3

votes

low weight and need to gain weight; not sure how to approach this and would like thoughts

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created February 16, 2011 at 2:01 AM

I'm a 30 year old female with really bad digestive issues, and I'm 30 lbs underweight. Really, really underweight. Like, if I lose more, I'll have to go to a hospital and probably be force-fed ensure and stale food. I do not want to do that. I'm not sure if my low weight or the digestive issues are cause and effect (I've been low weight in past due to stress, etc..this time it seemed to stem from lots of stomach and bowel inconsistencies (which everyone labelled ibs, go figure). All the research I've done, seems I'm lacking stomach acidity, need to be more alkaline, have way too much bacterial overgrowth in my small intestine, possibly diverticulitis because I have a severe stich-like feeling in my lower ribs, esp. on the left lower side..also have some back pain, always feel full, constipated or just an incomplete movement that is a little "mush"). Doctors are useless and I don't believe in or trust mainstream medicine anymore. Should I just force myself to gain? My iron is severely low; i don't exercise anymore, save for a simple stroll once a day, some gentle stretching. My all hours job is sit-down only. I feel sluggish, always tired, look very gaunt. Either way, I have to gain. But will it cause me harm to "force' in food? I read a lot of stuff about paleo...but I almost don't know if I can do it; sure, calories can be had. But I'm just a regular girl and so much of all that stuff leads me to nausea, etc...thoughts? Just gain the weight, get it on? And then in future worry about whether I want to be paleo or not? Will gaining weight so I can at least get to a number on that scale that is not slightly alarming ANY way, any food going to be okaY? Even without exercise? Generally healthy of course...just , you know. Its hard because I'm not exercising, I have all those uncomfortable symptoms (perhaps because I'm underweight,, agiain cause or effect, don't know). Thoughts on calories that might be required? Sorry for the bizarre question. Figured I had nothing to lose.

26b7615ef542394102785a67a2786867

(7967)

on March 05, 2011
at 05:23 PM

I'm not even picky, and I can't imagine getting down a single 'meal' of raw eggs, raw butter, and raw honey. Sounds foul! I think when you have problems with underweight, poor digestion, and lack of appetite (which Ann-Marie also seems to have) it's a mistake to start with a 'plan' like this which makes it pretty much impossible to enjoy your food. No offense Michael, and I think the rest of your post is pretty spot-on.

26b7615ef542394102785a67a2786867

(7967)

on March 01, 2011
at 04:47 PM

As for weight gain, 20 lbs in a month would be fantastic for you. You are so dangerously emaciated right now! ANY weight of ANY sort you can put on is going to be hugely important for your health and life. The more food you can manage to eat, the better. The more fat you can gain right now, the better.

26b7615ef542394102785a67a2786867

(7967)

on March 01, 2011
at 04:45 PM

Please, please, please work on not feeling guilty about what you eat right now, or how much weight you gain. You just need nourishment, obviously something is terribly wrong with your body, so you need to eat as much as you possibly can in hopes you can absorb enough nutrients to keep your body going. There is absolutely hope you can regain your health. I don't have any answers as to what is wrong. Do you have the means to see specialists and get more tests? If you have always had this problem to some degree I am wondering if you have a genetic problem with absorbing some essential nutrient.

3eafb88d6a6d762fcfa8ed4eb0576260

(642)

on February 20, 2011
at 03:26 AM

By the way, following Matt's advice helped me gain 20 pounds. Now I hover around 165 lbs (at 6'3" still super skinny, but at least no longer morbidly so), eating more butter-drenched potatoes in a single meal than many folks here dare to eat in an entire month.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on February 17, 2011
at 04:40 PM

I get the stitches and the whole nine yards. I don't really dig on the whole 'food allergy' excuse..I buy more into the leaky-gut theory. I found that fibery stuff and eggs really make that stitch worse. (But so have random things like cleanes and certain supplements). I tried that coconut oil thing for like 6 months and it started to make me really sick to my stomach...and it didn't help much. Its worth a try, especially for the calories.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on February 17, 2011
at 04:33 PM

I would only consider that as a very very last resort.

