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Apr 11, 2007 04:27 PM

Help! Need to gain weight in a healthy way...

So, I have been dropping too many pounds of late. Had every test, nothing appears to be wrong. I need to put some weight on BUT I also have to eat healthy (I just don't seem to get enough veg, fruit, etc.). Am I at cross purposes?

I have not liked the protein powders I have tasted and I don't like to drink milk or soy milk. Help! Are they any good protein powders out there (non gritty) and can they be mixed into other things?

What else adds calories but isn't bad for you? All I can think of is stuff like cheese and ice cream (at least there is calcium) but too much and they become bad for me too. I am all milkshaked out!

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  1. It might be helpful if you told us what you usually eat...reasonable amounts of cheese are perfectly healthy. The healthy things I wish I could eat more of without worrying about calories are bananas, whole wheat bread, sweet potatoes, baked potatoes with skins, brown rice...complex carbs, in other words. I have used the whey protein powders which I think taste fine in smoothies, but it seems like just eating enough calories of wholesome natural food should do the trick. Have you calculated your calories on Fitday or another program to see if you're getting enough?

    7 Replies
    1. re: Chowpatty

      as a total health nut myself I can relate, I am very thin and sometimes find that I need to maybe get off the normal path and eat more "junk" but I noticed that eating more nuts helped me not only maintain my weight, but gave me even more pep in my step. I work long hours on my feet constantly, so it is hard for me to really keep the weight on lately. so eat a can of nuts over the course of the day, it really is good proteins and fats as well.

      1. re: gryphonskeeper

        See, now I thought nuts were high in cholesterol or something (my parents both have high levels so I get a little paranoid). So good fats? I will give this a try! Figure if I keep a can on my desk, I will nibble even if I am not hungry. Good suggestion!

        1. re: chaddict

          Only foods that come from animals have cholesterol so things like olive oil, nuts, and avacado may be high in fat, but it's the good kind of fat that you don't have to worry about raising your cholesterol.

          1. re: chaddict

            right-- no animal product, no cholesterol. what IS bad about eating a can of nuts/day is the wacked-out amount of sodium you can ingest that way. . . so get your nuts salt-free or toast them yourself ( 2 mins in a toaster oven) & throw 'em on top of salads, grains, munch plain while still hot. . .

            1. re: soupkitten

              Trader Joe's has a great assortment of nuts of all kinds with varying amounts of salt and other flavorings, at great prices.

              Sodium isn't necessarily bad for you, BTW, unless you are prone to high blood pressure and diseases related to fluid retention. And even then, the last I read only about 20 percent of people had "sodium sensitive" high blood pressure.

              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                i agree that the"eww, high sodium" thing is way overplayed, but to me, the high amt of salt in processed nuts=an undesirable thing that goes along with an otherwise desirable food, and something i wouldn't personally worry about unless literally eating a can of nuts a day, as gryphonskeeper suggests--then too much sodium might indeed become a problem. if i was eating nuts every day, i'd probably toast my own, with or without added salt.

                sodium pretty much gets the bad rap it does because it is associated (in huge quantities) with highly processed, unhealthy foods, but i agree it is not a problem for most people.

                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                  Tj's bagged nuts and dried fruits on salads are a great way to punch up the protein/calorie levels. I love the cashews/almonds/cranberries (or is it cherries, i forget) on salads with some cheese and balasamic vin.

        2. I hate you ;-) Seriously, you were pretty slender last time I saw you, so I hope you haven't lost too much since then!

          Whole grains are healthy and fairly high in calories, especially if cooked with a healthy oil. Instant bulgar and whole wheat couscous are quick and easy. Some veggies are higher in calories than others, too. Like sweet potatoes, which are incredibly good for you -- full of vitamins and anti-oxidants. Beans, peas and other legumes are healthy and relatively high in calories, too.

          ETA: How is this "not about food"? She's not talking about a specific diet, she's talking about food!

          8 Replies
          1. re: Ruth Lafler

            Oooooo! Thanks, Chowpatty and Ruth! I did not know that things like bananas and sweet potatoes are high in calories! Keep them coming! I am incredibly lame at knowing what is high calorie as I never bothered to track this kind of thing before.

            Are lentils on that list? Since I discovered precooked lentils at TJ's, I have been sprinkling them on everything. They are high in protein, no?

            As to what I eat, a heck of a lot of pasta and noodles, bread, cheese, some salads (but not enough), rice. I have been eating a lot of nuked veggies with brown rice at work but that looks like diet food. Too many simple carbs. I am probably not eating enough calories but I also stop eating when I am full. So my trick is to make what I eat count!

            As for the whey powders, any brand you recommend over others? Thanks!

            And, unfortunately, yes, thinner than when you saw me last. Did you know they now have a size 00??? What next? Negative numbers?

            1. re: chaddict

              yes they have smaller than 00, it is called Size 12 little girls x-long, that is what I wear.

              1. re: gryphonskeeper

                Ah, but then the hips don't fit. Or at least last time I tried...Doesn't work too well on the work clothes front either but maybe I need to keep looking. Thanks!

              2. re: chaddict

                I want to be you in my next life!! ;0) Being on a perpetual diet, I will tell you it's portion size. Perhaps you are like my other thin friends and only eat half a plate of food at a sitting. Maybe you can eat a little more of the current foods per sitting. My son, who is also too thin, just realized this past weekend that being too hungry feels just like being uncomfortablly full. So many times, he would just skip the meal. I honestly can say that I have NEVER confused hunger with fullness. Go figure.

                If portion size is not the issue, then I think you might concentrate on eating more meat and starch together, with gravy if you can. Just an idea.

                1. re: margret

                  When I eat out at a restaurant, I pretty much finish the plate. But then I am not eating at restaurants with huge portions either.

