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Weight Gain
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eating so much but not gaining

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I recently increased my intake to 2100-2550 everyday and have barely gained half a pound in a week and a half!

Ps I am recovering from Anorexia, 5'7, female, 106lbs
23 Replies (last)

You should be aiming for 3000+ if you want to gain quickly. Try adding avocados and nut butters to get your calories up, or some ensures/high calorie drinks, too. :) Your body needs the calories to repair organs, so not a lot are being used to gain.

And I do recommend adding some dark chocolate to your diet (in reference to a previous post you made.) It's delicious, and has several health benefits!

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3000 just seems like way too much and really unhealthy. How can I spread my calories out throughout the day so that I don't feel stuffed all the time?

Your weight NOW is unhealthy. Eating 3000 as a sedentary adult, and getting it from fries/burgers only is unhealthy.Getting to a healthy weight (gaining is your goal here) is necessary for proper health also.

700 breakfast
Ex: 2 slices higher calorie bread (Country harvest, for example), 2 tablespoons peanut butter, 1 cup whole milk, 1 large banana (719 total)
Ex: 2 extra large eggs cooked in 1tsp olive oil, 1 cup of granola, 1/2 cup 2% milk (718 calories)
Ex: 1 bowl of oatmeal with flax seeds, made with whole milk, and some fruit on the side. Depends on all the ingredients here, but you can make it work.
300 snack
Ex: 1 large apple, 1 tablespoon peanut butter, 10 wheat thins (307)
Ex: full fat greek yogurt and fruit
700 lunch
Ex: 1.5 cup pasta, tomato sauce, cooked vegetables, juice and a granola bar.
Ex: 1 cup rice, protein serving, vegetable serving (one or both cooked in oil - maybe sauteed), snack on the side.
300 snack
700 dinner
Getting more at dinner is often easy - just look at what your parents are eating, and generally they'll get around this amount.
300 snack

If you have more calories left, chocolate is a good addition, and if you can't stomach one of the snacks, an ensure is a good idea. If you want to eat more than 700 in a meal, by all means, do.

Remember that when gaining weight, fat is not bad - it is a good way to get extra calories in, and while this may not be the 'ideal' macronutrients, they are necessary for you to get to a healthy weight.

And I am by no means an expert, I just know from various posts on here how to get enough cals.

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Thankyou for this help, what about exercise? Should I do strength or Cardio and if so how much each week?
I know its hard to believe, 3000 sounds impossible, but believe me! Its necessary. Im 5"7 too and am eating 3500 calories. At first I gained 1 or 2 pounds a week on this, but as I get closer and closer to my goalweight, it is slowing, now I gain 1/2 a pound. Its bot unhealthy. Its making up for the millions of calories you havnt eaten during your ed. no exercise, at 106lbs your body can't afford to expend any energy. Vry light stretches/yoga is all I would recommend.
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Woah I can't believe this! No excercise at all?! Also what goal weight should I be aiming for? And I'd it okay if I eat a majority of my calories at night?

You could try yin yoga- the poses are held 3-5 minutes, so not a lot of energy is expended, and you'll improve flexibility.

I am in no way an ED expert, so I don't know the second question.

And it doesn't matter when you eat them - eat them when you're comfortable, just get them in somehow and you're good.

smaller dense things, get loads of nut butter in. e.g. 2 toast with 4 tbsp PB= 1000 cals.