Bdcb2101fd3f1853cfd645094d8ad086

on February 17, 2011
at 02:22 PM

Tom is right. I think you need to try probiotics (supplements), prebiotics (in root veggies), and digestive enzymes. And I would say cut back on the number of meals per day but make them larger. Give the digestive system a break during one period per day (12-16 hours; work up to it) and then shoot for more like 2000 calories during your feeding window. Reason for this is to try to permit the gut to consolidate the waste and pass it through. Eat food with plenty of fiber (cauliflower, celery, carrots, broccoli, cabbage, etc.). Eat more (nitrate free) bacon and fatty cuts of meat.

84666a86108dee8d11cbbc85b6382083

(2399)

on February 17, 2011
at 10:49 AM

You might want to look into "fecal transplant" since I suspect antibiotics wiped out some of your gut flora.

84666a86108dee8d11cbbc85b6382083

(2399)

on February 17, 2011
at 10:39 AM

Have you heavily used antibiotics in the past ?

7df8f3cc7f1475c3ecbbd4a4feb87d04

(514)

on February 17, 2011
at 05:52 AM

Since the situation seems to be quite dire, consider hiring someone (even some retired grandmother in the neighborhood) to cook some food for you. Eat what you like and fine tune after you get past this near-feeding tube stage. But if you can add in just 8oz of bone marrow (http://www.marksdailyapple.com/bone-marrow-recipe/) each day to what you're already eating, you should be able to gain more than 7 lbs in just one month, in theory... If it keeps you out of the hospital, I'd think paying someone to cook some of your meals would be worth it.

072fd69647b0e765bb4b11532569f16d

(3717)

on February 17, 2011
at 03:32 AM

Much green leafy veggies, and starchy veggies if you tolerate them well. Drop any whey protein. Not helpful. Gluten free breads, etc. Not helpful. I've tried them. Skip them. Meat, veggies, healthy fat. Some nuts. Lots of water.

072fd69647b0e765bb4b11532569f16d

(3717)

on February 17, 2011
at 03:32 AM

Anna-Marie, calm down. Don't panic or obsess. I am a 5'11" inch male who used to weigh 135 lbs 2.5 years ago. I now weigh 175 lbs. actively crossfit and strength train and consider myself to be generally healthy. It does sound like you have gut issues that can be hard to diagnose. Probiotics, digestive support (NOW Enzymes) and eating the good, clean food discussed in the responses to your post. Yes, it is okay to eat meat at every meal. Eat meat before dairy and nuts. If you aren't hungry for those, eat the meat and healthy fat (coconut, olive oil, avocados, etc) first.

072fd69647b0e765bb4b11532569f16d

(3717)

on February 16, 2011
at 03:43 AM

With all due respect, I disagree with many of your points (e.g. concern about gaining fat and worrying about macronutriet content). A person this underweight and unhealthy needs good calories, and if a little "skinny fat" gets added, all the better. I would suggest some moderate exercise (i.e. medium lenght walks and maybe some moderate weights) but nothing that burns up significant calories like chronic cardio. Quality calories in that can be digested comfortably should be he focus.

Bdcb2101fd3f1853cfd645094d8ad086

on February 16, 2011
at 02:57 AM

oh yeah and you should be taking at least 1 tbsp. of high quality fish oil every day. But start slow, 1 tsp. a day for 3 days, and increase the dose.

Bdcb2101fd3f1853cfd645094d8ad086

on February 16, 2011
at 02:55 AM

Anna-Marie, see my comments below. More specifics here: low iron, acidosis, low and unsatisfying bowel motility, low energy, all this can be corrected by eating lots of collagen rich broths and plenty of greens, plus enzymes and probiotics. Set yourself an eating schedule, eat 3-4 meals per day. Start small and increase them. Keep a strict fast between dinner and breakfast to increase hunger during the day and begin your day with a pre-breakfast walk again to stimulate hunger. You'll be fine. But it's all on YOU.

