Despite Our Losses, People with ME/CFS Want More
We've been cheated by ME/CFS and we all know it. That's a no-brainer, if you'll pardon the cognitive pun. And loss didn't just result from the bad things that befell us. It also encompasses the good things that just ... never came. The absence of bounty. Of wholeness. Of peace.
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How to gain weight? (in a healthy way)

Discussion in 'General Treatment' started by curry, Oct 16, 2010.

  1. curry

    curry Senior Member

    The question is in the title. :Retro smile:

    I was always petite, but since I've changed to a more healthy, low-carb diet as part of my CFS regime, my low weight worries me.
    And I have also almost no appetite.

    The supplements probably would work better too if my body had some more energy available to burn.

    So any tipps how to gain weight or increase appetite are much appreciated.

    (No comments please like, 'just eat', it's not that easy...)
  2. Wonko

    Wonko Senior Member

    The other side.
    it's impossible to gain weight without increasing calorie input - if your on low carb that means primarily increasing protein and fat input

    the problem is both protein and fats are very filling relative to carbs which is the reason low carb diets cause people to loose weight

    so your stated goals are essentially incompatible

    however if you are currently losing wieght (or your bodyfat is very low) you can compensate by increasing your milk intake (if your not lactose intolerant) but it is important not to try and use this to actively put on wieght as any weight gained will simply be additional bodyfat for you to lug around - not good unless your bodyfat levels are too low atm

    there is no way to avoid excess calories being stored as fat without exercise if the calories are retained - if you cant exercise enough to gain lean body mass then trying gain weight will inevitably end up in more bodyfat

    a more expensive alternative to milk is protein powder - normally this is whey protein - this may or may not cause issues if your lactose intolerant - I dont know - it is less likey to be turned into fat directly but it is probable it would cause other things you eat to be more likey to be converted to BF - unless lean body mass was gained and the only way to do that I am aware of is exercise
  3. You can try a body builder weight gainer shake or maybe Ensure or a similar product. You can try eating a little more fat.

    Increase appetite - marijuana, marinol (a prescription marijuana), or other appetite increasing drugs

    Are you feeling nauseous at all, or having any trouble digesting fats or other foods?
  4. urbantravels

    urbantravels disjecta membra

    Los Angeles, CA
    I have had problems with my appetite over the course of this disease - at one point so badly that I was looking at Ensure in the grocery aisle, trying to decide whether I should get some. One look at the ingredients label put that idea out of my head instantly. THAT AIN'T FOOD! I'm not the purest healthy eater that ever walked the face of the earth, but I usually try to avoid eating non-food items, and Ensure is pretty much sugar and oil syrup with some protein powder and vitamins stuck in.

    I'm a strong believer in low-carb eating, and was much better about it back when I had the energy to prepare lots of whole foods from scratch. When I completely lost my appetite, I have to admit I fell back on a certain amount of sugary junk, which does have the effect of spurring your appetite later. A *better* way to do this, in the context of a low-carb diet, would be to adjust the levels of carbohydrate upwards, mostly in the form of things like fruits and vegetables (not grains and starches.)

    My appetite loss, for whatever it's worth, is strongly linked to my levels of situational depression.
  5. Hope123

    Hope123 Senior Member

    I've used this with good results for my father post-op and suggested it for a few people. Seems to help and you can adapt it to your diet as suitable. It's from UCLA.

    I'm a little overweight but can't help it much since I can't exercise like I use to; I try mostly just to eat healthy -- i.e. 2/3 non-meat matter on the plate, enough fruits/ veggies, seafood twice/ week, vegetarian once/ week, minimize processed foods as possible, whole grains, organic as possible, etc. although I have to use processed foods during times when I'm sicker. Knock on wood, my appetite has not changed and no food issues compared to others so far. I used to cook often pre-CFS so that knowledge and skill has been especially useful now that I'm sick.

    There's a great cookbook that I perused for fun recently and that is the closest to what I would wish to eat like although I don't have the energy for many of the recipes. It's not low-carb though:
  6. curry

    curry Senior Member

    The protein powder is actually a pretty good ideia - as I don't eat any diary though, I've searched a bit around and found 'maca powder' and 'hemp seed powder', both lactose free proteins. I will try to prepare some protein smoothies for breakfast from now on.

    Yes I know...I am so close to tuck into a jar of nutella and spoon it off in one go. :tongue:

    Thanks a lot hope123 for the links, they're very useful. :Retro smile:

    The body builder weight gainer shake is a great ideia - will have to do some research into this. :)
    And yes, I do feel nauseous sometimes...

