Weight Gain
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First post here....hoping to gain weight with your help....

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Hi everyone,

I'm glad I found this site and I hope that you could all help with my problem. I'm really positive that together with your help I can get myself back on track.


History: I'm 5 foot 6 and I the heaviest I've been is 115 pounds. I'm a naturally thin woman and even though I would love to weigh more I can't seem to gain more weight. 2008 was a very difficult year for me and I was also diagnosed with gastroparesis...this and the mini depression I went through made me lose weight...today I'm 103 pounds. My goal with your help and advice of course is to gain my weight back asap. I'm sick of looking sick. I have an ok appetite and eat around 1000+ calories a day...I just find it difficult to eat more than that. I also started drinking ensure to help add some calories and I plan on doing some exercise to help build muscle. I basically need help on what food is high in calories, recipies, how to get an appetite etc....from you. So feel free to msg me with your advice and maybe give me some ideas on where I should start....I need all the help I could get to get through this.


Thanks everyone.......


P.S. I should mention that after reading some posts here I feel like some of you ladies know what I'm going through...this is difficult to discuss with my other friends cause I don't think they understand what it's like to be thin....

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I'm thinking peanut butter, nuts, bananas, avocado, pasta, Odwalla bars, dried fruit, greek yogurt with granola, protein shakes... There are lots of healthy high-calorie foods. Drink juice and milk more often than water. By the way...have you ever warmed up chocolate Ensure in the microwave? Tastes like hot chocolate. Lol. 

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Oh and beans.

Avocado is good. :) It's healthy and it has some form of fat in it as well. Eat it with a sandwich or as a side with salmon.

Heya. First of all, good on you for looking to gain weight properly and healthily. However, given your gastroparesis and your horribly low intake it is important you go back to your doctor, tell them how little you have been eating. tell them about your depression - which may also be tied to your low intake - and get a full check up.

To gain weight effectively you need to be eating at least 2500 calories a day. For help and tips to get you started, try reading over here. The Aim is to Gain: Advice on Weight Gain, Whatever Your Reason. This contains food tips and nutrition advice among other things. And while I usually discourage them in favour of nutritious foods, Ensure is intended for the severely malnourished more than anything else and as you have gastroparesis it may help you. Your horribly low intake may have resulted in some malnourishment.

1000 calories is far, FAR too little for a woman to be eating every day. An adult woman needs 1200 calories per day to survive, a girl under 21 or an adult man 1500 per day bare minimum, and a guy under 21 1800 per day minimum. However, this is when you are sedentary. Unless you're very small, and very short, you will need a lot more than this, too.

Eating too low a calorie intake, or having a deficit from your BMR greater than 1000 results in something called "survival mode", where your body holds every last thing it can get in expectance of a famine. Water, food, calories. Explained:

  • Dieting & Metabolism - This article explains starvation mode and why undereating is counter productive.
  • The Body Neglected - This is what happens when you undereat for an extended period of time. 

The physical dangers that come with undereating and being underweight are numerous. You put yourself at risk of osteoporosis, of loss of fertility as you have lost your period, hair loss, electrolyte problems, a weakening of the immune system, low blood pressure, blood disorders such as anemia, heart problems, and even death. From The Body Neglected: Between 5% and 20% of people who develop [anorexia] eventually die from it. The mental woes that come alongside can be just as devestating. Depression is common in undereaters, as well as distorted perceptions and problems like Body Dysmorphic Disorder. Gastroparesis can also be caused by such low intake.

So PLEASE, go back to your doctor and be honest with them.

Thank you for your replies. I have done almost every single medical exam possible...including bloods etc....and my periods are normal. The only thing they found was gastroparesis...and my depression which is better now....it came from a death in the family. My biggest problem here is that while I am eating food I'm probably not eating the best foods for me...this is where I need help. Also, besides the gastroparesis I suffer from serious heart burn and when I get flare ups I can't put anything in my mouth. I read the articles that lalabanana posted and I'm sure they will help me out a lot. And my doctor knows of my problem....his answer is "EAT...and drink ensure...you will be fine." I just find that 2500 calories day seems like alot of food.....how can one person eat so much...I'd be stuffing my face all day long just to reach that amount....there are times where I'm like alright already....enough with the food. I look at healthy women all the time and say to myself....why can't I look like that. Is drinking too much ensure bad for you? I drink 1 (recently 2) on a almost daily basis.....I guess I have to fill my kitchen with different type of food...high calorie items. Do you really believe that Gastroparesis can be caused from not eating much? That's how I think mine started.....

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If you're not comfortable with the Ensure, there are other high calorie drinks you could use. I know 2500 calories sounds like a lot of calories. The only way I reached that was by drinking 3 Ensure Plus a day, but that I had problems with calories for a different reason... Anyway, just eat some high-calorie, low-filling foods. You can do it!

There is a meal plan for 3000 calories demonstative of how it is possible eat 2500+ without "stuffing yourself" on that article I linked. It's possible. :\

Thanks for your advice...I will read up on everything. Still I'm wondering are there days that you don't have an appetite and just don't feel like eating...what do you do on those days. My appetite goes up and down throughout the month....and I just don't know if it's me. For example today was not a good day but still I tried to keep something down...for breakfast I had a huge regular croisant...(it has lots of butter in it)...a pita and tuna wrap for lunch with some veggies...and right now I just drank an ensure....for dinner I'm going to have Pasta.....I just feel very down on myself for not being hungry...I'll probably have another ensure later tonight just to keep up the calories......any suggestions on what I could do?

Plan your meals ahead and mechanically eat. This means eating at the times you have set with the meals you have laid out for yourself regardless of whether or not you feel hungry.

My reasons for eating higher calories are different from yours.  Essentially, I have to eat enough calories so that I have enough energy for my workouts.  I absolutely adore Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and dancing and if I don't eat enough then I run out of energy and can't have as much fun.  My solution is to eat breakfast, 2 lunches, dinner, and a late dinner along with whatever snacks I feel like.  Some days I just don't have much of an appetite so I have make sure I get at least my minimum calories by eating a couple of lighter meals an hour or two apart.  Nuts, trail mix, ice cream, chocolate, dried fruits, all give a reasonable amount of calories when you need them.

The ensure will have more nutrition than a milk shake, but if you want to play and experiment you could try making your own smoothies or milk shakes.  A little bit of chocolate syrup can go a long way towards calories, fresh fruit can add great flavor to vanilla ice cream.

I also like to keep luna and clif bars handy in my car/purse/work so that if I do feel hungry or think I just need calories they are always available even if they're not my preferred form.

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