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20 Answers

6
Bdcb2101fd3f1853cfd645094d8ad086

on February 16, 2011
at 02:50 AM

Bottom line is you gotta eat. Eat nourishing, whole, natural, unprocessed foods and by all means go "paleo" or "primal."

There are so many good things you can eat!

1) Slow cooked chuck roast... cook and eat two 3 lb roasts a week. You will gain weight.

2) Bone broth made with beef bones. Eat the marrow. Drink the broth. The collagen proteins will do you a world of good. You should have this every day.

3) Cauliflower and other veggies cooked in coconut milk.

4) Sweet potatoes and white potatoes (no skins).

5) Lots of Kale, Collards, Spinach, Dandelion greens, Spring Mix, Broccoli, Cabbage, and other wonderful high-fiber and high-micronutrient veggies. These will keep you moving and healthy.

6) Plenty of carrots, parsnips, and rutabegas.

7) Eat root veggies high in prebiotics: jerusalem artichoke, burdock root, celeriac, jicama (delicious raw in salads), onions.

8) take digestive enzymes (search Robb Wolf's website for info on the proper use of Now Nutrition brand digestive enzymes).

9) take probiotic supplements

10) allow yourself to eat pastured butter and heavy cream

11) EGGS! Whole delicious eggs. 2-3 a day.

There is no reason why you can't correct your issues. Shoot for 3-4 meals a day, and then don't snack during your daily "fast" (between dinner and breakfast).

Don't eat: sugar, grains, legumes, etc.

Bdcb2101fd3f1853cfd645094d8ad086

on February 16, 2011
at 02:57 AM

oh yeah and you should be taking at least 1 tbsp. of high quality fish oil every day. But start slow, 1 tsp. a day for 3 days, and increase the dose.

4
26b7615ef542394102785a67a2786867

on February 17, 2011
at 04:05 AM

You need to stop thinking so much about what to eat, and just EAT. Lots of good, nourishing REAL food. At 30 lbs under a normal BMI, you are in serious trouble here - your health and life are in the balance. If I were 81 lbs at 5'5" I would be on death's doorstep (and I've always been an underweight person).

Anything you can eat right now to gain some mass is healthy!! Now is not the time to worry about gaining too much body fat, or your cholesterol getting high because you're eating eggs and meat at every meal. You can worry about fine-tuning once you're not in need of tube-feeding because you are so sick and emaciated, okay?

Please, eat. I am worried about you. If you want vegetarian meals, go for them. Just eat more food.

Have you identified trigger foods for your IBS yet?

3
62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on February 16, 2011
at 04:11 AM

I am not sure of the exact issue here. Is it that you eat a lot but don't gain or is it that you don't feel hungry and so don't eat enough? MIght be helpful if you gave us your caloric intake per day and be sure to track it carefully. If you eat, does that make you feel sick right away? Anyway, I would say eat things that do not seem to make you feel sick and that are healthy. Your body will need both nutrients and calories so the best way to get that is to eat healthy foods with lots of calories that do not make you feel sick. Meat and fat are the obvious ones. Starch like from potatoes is good for weight gain but can exacerbate gut flora problems if that is what you have. Starch plus fat is great for weight gain, like combining potato with butter. You will need to get your calories so try to target calorie rich foods.

One of the probs here is there is a variety of ways to come at this and diff things have been shown to work for diff people. But definitely stop eating wheat, sugar, and processed foods. Eat whole healthy foods.

Past that, some feel cutting out all starch can help them. Others find that eating bland for at least 3 days will help them. (long time, that will not be enough by itself though and you can't eat bland forever) There is not a lot of super bland food so it gets boring but it can be worth it if it makes you feel better. Good bland foods are plain boiled chicken with no skin, banana, and all natural no sugar added apple sauce. You can also get away with plain white rice in a pinch. It's not great for nutrients but it does seem to do well as a bland food for many. However, if you have gluten probs, it can be a problem, which is why I include it with a caveat. And a bland diet is not really a gut flora starving diet so it gets tricky here as to which path to take. Bland eating has saved me in the past, though, so I am fond of it as a quick intervention technique.