    Do you happen to know which antihistamines these are? (I take diphenhydramine hydrochloride, but haven't felt yet any increase in appetite.)

    Thank you all for the tips and links, much appreciated. :Retro smile:
  7. laura

    laura Senior Member

    Southern California
    I am also petite and low weight. And I don't eat any wheat or dairy, so I have to get my calories elsewhere. For me, nuts are a great way to get calories, good fats, and protein. Adding good fats (extra-virgin olive oil) to all vegetables helps too. And eating high calorie fruit/vegie, like avocado.

    Also, I am not shy about eating good quality animal protein. I need it for energy. The other proteins are okay, but don't give me energy like the animal protein does. I used to make a protein shake every morning for breakfast. And it tasted great. But never did it give me energy like having my eggs and spinach and salsa! And I eat small meals throughout the day, to maintain energy. And sometimes I eat because I know that I need to, not because I am hungry.

    And Quinoa is a great replacement grain (its actually a seed), a complete protein.
  8. dipic

    dipic Senior Member

    Heh, when I first got sick with a bout of mono (triggering this whole nasty thing), I initially lost nearly 25lbs. in that month that I did little else but lay in bed and sleep. I'm 6'1", and only weighed a meager 155lbs. before I got sick. Over the last several years my weight has just continued to slowly dwindle. I now weigh a buck twenty. I was underweight when I was "healthy" (largely due to being active and having a super high metabolism.)

    Now my appetite hasn't exactly decreased a ton, but I just simply can't eat as much as I used to. I have to eat smaller meals and snacks throughout the day as digesting a big meal does not bode well with the low blood volume/POTS and really saps what little energy I have. Of course, I've also lost muscle mass due to a lack of activity, so that's part of it, but still. Being as tall as I am and weighing what I do is a bit scary. I've tried protein drinks, ensure, etc. to no avail.

    I also try to stay away from wheat and dairy, and eat nuts, coat green leaf salads in extra virgin olive oil (which I always eat with grilled chicken mixed in), eggs every morning, etc. But alas, I can't gain a single pound for the life of me.

    One of the (many) problems I have of trying to find a good diet to gain (or at least maintain) weight, is finding what, out of general guides and advice, is also okay for this illness! It just compounds the matters. Aside from the issues I was with the POTS, we have stay away from foods like can increase inflammation (I guess?) It's confusing. Nutrition and healthy eating is certainly not my forte (as when I was healthy I ate whenever and whatever I wanted.) Only very shortly before I became ill did I, ironically, start to be more conscious of what I ate (eliminating soda from diet completely, trying to eat more whole wheats, vegetables, etc.)
  9. ixchelkali

    ixchelkali Senior Member

    Long Beach, CA
    Is there a specific reason that you're trying to do low carb, or are you just trying to eat healthier foods? Because some carbs are "healthy carbs" that might help you to gain weight. Nuts and nut butters, for instance, and bean purees like hummus (with olive oil mixed in). Dried fruits have fairly concentrated calories. Foods with healthy fats like avocado. If, like many of us with OI, you want to increase your salt, olives have both salt and oil. I've developed a fondness for kalamata olives.

    I find that eating 5 or 6 smaller meals instead of 3 larger ones helps reduce nausea.

    Also, you can get more calories down without feeling as full if you drink them. Fruit juices and smoothies go down easily, and you can sneak in some extra calories by adding fat and/or protein. For instance, since you don't eat dairy, you can add silken tofu to fruits and juice to make a creamy smoothie. I don't like peanut much, but if you do you can make a tofu, soy milk, banana, and pb milk shake. If you like chocolate, add some unsweetened cocoa powder (which is also an antioxidant).

    I don't have a problem gaining weight, but my husband does, so I've been trying to find healthy ways to increase his calorie intake.
  10. laura

    laura Senior Member

    Southern California
    I forgot about olives. Yum!

    Also, just want to mention that an inability to gain/maintain weight can be a sign of an elevated thyroid, hyperthyroidism or grave's disease. Super important to have good detailed blood tests done to make sure this is not an issue.
  11. Levi

    Levi Senior Member

    Weight gain

    Macadamia nuts have 18 calories per nut. Trader Joes sells raw unsalted ones. Very easy to digest, and good for your HDL/LDL lipid ratio.
  12. guest

    guest Guest

    They have to be first generation antihistamines I think. The problem is they make you sleepy as well. :(

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