  If you are doing intense workouts it will increase your hunger and naturally that should make you eat enough, but if you don’t exercise you might not feel that extra hunger. However… you may boredom eat if you are just at home sick. That’s fine to do every now and then but if it’s an everyday thing it’s not good. So for example if you are almost healthy and beginning to feel more like yourself again and feel restless and bored, try to not boredom snack and instead stick to regular meal times!

A few days of resting in bed all day and still eating the same as usual won’t make a difference to your body. And panicking over calories or weight gain while sick will just stress you and make it harder to recover from your illness.

My best advice is listen to your body. However I know that doesn’t work for everyone i.e if your hunger hormones aren’t working as they should or you boredom eat or you just don’t trust your bodies signals.

So remember…. a few days sick you don’t need to make a difference.

And if you go from intense exercise to none and you still eat the same amount (And it will be this way for a few weeks/months) then maybe skip a pre or post workout snack and that’s pretty much it. You don’t need to make such a huge difference. Your body is not a calculator and you can never really know how much you need so try not to worry about it. Getting sick or injured is part of life and you don’t need to stop eating or eat the bare minimum just because you get injured or sick!!! 👌

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4 thoughts on “How much to eat when you are sick? Do you need to decrease calories?”

  1. Great to know! I’ve typically eaten the same amount when I’m sick but felt guilty in a way. Totally makes sense though that you are still using energy when your sick because your body is doing a lot of work. For example, why you get fevers.

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  2. Jag kan inte låta bli att tycka att det är sorgligt att du får sådana här frågor. Att folk inte vågar lita på sin egen aptit (oavsett om de är sjuka eller inte). Men jag tycker att du ger ett jättebra svar! Att lyssna på kroppen är ett bra råd.

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  3. I find my appetite leaves me completely when I am ill so this was really useful to read. I tend to drink Lucozade – a high energy soft drink – when I`m not well as its the only thing I can stomach, but now I`m thinking this isn’t enough?

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