here are some suggestions, well loads of suggestions

  1. two slices toasted bread (160-200) with 1/2 mashed banana (100) with two tbsp PB (190) and one tbsp honey (50) = (500-540) 
  2. peanut butter, dried apricots and nutella in a wrap
  3. peanut butter spread on the bottom, slices banana, strawerries and dark chocolate(or any kind) make that warm and crunchy in the pan then top with mint chocolate chip ice cream (or any kind!) whipped cream, sprinkled and coconut and you have a crunchy ice cream sundae... I forgot the cherry on top 
  4. Cream cheese and chocolate frosting on toast
  5. French toast so many varieties is good as a snack at 230kcals;as a snack normal is 1 egg beaten with s/p and slice bread cut into strips or squares and dipped in the yolk and fried in tbsp butter
    PB&J french toast: 2 tbsp PB, 2 tbsp jam spread on slice of bread. Then cut, dipped in egg, then fried in 1 tbsp Butter. Or do normal french toast and put the filling on afterwards(520)
  6. 50g fruit muesli or granola, 100g full fat greek yoghurt, in a separate dish mix a mushed 1/2 banana and 1 tbsp crunchy peanut butter, and then melt it in the microwaveand pour over the granola and yoghurt. Slice the other half banana on top. (490) throw in 30g sultanas somewhere along the line and you have and extra 90 calories so (580)!
  7. Tuna melt; 0.25 ball of mozerella, 1/2 can tuna. 2 tbsp mozerella, 1wholemeal pitta. 60+65+30+145=300
  8. Tuna melt 2; 1 english muffin, 2 tbsp tomato pasta, 1/2 mozerella ball, 1 can tuna= 130+120+30+150=430
  9. PB+DC:  whole grain bread .stuff in 4 tbsp crunchy PB and 1/2 banana sliced and 1oz dark chocolate. Put sanwich together and then fry it in a pan with 2 tbsp butter and the other 1/2 banana. 750
  10. Banana Pancakes; 1/2 cup rolled oats in the food processor,1 T flax seed1 tsp cinnamon1/4 tsp baking soda (important!)1 tsp agave nectar 1/2 cup bananas--then mash them 2 egg whites
  11. 1/4 cup milk or almond breeze. stir it all up and put on a skillet, add any nut butter or jelly or syrup and there you's around 350 cals but with a Tbsp nut butter it's around 450..
  12. Honey, dried figs, dried apricots, 200g greek yoghurt. 350
  13. 1 toast topped with dairylea and fruit jam= 200-250. good snack.
  14. 2 tbso peanut butter, spinach and grated carrot in a tortilla. Dense light snack again. 320
  15. Cup cottage cheese mixed with cinnamon, sugar, and a cut up apple 150
  16. 1/2 cup mayb a bit more of broccoli tossed in 2 Tbsp Tahini, cumin, pepper, garlic, hot sauce sprouts and baby spinach, pink onion, stuffed in a ww wrap. 390
  17. 2 wholewheat bread with 2 tbsp smooth PB and grated carrot and tbsp honey. 460
  18. one whole piece of heavy naan bread spread liberally in olive oil, a cup full of aged cheddar cheese, apples fried in butter, and half a cup of walnuts. Baked in the oven.
  19. 2 bread with 4 tbsp crunchy peanut butter (or smooth or both lol) with sliced banana and 4 dates inside. 800
  20. Chocolate bar like galaxy spread with  tbsp PB = 450
  21. Olive ciabatta roll,halved and spread with 1 tbsp EVOO, one ball of mozerella sliced and placed on ciabatta and toasted under the grill. 600-650 depending on your products
  22. 1 wrap filled with 1 cup cottage cheese, 100g butternut/pumpkin. 290
  23. 1 toast with 2 tbsp PB, sliced banana, 4 dates and cinnamon. 500 add another toast as a crispy sandwich and it's 600.
  24. Toffee popcorn and hummus
  25. 2 kingsmill crumpets, topped with 25g full fat feta cheese each, spinach and salmon fillet. 484 take away fish as a snack and it's 284.
  26. 2 crumpets topped with 2 tbsp crunchy PB each and 1/2 tablespoon honey each. 430
  27. 2 sweet brioche petit pain roll halved (so 4 sides), On 2, 50g hummus,and the other 2, 50g philadelphia 100g salmon fillet broken over the top of all.toasted. 180+140+155+200=675
  28. 1 wholemeal pitta or thick wrap, topped with fried egg in 1 tbsp EVOO, thick chunk slice of cheese, veggies 445
  29. 1 pitta bread stuffed with fishcake baked in 1 tbsp EVOO, 2 cheese stripper 660-680
  30. Soreen malt loaf X2, fried in 2 tsp butter, topped with 2 tbsp nut butter and sprinkled with sugar&cinnamon if you want. 87+87+200=374
  31. 1 jumbo croissant, 4 tbsp crunchy PB, 1 sliced banana, raspberries, 4 dates. 800
  32. 10 dried apricots spread with 1 tbsp nutella. 390
  33. 8 Tuc crackers with 4 tbsp PB and 300ml glass milk. 641
  34. Porridge oats toasted under the grill with dried fruit & nuts and tbsp honey, e.g.30g oats, 30g sultanas, 3 dried apricots, 3 dates, tbsp honey. 415
  35. Porridge oats toasted under grill with tbsp honey, 2 scoops vanilla ice cream and 2oz grated chocolate= 300
  36. Big chocolate muffin spread with 3 tbsp nutella, handful chocolate chips= 700
  37. Chocolate PB icecream sandwiches. Take 4 chocolate digestives topped with a tbsp of PB each, covered with another 4 chocolate digestives. Serve with 1 scoop of ice cream to dip or place 1/2 scoop in 2 of the biscuit sandwiches. Basically you should end up ith 2 PB sandwiches and 2 PB+i/c sandwiches. You will need 8 chocolate digestives,4   tbsp PB,1 scoop ice-cream. You could always add a few marshmellows 1000
  38. 2 wholemeal slices squashed thin with 2 tbsp nutella and 1 tbsp cream cheese. 460
  39. 3 whote chocolate macadamia nut cookies from supermarket bakary + 3 tbsp crunchy PB all warmed up 1260
  40. 100g brown rice mixed with garlic and 1 tbsp butter. 380
  41. 100g pasta with 2 tbsp pesto 350.
  42. You have to calculate this yourself i found it on the forum;
    Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge Sundae: 1/4 cup double cream, 1/4 cup chopped pieces of milk chocolate, one tablespoon golden syrup, scoop of toffee ice cream, scoop of chocolate ice cream, scoop of vanilla ice cream, three tablespoons of peanut butter, two tablespoons of chopped and salted peanuts.
  43. 1 sweet potato, cut into wedges, roasted in 2 tbsp EVOO and served with 50g hummus/2 tbsp tahini. 520
  44. pumpkin pie oatmeal(oats with pumpkin butter and cooked in pumpkin soy milk, raisins or dates, and lots of cinnamon and lots of walnuts!amazing
  45. oats cooked in milk & a drop of vanilla essence, 30g raisins,tbsp coconut,grated carrot, cinnamon spices,tbsp honey, tbsp cashew butter, handful nuts. Calories vary.
  46. 2 tbsp PB, dairy milk bar, 2 slice bread. Toastie!
  47. 1 can tuna, 1 tbsp mayo, 2 thickest wholemeal bread, blueberries. 435
  48. 24 prawns sauteed with 100g garden peas and sliced mushrooms, in 2 tbsp EVOO and a load of spices black pepper, cinnamon ect.515 .
  49. 15 tbsp PB out the jar ;) 1500, my record is 22 ! :P
  50. a pearscooped out (keep the filling warmed up in the bowl) stuffed with 3 medina dates, jordans country crisp and tbsp honey = 295
  51. 200g greek yoghurt, tbsp honey, dried fig, 3 dates,sprinkle sesame seeds, dried apricots. 500
  52. Banana in 1 tbsp PB, 1 serv crushed branflakes, 1 tbsp dessinated coconut.
  53. This is just the beginning! I have hundreds :) toasties, epic desserts, fish plates, rice and pasta incorporations, cheese, oatmeals, whatever, i just kept collecting them !
  54. 2 mini pittas with 2 heaped tbsp cashew butter and a glass of full fat milk (462)