                  About the too full/hungry thing, sadly it's true. If I get too busy or am concentrating too hard, then the hunger slides into feeling full and the moment passes. Frankly, I think I suffer from laziness: too lazy to make something or go out. Who knew that laziness would make such a great weight loss diet? My other super skinny friend is the same way: lazy!

                  That's why the can of nuts suggestion is so appealing to me!

                  1. re: chaddict

                    Yup, lentils. Lentils are really good marinated in olive oil, too, which will boost the calorie count. Nuts are a great idea ... you can keep some with you can pop are few every time you think of it. I know when I'm trying to lose weight I need to stop snacking, so presumably the reverse is true. If you don't like to eat big meals, then eating more frequently and small amounts of concentrated calories like nuts and dried fruit (think about it -- all the calories and nutrients of the whole fruit, but without the bulk of the water) should work.

                    1. re: chaddict

                      Oh--ok, now I get it. If you're forgetting to eat (like my SO because he gets too lazy to leave his office building or occasionally like me because I get too busy to remember to be hungry) -- set yourself eating reminders on Outlook or whatever calendar program you use. Or if you're in a situation (job, school) where you interact with other people, take their cues for when you ought to eat. When they go, go with them and force yourself to eat a little bit of something even if you're not hungry. I know it's not pleasant to eat when you're not hungry, but usually I can eat a few bites of something when I'm not hungry before I lose interest. If it's something dense like sushi or nuts, that little bit is all you need (if you set a reminder to eat again in two or three hrs).

                      It sounds silly, I know, but it seriously works for me. I figured out I had to do this during high stress times after I went two days without eating because I was so busy I didn't feel hungry at all--and then fainted at work. Don't get to this point. It's really bad for you!!! (Plus, it's embarrassing.)

                      1. re: chaddict

                        Chaddict, no offense but my son tends to be on the lazy side too and it makes sense now. But you are a CHOWHOUND and we live for the scrape up the effort to seek out yummy eats. Me, on the other hand, I will start to seek out the "I'm so hungry that I feel full" feeling. I will be a size 8 some day.


                2. people don't drop weight for no reason , stress or health, don't be afraid to go to the doctor ask for more test, otherwise eat small meals and milkshake in between

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: monkfanatic

                    Thanks, I will! Another hound in SF suggested thyroid testing wwhich I have scheduled for this week.

                    1. re: chaddict

                      don't want to fearmonger, but my aunt was recently diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Before then she was all so happy about all the weight she'd lost. After her diagnosis, I read tons of literature on the disease and it looks like it's one of the most common symptoms - sudden weight loss. I'm sure yours is nothing though!

                  2. Well, for starters, a Frostbite Martini from The Four Seasons does not a meal make (just kidding, don't throw those tomatoes! You need to eat them).

                    I don't need to gain weight, but I do need more non-meat protein so I've been adding wheat germ wherever I can--hot cereals, baked treats, meatloaf, casseroles, etc. There's not really any taste. I bet you could add it to bread crumbs.

                    How about some of the Korean teas? Would you want to drink more tea at work? Barley tea actually has some calories and would be a way to get in a few calories when you're too full to eat but can still drink some water/tea. Or yulmu tea (ground up mix of nuts, kind of creamy when mixed with water--we used to have this at EURA?) also has plenty of calories from all the nuts but isn't like eating a meal either.

                    Avocadoes also have a lot of calories, as do olives. I'm trying to think of little things that pack a punch because I know what you mean about not wanting to eat as soon as you're full.

                    My friend says spiruteen protein powder is the only one that's not vile, and she's pretty picky. It's expensive and hard to find, though.

                    Gain some weight and feel better! The next Frostbite is on me. Gosh I miss those.


                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Pei

                      As one can plainly see by your photo, there are nuts and olives at the Four Seasons too, you know! ; )

                      The teas are a great suggestion as I am always gulping water! Doesn't spiruteen make everything green? Also, I seem to recall that avocados were a no-no for my mother due to high cholesterol, no? That is probably one of the only tests I didn't get, will have to get that done.

                    2. Hey Chaddict, my SO is like this, too. We're both pretty skinny, but unlike me, he forgets to eat sometimes. High blood pressure and cholesterol levels also run in his family. When I need to fatten him up, I feed him hummus with lots of tahini and olive oil (really easy to make), smoked roasted almonds, roasted pistachios, dried fruits of all sorts, smoothies with full fat yogurt, fruit, and juice, fage, oatmeal, omelettes with cheese and veggies, potato pancakes. Try to snack throughout the day. I make my SO carry around protein bars in case he gets too lazy to get lunch. Balance bars are great if you don't mind how sweet they are; Cliff bars are even better. I'm sure you can work a steak burrito with avocado into your life, too, on occasion!

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: cimui

                        Yes, I forgot about nuts too! If I could I would eat nuts, trail mix and granola with dried fruit and nuts with abandon.
                        And don't just sprinkle those lentils on foods, eat them in a big bowl with goat cheese, toasted pumpkin seeds and olive oil!

                        1. re: cimui

                          hummus! That's easy enough to have on hand at work and simple enough that even a lazy git like me can get up, open a tub, and dip some pita chips into.

                          The problem I think for me is if the taste doesn't inspire me, I am just as likely to forgo eating. The variety you have suggested will work well! Sadly, I hate protein bars. Maybe I just haven't tried the right ones. Usually two bites and I am bored.

                          1. re: chaddict

                            You could have three or four different bars going at the same time and take one bite out of each before going around again.... And I'm only halfway joking--because, uh... well, I actually do this. =)

                            Cashew butter on apple slices or cheddar cheese with apple slices might be interesting enough for you to eat, too.