Also, I'd give up milk. Some of us still eat hard cheese and butter, but the milk is much less favored. So try first to ditch wheat, sugar, milk, and processed food and see how you feel. (And ditch the fruit juice which is mostly sugar mixed with very old stale juice.) Then take it from there. Make damned sure you eat enough calories every day and drink a decent amount of water.

And by all means, go out in the sun every day at midday if you can, expose some skin, and get you some vitamin D. Sick often end up staying in the house all day and that can make them even sicker.

See how far that takes you and evaluate from there.

1
3eafb88d6a6d762fcfa8ed4eb0576260

on February 20, 2011
at 03:20 AM

I strongly recommend you email Matt Stone (of 180 Degree Health, not the South Park creator):

sacredself at gmail dot com

and ask for his advice.

Paleo is way too restrictive for anyone who needs to gain serious weight. Matt's advice actually makes sense for underweight people. Worrying over how much squash you "can" have does not. Just email Matt Stone, copy and paste what you've written here, and eat the food! You can recover. Best of luck.

3eafb88d6a6d762fcfa8ed4eb0576260

(642)

on February 20, 2011
at 03:26 AM

By the way, following Matt's advice helped me gain 20 pounds. Now I hover around 165 lbs (at 6'3" still super skinny, but at least no longer morbidly so), eating more butter-drenched potatoes in a single meal than many folks here dare to eat in an entire month.

1
0adda19045a3641edac0008364b91110

(1146)

on February 17, 2011
at 01:49 AM

I have been suffering the exact same thing most of my life, but slowly I am correcting the problem. This is what I did:

I followed a strict Paleo diet, and consumed zero fruit, nuts, dairy, or anything processed. I then upped my saturated fat intake and consumed about 6 tablespoons of coconut oil a day for its antibacterial properties. I did this for four months. I am not gonna lie, during this time frame I felt like shit, but slowly my digestion improved. My bloating residing, as did my flatulence.

I then slowly began to reduce my protein intake, and increased my consumption of "safe starches" while keeping fat high, and my energy levels returned without the terrible digestion problems.

Up until last week, my digestion was good, but I would only go to the bathroom once a week. What finally cured me almost completely was 2 cups of rich BONE BROTH everyday!!! Bone broth has been a miracle to me.

