WIAW – weight gain tips (and other thoughts)

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.

  1. 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.  
  2. 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 😉
  3. 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
  4. 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 😛
  5. 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.
  6. 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)
  7. 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
  8. 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?

Advertisements

11 comments

  1. Awesome tips girl! This post rocked and it just goes to show how much you’ve matured in your recovery! 🙂
    I especially agree with “Find the balance between going with your cravings and following a meal plan.” I think it’s key to experiment during recovery to allow your body to rediscover foods you once loved. Sometimes meal plans can be a bit rigid, and I’m with ya on having balance!

  2. Following a meal plan takes constant effort! Recovery is hard work and it’s a long road. This is a great post. I agree that sustainable changes and additions are key, and branching out to try new, not-typically-allowed-but-totally-delicious things is really important too. I’m right there with you. Keep rocking it,

    A.
    http://www.wildheartcity.wordpress.com

  3. Thank you so much for this post Leelu. Those tips are more than helpful especially right now as we are going through this weight gain process (slowly, but surely) and making the best effort to see it through.
    ❤ Am adopting more than all those tips!

  4. i have never had to gain weight by the doctors orders personally… but i DID have to slowly add “fats” back into my diet to get everything back on track after years of restricted eating! it can be so challenging. these are GREAT tips!! thanks for sharing.

  5. I think it’s interesting how a lot of these rules can be applied to LOSING weight too, if you have weight to lose. It’s like, all of these things are good for finding a balance 🙂 Hang in there, girly!

  6. I love this post,Leelu! Your tips are all very thought-through and helpful,thank you so much! I am always open for advice,especially concerning that weight gain topic,lately.
    By the way,I have made similar experiences with junk food: When I firt allowed myself a chocolate bar again,it was like I was craving it ALL the time… But in the end,it left me feeling so sick and feeling like a wandering dustbin. I realized that even though it was an “easy” method to get in calories,it just doesn’t work for me and my body. It’s good to know I am not alone there,though,because I always fear I am trying to find excuses,but apparently,I can trust my body on this one! 🙂

  7. I’m so glad you’re working hard at it, go you! And amen to #7, that was definitely the suckiest part of having to gain some 27 pounds 😛 I posted a weight gain day for me here (http://living-learning-eating.blogspot.com/2011/11/wiam-weight-gain-style.html) and I also found that whenever I hit a plateau, adding two Ensure pluses to my day (one right before bed) really helped. Or sometimes I’d use them as the ‘milk’ in a milkshake (add ice cream and peanut butter and a banana – yum!). Drinking them straight out of the bottle worked best for me, too, because it made it feel like I was having to drink less. Good luck, girl! 🙂

  8. Some great eats you’ve got here! Balancing meal plan/cravings is more difficult than it sounds! I recently read Intuitive Eating and would love to adopt that way of eating someday.

  9. I totally get the difficulty on gaining weight, and I have also tried the junk food approach(now I am trying to wean off of the addiction) and while it did help me gain some weight, it mad me super sick. Now, to combat nausea issues(I have a diagnosed chronic disease) I usually eat smaller meals more often. That way, I have minimal stomach discomfort, but I still get calories. I’m also dairy free, that has helped A LOT.

  10. I totally get the weight gaining issue and the junk food attempt at gaining some weight. I did gain a little weight from it, but it made me super sick and now I’m stuck weaning myself from the cravings. One thing I have found to help with the nausea(I have a diagnosed chronic disease) is to eat smaller meals, more often. It gives you the calories with minimal stomach discomfort. I also am working on cutting out dairy, which has helped a lot.

    People aren’t helpful with this stuff. My dance teacher confronted me once, telling me that I was beautiful and I didn’t need to not eat to be better. I just stared at her and had to tell her, just like everyone else, that I do not have an eating disorder, food just makes me sick.

    Good luck!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s