I can easily join the weight-gain Olympics, if there ever was such a thing. It is not hard for me to lose weight, and therefore, I consider myself to be quite an expert. My husband, on the other hand, wants to gain weight and struggles to do so, as he is lean and muscular, and probably has one of the best metabolisms in the world.
During a recent five-day fast, Jonathan realised that his body did not have enough fat to support him throughout a five-day fast (which I suspected), and he will only try to do one again once he has gained a bit of fat.
We have started to incorporate various strategies in order to help him gain weight, and especially to gain muscle.
If you are trying to consume a certain amount of calories per day, and you are mostly trying to do it with foods that are high in carbohydrates and lower in fat, you will need to eat a lot more in a day in order to make a difference, and if you cannot eat that much, you will struggle.
One of the biggest things that people struggle with when trying to gain weight is to eat enough. If your stomach has shrunk because you may not have been eating a lot over the last few years, then it will take some time to stretch your stomach, so that you can eat more, but if your stomach is still small, then rather opt to eat meals that are calorie-dense, as well as nutrient dense, and that will allow you to consume a smaller volume of food, but to get a lot more value out of it.
Fat is wonderful when you are trying to gain weight, as it is quite calorie dense. Fat has about nine calories per gramme of fat compared to only four calories per gramme of protein and four calories per gramme of carbohydrates.
You can find various fat bomb recipes online, and especially on Pinterest. Jonathan makes a smoothie made with coconut cream, butter, and some sort of dark chocolate, and usually ends up consuming 1000 calories in one smoothie in that way. With a fat bomb, you can easily get small snacks that provide 200 calories or even 300 calories per portion if you use high-calorie and high-fat ingredients like coconut oil, coconut cream, butter, and even nuts and seeds, or you could go big like Jonathan and go up to 1000 calories or more.
If you are trying to gain weight and do so at a faster rate, then it might not be the best idea to follow a strict ketogenic diet. A strict ketogenic diet is quite satiating, and people usually start eating less if they have been at it for a while and if their bodies have become fat adapted. They have more stable blood-sugar levels, so when they do run out of available fuel, their bodies can break down stored fat for energy. People who do follow a ketogenic diet often reduce the amount of times that they eat in a day, as well as the amount of food per serving.
After being on a ketogenic diet for months and then doing a five-day fast, Jonathan decided to add carbohydrates back into his diet to help him gain weight, but did not expect that his hunger levels would increase as rapidly.
After the first day of eating carbohydrates in the form of sweet potato, the next morning he was very hungry, and struggled to stick to his normal fasting times. Therefore, adding carbohydrates to his diet alone was a great way to increase his appetite and get him to eat more, so that he can gain weight over the next few months.
Pairing fat with carbohydrates is an even better strategy to follow if you do want to gain weight, and do not forget to add enough protein if you also want to make sure that you build enough muscle or maintain your muscle mass.
There is this thing called the bliss point, where scientists have discovered the perfect combination of salt, sugar, and fat to make people want to eat certain foods more, and to make people want to eat more of certain foods at one time. Some of the most addictive foods are high in both carbohydrates and fat, such as doughnuts, cakes, pizza, etc.
We do recommend that you stick to foods in their natural form, even when trying to gain weight. A primal or a paleo diet is a lot better than trying to gain weight while eating junk food. You will gain weight by eating junk food if you eat enough of it, but you will look a lot better if you did so by eating foods that are healthy for you and that give you the nutrients needed to build muscle and to gain a healthy amount of weight.
Jonathan’s theory is that struggling to gain weight could be because you are not absorbing the nutrients in your food properly and cannot break down the nutrients as well. Therefore, he is experimenting with taking digestive enzymes before meals to see if it will help him absorb his food better, and ultimately gain weight.
It might be easy for you to gain weight, or you might need to put in more effort and experiment to see which weight-gain strategies work for your body and help you get closer to your goals. We will keep you updated on what works and what does not help Jonathan to gain weight. I, on the other hand, only need to moderately overeat for three days to gain weight.