I eat and eat but gain no type of weight…
Gaining weight can sometimes be just as tricky as losing weight. I would first recommend that you see your doctor and make sure there is not some underlying condition that is inhibiting you from gaining weight. Your doctor can also determine whether or not you actually need to gain weight. People are considered underweight if their Body Mass Index (BMI) is under 18.5 (your doctor can determine your BMI if needed). Being underweight can come with several consequences that affect overall health such as: decreased muscle mass, slow wound healing, sleep issues, decreased bone density, lowered immune system function, heart disease, hormonal changes, irregular heartbeat, vitamin, mineral, and other nutrient deficiencies, anemia and impaired gut function.
The journey towards weight gain should be a slow and calculated one. I recommend starting off with realistic goals. For example, if you currently consume ~1000 calories a day I would not make it a goal to consume 3000 calories per day. Meeting with a registered dietitian (RD) could help you to set a more achievable goal and slowly work up from that. The RD would likely have you complete a three day food diary and then review that with you. She may recommend that you slowly begin increasing your portions and servings of food gradually, which would allow your stomach to stretch and for your body to get used to the amount of calories and nutrition. I recommend consuming smaller, more frequent meals instead of three meals a day. Try to add ingredients to whatever you typically already eat. For example, if you like turkey sandwiches, add cheese, hummus, and mayonnaise. If you enjoy almonds as a snack, make it trail mix by adding dried fruit, seeds, walnuts and pistachios. Smoothies and healthy power packed milkshakes are also a great way to pack on the pounds. Mix up a delicious smoothie and add things like nut butters, coconut oil, fruit, and avocado to boost the calories. You may also consider adding commercial supplement drinks (Ensure or Boost or Carnation Instant Breakfast) between meals. Some of my clients will get a protein powder (or powdered milk) and add this to various dishes like soups, smoothies, oatmeal etc. To close, here are a few examples of high calorie/protein meals. Good luck!
• Scramble one jumbo size egg with one slice of American cheese in butter for ~ 200 calories, 14 grams protein.
• Make ½ cup hot cereal with ¾ cup whole milk. Mix in 2 tablespoons peanut butter for ~ 360 calories, 18 grams protein.
• Mix one cup strawberry yogurt with 1/3 cup powdered milk and ½ cup blueberries for ~ 350 calories and 19 grams protein. • Choose ½ cup granola, such as Quaker 100% Natural Oats and Honey®, with ½ cup whole milk for 310 calories and 13 grams protein.
• Make a grilled cheese sandwich with 2 pieces of American cheese on 2 pieces of bread smeared with 3 tablespoons of hummus for ~ 400 calories and 20 grams protein.
• Choose cream soups versus broth based soups, such as cream of mushroom, cream of broccoli, or cream of tomato.
• Toss pasta with olive oil before adding sauce.
• Stir half and half or light cream into tomato sauce to create a “pink sauce.”
• Mix ½ cup of oil-packed tuna fish or chopped chicken and 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise. Add 2 tablespoons chopped onion and celery. Provides ~ 350 calories and ~ 28 grams protein.
• Roll up one slice lunch meat and one slice cheese spread with one teaspoon mayonnaise for ~ 200 calories, 14 grams protein.