1
5c5c0e66a846f2f60ccb4c9e7a21bb63

on February 16, 2011
at 09:34 PM

EVERYONE: thanks for the replies...you are very KIND and that means A LOT to me!! Ihave a ton of questions about this. I am really underweight; about 5 foot 1 (always a petite girl); but now i'm like 70 lbs...so...I have no energy , so i'm unsure the benefits of trying to force exercise...i feel guilty...i sit all day long, a simple walk alone, that is it. I eat 6x a day now...probably only getting in 1200-1500 on a paleo type frame in a way...i havn't eaten grains for a while; so a lot of proteins, fats, veggies, squash, potatoes, dairy (its NOT the best...but goodness, i do NOT want to obsess...not sure...goat cheese, liberte greek yogurt, organic liberte yogurt, greek gods full fat yogurt); salmon, chicken, turkey burgers; spices, oils, 2-3 whole eggs a day...fruits..nuts...but no grains...but this is still bad (constipation, or an "incomplete mush" that is tiny and never feels fully voided)...doctors are useless...i have horrible stitches on my lower rib areas, ESP. the left side bigtime...all the time...sometimes intense lower back pain; very gaunt, etc...pale, etc.. not sure of cause and effect anymore: digestive issues or due to being so low (was once real low in my life before becuz of stress issues and neglect unintentional and ended up having to gain a lot)...so its a questions now of cause and effect...plus, forcing sucks...but i got to gain...my iron is severely depleted; my gut motility is not good...i feel "impacted" and full of toxic bacteria!; so this isn't working..BUT...i've never done the whole CONSISTENT meat at eaach meal, etc thing...so maybe i need to try that..OR OR maybe i need to add in brown rice, gluten free bread, beans, etc... i mean is it TRULY okay to have eggs or meat or fatty fish at 3 MEALS a day PLUS dairy and nuts, etc for SNACKS ..EVERY day...seems a bit much...but i do it... maybe i need more vegetarian meals? Kale and white bean soups...hummus toppped entrees, etc...is having meats and eggs at EVERY meal (3x) every single day truly good for my bowels and guts...and maybe i need to add the brown rice, etc..i'm already eating sweet potatotes and squash daily ... BUT i don't eat a whole lot of them ...maybe i need to increase the portion sizes but i feel very full all the time am i gonna make it worse to have full-animal product meals everyday ...to force it, etc... CONFUSED. sorry if i seem fed up...i've been run around by doctors and am tired of them; i do feel something up with my bowels, GUT FLORA, my lower back pain is bad; some gas...everything...maybe SIBO or diverticulitis for all i know...but now doctors are just saying "if u lose more u'll have to go into hospital" that is NOT cool...i can only imagine the yuckiness. So, does it matter if i don't do paleo; or is that optimal way to LEAN (not fully embrace it, but lean that way)...or can i add in vegetarian meals how to fit in the cals without overloading on animal proteins, fats (i eat a lot of fats, and too much makes me nauseous), or without it hurting so much u know oh, i eat a good source of whey protein too for smoothies at times..maybe i just need to eat...i want my life back...i used to be an athlete and now nothing...and with my weight so low..i have a LONG way to go before i can exercise again. I hope the animal proteins at multiple times is okay cause i've been doing it just recently...but now i don't know anymore...i've been like this for a long time...so its likely more to do with taking the probiotics, etc...but still food and gaining is a major part...and right now the bowels, the left lower rib stitching , and back pain, and low energy is just very frustrating. THANKS all for any thoughts....you'll likely all confuse me, :) i dread actually the variability in replies cuz everyone is different...but still oh, i also can't be "picky' with foods...no time or ability or money or know-how to make things from scratch, etc...gotta be "doable" u know...not back to primitive or home-cooked-scratch ways :)

072fd69647b0e765bb4b11532569f16d

(3717)

on February 17, 2011
at 03:32 AM

Much green leafy veggies, and starchy veggies if you tolerate them well. Drop any whey protein. Not helpful. Gluten free breads, etc. Not helpful. I've tried them. Skip them. Meat, veggies, healthy fat. Some nuts. Lots of water.

Bdcb2101fd3f1853cfd645094d8ad086

on February 17, 2011
at 02:22 PM

Tom is right. I think you need to try probiotics (supplements), prebiotics (in root veggies), and digestive enzymes. And I would say cut back on the number of meals per day but make them larger. Give the digestive system a break during one period per day (12-16 hours; work up to it) and then shoot for more like 2000 calories during your feeding window. Reason for this is to try to permit the gut to consolidate the waste and pass it through. Eat food with plenty of fiber (cauliflower, celery, carrots, broccoli, cabbage, etc.). Eat more (nitrate free) bacon and fatty cuts of meat.

072fd69647b0e765bb4b11532569f16d

(3717)

on February 17, 2011
at 03:32 AM

Anna-Marie, calm down. Don't panic or obsess. I am a 5'11" inch male who used to weigh 135 lbs 2.5 years ago. I now weigh 175 lbs. actively crossfit and strength train and consider myself to be generally healthy. It does sound like you have gut issues that can be hard to diagnose. Probiotics, digestive support (NOW Enzymes) and eating the good, clean food discussed in the responses to your post. Yes, it is okay to eat meat at every meal. Eat meat before dairy and nuts. If you aren't hungry for those, eat the meat and healthy fat (coconut, olive oil, avocados, etc) first.

0
74114f08d7f6d37b096c7b1df1cc029c

on March 03, 2011
at 05:00 AM

Anna-Marie,

I'm sorry to hear about your health problem. As someone who has been severely underweight in the past, I know that it is difficult.

It must be overwhelming and confusing to see all these different replies, with everybody suggesting something different.