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Thankyou for all your suggestions! Do you mind checking out my meal plan and telling me if it looks good etc?

Breakfast (post workout): Protein plus bar (175) 1/2 cup skim milk (50) 1 cup Cheerios (115) Small banana (100)

Lunch: 2 slices grain bread (158) 1/2 serving cottage cheese (42) Tin light tuna (70) Salad (40) Skinny cow ice cream tub (110) Apple (85)

Snack: Greek yogurt (110) Fruit (80) Health bar (135)

Dinner: Tin salmon (165) 2 slices grain bread (158) Salad (65) Bar (175)

Snack: cottage cheese/ice cream/biscuits/ yogurt and fruit (usually around 200-300

What do you think?

It comes to 2133.. which isn't terrible, but based on the fact that "2100-2550" didn't make you gain.. it isn't enough.

Breakfast (post workout): Protein plus bar (175) 1/2 cup skim milk (50)Replace with whole milk (+25) 1 cup Cheerios (115) Small banana (100)

Lunch: 2 slices grain bread (158) 1/2 1 full serving cottage cheese (42)(+42) Tin light tuna (70) Salad (40)with 2 tbsp italian dressing (+109) Skinny cow ice cream tub (110) Apple (85)

Snack: Greek yogurt (110) Fruit (80) Health bar (135)

Dinner: Tin salmon (165) 2 slices grain bread (158) Salad (65)with 2 tbsp italian dressing (+109) or better yet 3 medium carrots with 2 tablespoons hummus (129) Bar (175)

or, if none of these are fear foods: Tin of salmon(165) with 1 tablespoon mayo (90) spread on 2 slices of grain bread (158) with lettuce in the sandwich (20), and whatever other veggies you want to add (tomato, onion, celery..) paired with your bar (175) and carrots and hummus (129) for a total of 737 this meal instead of the previoud 563

Snack: cottage cheese/ice cream/biscuits/ yogurt and fruit (usually around 200-300

Try adding some juice/smoothies/milks to add calories without bulk, as well. Since you need to be making the 2500 mark at least.

