Many people try to work against their appetite, trying to squash their hunger so they aren’t tempted to eat. Strategies like eating loads of vegetables, drinking tonnes of water, staying busy, drinking coffee, and eating high-volume foods like rice cakes may keep you from being hungry, but is it healthy?

Having a strong appetite and being hungry is actually a sign of good health and a strong metabolism, which of course means you should eat in order to gain energy, supply your body with vitamins and nutrients, and keep your metabolic fire “stoked.” There’s no need to try and suffocate your hunger, even in the name of weight loss. Eating the right foods (unprocessed, healthy, whole foods) will get you closer to a healthy weight better than restricting food will.

But what happens if you’re just not hungry, and so you assume you don’t need to eat?

Not feeling hungry is a sign of a slower metabolism, among many other potential health issues, and may actually mean you need to try and eat more in order to build your metabolism back up. If you have a consistently low appetite, it may be helpful to talk to a doctor or dietitian to determine what could be the cause.

For example, many people don’t feel hungry in the morning, because they never eat breakfast upon waking, so their body adapts to that, the metabolism slows down, you burn fewer calories, and it can be harder to lose weight. But we want you to eat, so that your body burns more calories and you get all of the nutrition you need in a day!

Now, if you’re not hungry because you just ate, of course you don’t need to eat again. That said, if it’s been several hours since you last ate and have no sign of hunger, it can be a good idea to try even just a small snack like a piece of fruit, snack bar, or some almonds.

Things like stress, illness, smoking, a slow metabolism, and more can all cause food aversions and slow down our appetite, but we need to remember that even when we’re not hungry, our bodies need food regularly.

Keep plenty of options on hand, so that it’s easier to choose something that still sounds appetizing when you don’t have much interest in food. With a bit of time, your appetite will come back and your body will begin burning calories like a furnace!