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Diet and Nutrition

Weight gaining

04/11/2007

Question:

I have been lean most of my life and it isn`t difficult for me to lose weight. I recently had ulcers and I lost a significant amount of weight. I am 5`8" tall and at this moment I only weigh 99.4 lbs. I have had my weight up to around 125 and can stay there consistantly if I eat properly. Right now, I can`t get over the 100 lbs plato and I am beside myself because I haven`t been able to gain this weight back. I need a diet that can give me what I need in order to do this. I also try to exercise at least three times a week and eat health when I can. Any suggestions?

Answer:

Gaining weight is a slow process, so please do not be frustrated by it. Take your time and gradually increase your intake. The results will follow.

To determine how many calories you need in a day, you can go to ChooseMyPlate.gov and enter in your age, gender, height, weight and physical activity level. Then, you will be asked if you would like a plan for (1) your current weight or (2) to gradually move toward a healthier weight. Choose #2. From there you will receive a well balanced eating plan that will help you gain weight. I recommend dividing your food and beverages into many small meals and snacks throughout the day [perhaps 3 of each], so you don't feel overwhelmed. Other weight gaining suggestions include:

1. Try foods that have a higher fat content and are still "heart healthy" such as: nuts & seeds, 1% or 2% milk, olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil, margarine (trans-fat free), avocado, peanut butter, almond butter, hummus, and olives. These fats can be added to your food and others can be used as a snack (such as the nuts). Because fats contain a lot of calories in a small amount of food, they will not make you feel overwhelmed by the volume

2. Add powdered milk to food and beverages such as soups, casseroles, sauces, cooked cereals, eggs, hamburger, meat loaf, puddings, etc. This will add extra protein and calories to your food.

3. Try using Instant Breakfast or a canned nutritional supplement between meals for added calories (such as Boost, Ensure, Ensure Plus, etc.). Sip them throughout the day, if you can't drink it all at once.

4. Other nutritious, high calorie snacks include cheese & crackers, custard, milkshakes, smoothies (with added fruit, chocolate, peanut butter or ice cream), dried fruit, and granola.

If you would like further help (and more personalized too!), please see a registered dietitian. To find one in your area, visit the American Dietetic Association web site at eatright.org.

Good luck!

For more information:

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Response by:

Jane   Korsberg, MS, RD, LD Jane Korsberg, MS, RD, LD
Senior Instructor of Nutrition
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University