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Thanks this sounds good, I'm going to try it out :) how much do I eat if I excersize also?

You shouldn't be exercising much at a bmi of 16.6.. you're incredibly udnerweight, and need to repair your organs.

and if you're younger than 21, you should be getting 3000+ to gain, with little exercise. you need to eat more than you are now, my suggestions were just the tip of the iceberg- they bumped you to 2503 with all of them put together.

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Wow this is certainly going to be a struggle. I love exercising and feel guilty whenever I don't do it :\ and even eating 2400 makes me SUPER guilty

Maybe try drinking ensures with your meals, and count them as medicine? It would bump your calories without making you eat any more actual food.

That would get your weight closer to the right place, and are you seeing a therapist to deal with food guilt? (Since as awesome as CC is, it isn't a treatment centre.)

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Good idea :) I might try that,

I see a phsyciatrist (however your spell it) once a week and he might get me to see a therapist soon if I don't make progress etc.

eat some kind of quality sausages or bratwurst (fats from organic meats are actually good!!) ... it depends ... but usually about 220-250 kcal per 100g (15grams of protein.... with about 18-25 fats)

omega3 enriched eggs... 80kcal per egg...


sample meal:

boiled & blended spinnach ...

mashed (sweet/white) potato,

sunny side up egg(s) & sausage(s) (bratwurst)

... kcals (macros)? who cares! :D .... can someone calculate?

sausage(14/0.5/19) 223kcals/100g (2 pieces)


Original Post by emstem:

Wow this is certainly going to be a struggle. I love exercising and feel guilty whenever I don't do it :\ and even eating 2400 makes me SUPER guilty

I'm afraid this guilt comes from the ED. If you are struggling to gain to a healthy weight (120 at least for our height, by the way, but 125-130 would be even better!) then it makes sense to stop burning quite so much off in exercise, doesn't it?

the other point to consider is that starvation weakens muscle. You literally start breaking down your own muscles for energy, and your heart is a big muscle. Exercising at a BMI of 16.6 is dangerous - you risk heart arythmias (beating in an irregular way,) and even death. Karen Carpenter died of heart failure when her weight was almost restored, but her body was still far too sick. I got around the guilt by allowing myself to go for short, GENTLE walks. Cardio and strehgth training are completely out!!

So, have a look at the excellent dietary suggestions other posters have given, and up your intake, with no exercise, and see the difference.

Good luck!

mrswilsonscat:  Do you think your BMI would be the same if you did cardio or not. I guess that is my fear if I quit exercising I am going to be at a higher natural set point than if I did no exercise at all.  I would love to be a BMI of 20-21 but I fear that if I quit exercising I'll go to a BMI of 26 or higher.  That and I'm scared if I quit exercising I won't be able to have a 3000 calorie diet not that I am eating that now but I know that I should.

Original Post by murphy8920:

mrswilsonscat:  Do you think your BMI would be the same if you did cardio or not. I guess that is my fear if I quit exercising I am going to be at a higher natural set point than if I did no exercise at all.  I would love to be a BMI of 20-21 but I fear that if I quit exercising I'll go to a BMI of 26 or higher.  That and I'm scared if I quit exercising I won't be able to have a 3000 calorie diet not that I am eating that now but I know that I should.

What I did was quit exercising until I got to a minimum healthy weight (BMI 18.2 or so), THEN restarted (well, only brisk walking with a pushchair in my case, but my lifestyle means I do a lot of it!!), and found I needed to increase calories (to 2,750 a day) to carry on gaining. Actually, I maintain on 2,250-2,500 (age 42) and should probably gain a bit more, but am having trouble with that last final push... I'd guess if I went up to BMI 21 I'd need 3,000 a day too!

I work a physical job besides the exercise so in reality that should be enough physical activity but for me it's the fear of gaining and gaining and being overweight.  Yet I know that I don't look my best right now.  I think I look alright but I am so used to looking this way I'm not sure if I look like a skeleton or not.  I also fear that I am going to gain so fast.  I'm scared that after seven years of exercising my metabolism is shot.  I was always thin before all of this started so I just want that guarantee that I will still be that way if I recover.

Did you experience any water retention?  When I gained back to 130 pounds a few years ago I didn't have any I didn't even know that it could be an issue.  Sometimes I think the more research I do the more scared I get.

How did you deal with the anxiety of not doing so much exercise?  I get so anxious and jittery if I even think I may miss a day of not running.  And yet at the same time I wish I could just take a day off but once again the fear that if I do take a day off I can't eat what I want.

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