Wow, so this is probably as far away from the theme of this WIAW as you can get – but I never was one to go with the norm and so this post has come to be.
Since taking a greater interest in my health I’ve been trying to make a very concerted effort to gain weight. Amazingly enough, this is much easier said then done – at least in my case. All the people in my immediate surroundings have been urging me to simply “eat more”. Sadly enough, since I suffer some weird and still as of yet undiagnosed stomach issues, I am usually left in excrutiating pain after meals involving very large amounts of food. So I’ve been forced to experiment and find out what works for me. I wish I could say I’m at the end of this process and have figured out the perfect solution to quick, easy and healthy weight gain – but I haven’t. I have however learned a few “do’s and don’t” along the way and will be more then happy to share them with the rest of you.
- Don’t stuff your face with junk. When first trying to gain weight I tried this method. I “allowed” myself to eat copious amounts of candy bars, chocolate and other sweets. The result – I felt too sick to eat anything else afterwards, my sweet cravings went through the roof, I felt groggy and nauseous the rest of the day. Moral of the story – junk food is NOT the long term solution to weight gain.
- Make small changes into your current diet. Making healthy changes – either to eat more, less or simply more balanced often doesn’t require a complete diet revamp. There are small steps you can take today to move in the right direction. For me that meant drinking more liquid calories – i.e fruit juice, soya milk, and adding more fats to my meals. This way I hike up the nutritional content of the meals without having to increase the volume all that much. Plus, a bit of healthy fat always makes food taste 100% better – trust me on this on this one
I forgot making adding the usual amount of soya milk and butter to my oat bran when making it last night – and boy what a difference in taste this morning. But reheating it with a teaspoon of butter and some extra soya milk made everything right – hey don’t knock it till you try it 😉
- Find the balance between going with your cravings and following a meal plan. I’m still struggling on this one to be honest – mainly because I’m not used to doing either. Meal plans feel very restrictive for me, but intuitive eating isn’t always the best solution either. So I’m learning to find the balance between eating what I crave and making sure I get the right balance nutritionally speaking.Ugly meals can be yummy too – following my cravings with “unovernight” oats with banana, PB and blackberry jam
- Enjoy your food. If every meal is eaten on the go, or is something you don’t particularly enjoy and are eating just because you “have to”, chances are you won’t stick to your commitment to eat more or make healthier food choices very often. Although I’m finding it hard to sit down and really savor my meals – mainly because of my busy schedule at the moment – when I do it definitely makes the whole eating process a lot more enjoyable. So recently I’be been trying to make a push to eat as many meals as I can in a calm and peaceful atmosphere and enjoy the process of eating.Sunday I actually got to cook a family dinner for the first time in almost a month – a twist on Caitlins cornbread quiche (made it a bit more italian style with zucchini and italian spices) and zucchini sauted in olive oil wiht organo and basil topped with chickpeas and peanutsMy plate x 2 😛
- Don’t freak out if your meals are repetitive. If you find something that works – don’t be afraid to stick to it. For a long time I felt like I had to switch up every meal – just so I make sure I get the right nutrients. But sometimes thinking up new, balanced and healthy meals is just too time consuming or mentally taxing. Particularly if you suffer from stomach issues – sometimes its ok and even a good idea to stick to the tried and proven. For me it’s eggs, soy spread and whole wheat bread that hardly ever cause me problems, so if there’s a quick a go-to meal I need I often roll with that.
- Learn that experimenting can be fun. Cooking and experimenting with homemade desserts and meals is definitely an incentive to eat a bit more. It takes a bit of pre-planning and not all experiments are sucsessful – but there’s something to be said for eating a homemade meal or desser that took a little more time a preparation then I pre-packiged energy bar or sandwhiches.I enjoy my meals so much more at work when they;re something other then sandwhiches – sauted chickpeas and zucchini with millet.The most amazing dessert ever -chocolate soft serve (recipie and photo courtesy of Chocolate Covered Katie)
- Sometimes you need to eat when you’re not hungry. I think this might be the hardest thing about weight gain. A lot of people have the misconception that weight gain is easy – basically it’s the freedom to eat whatever you want, whenever you want and not worry about it. In reality it isn’t really all that fun – it means a lot of pain, discomfort and often forcing yourself to do thing you don’t want to. It goes against everything you’ve been taught, everything that is currently broadcast on the media and everything everyone else is doing. If you expect to gain weight without a bit of effort you’r in for a surprise. But if you keep reminding yourself that you’re doing it for your health and that things get easier with time, it helps. I was so not hungry for snack today- but I forced myself to grint my teeth and go for it. Rice cake with PB plus an ensure banana smoothie (that cup times too). My stomach hurt like crazy afterwards, but you gotta do what you gotta do
- Allow yourself indulgences, even if they’re not on your meal plan. Personally I love ice-cream, chocolate and a glass of sparkling wine once in a while. None of these items are on my meal plan – but they make my life much more enjoyable – so why not go for it. And if they speed up the process a little bit –why not?
Have you ever had to gain weight or follow a meal plan for health reasons? Did you find it easy, or difficult?
What are some atypical diet phylospohies you apply?