Here are some things that I think you should consider:

  1. Since your digestive system is not working properly, a lot of standard advice and diet plans do not apply to you. Eating a food that you can't digest properly won't do you much good.

  2. Some "probiotic" or "prebiotic" or "enzyme" or "HCL" or other pills will not magically fix this. You should eat a diet that is specifically designed to be easily digested, to heal your digestive tract. From my knowledge and experience, the following guidelines are useful:

Unheated honey is an excellent digestive aid. But it has to be truly unheated. Honeycomb is best. "Raw" honey is not good enough. Many honey producers heat their "Raw" honey to 120 degrees. To help digestion and assimilation, eat at least 1tsp of unheated honey with every meal. Other unheated bee products (non-dried pollen, royal jelly) are also useful, if you can get them.

Butter is a concentrated source of calories that's easy to digest. Raw butter is best. If you're in Canada, raw dairy is hard to come by. Try to find an Amish or Mennonite dairy farmer.

To gain weight, it's a good idea to make a mixture of unheated honey and raw butter every day, and snack on it throughout the day.

Raw eggs, eaten by themselves without whipping or blending, digest very easily and quickly, and are a good source of protein and fat. If you have trouble digesting whole raw eggs, try eating just the yolks. It's very easy to eat a lot (2-3 dozen) of raw eggs in a day. Don't refrigerate them. Try to find a farmer who feeds his chickens well. Supermarket raw eggs, even the "organic" ones, can be quite bland and unappetizing.

Bone broth is very easy to digest.

Whole vegetables, whether cooked or raw, are very hard to digest. I would suggest that you avoid them completely.

Nuts, seeds, grains, and beans are very hard to digest. I would suggest that you avoid them completely.

Fruits can sometimes make intestinal problems worse. I would suggest that you strictly limit them.

Meat and fish are excellent sources of nutrition, but they are much harder to digest than raw eggs. I would suggest that you avoid them completely, and re-introduce them later on, when your digestion gets better. The best way to eat meat and fish, is either raw, or slow-cooked.

Much of this advice is based on my experience with the "Raw Paleo" diet, and the "Primal Diet" by Aajonus Vonderplanitz. He usually prescribes a diet of raw eggs, raw butter, and unheated honey, and not much else, to people who are severely underweight. This kind of diet might sound boring and restrictive, but it's not meant for long-term. It's a tool for quickly gaining weight and fixing digestive problems. Hopefully this will be helpful to you.

26b7615ef542394102785a67a2786867

(7967)

on March 05, 2011
at 05:23 PM

I'm not even picky, and I can't imagine getting down a single 'meal' of raw eggs, raw butter, and raw honey. Sounds foul! I think when you have problems with underweight, poor digestion, and lack of appetite (which Ann-Marie also seems to have) it's a mistake to start with a 'plan' like this which makes it pretty much impossible to enjoy your food. No offense Michael, and I think the rest of your post is pretty spot-on.

0
5c5c0e66a846f2f60ccb4c9e7a21bb63

on March 03, 2011
at 02:56 AM

I really appreciate the chat. Not sure how old you are (I'm 30). I have so much going through my mind right now, so I might respond back later. I just question everything...everything. Particularly when I fail to follow more along the lines of paleo (as one naturopath had suggested to me). I contacted Matt Stone as per someone's suggstion above...and he basically said what you are...just get it on...digestion can adapt...the gain is more important at this stage than fixing the underlying problem...he also thinks starches, dairy, etc ..those things are easiest at this time and to emphasize them... I just ..ugh, so much to say; You said you gained paleo...and you were tiny...I just feel I do a lot wrong. I feel thirsty or dehydrated a lot, but I don't think I am...though i'm wondering if i ought to cut back on my big protein intake... ...water I drink a lot, but never quenches it...i have a lot of squash, oils, eggs, dairy, fish or chicken, etc...whey, fruit, nuts...prob will add in rice, maybe...i wonder about making some coconut bread recipes i see around the web; then worry that i should "keep it simple" and not add in those things; who knows...i need to be more comfortable with eating loads of carbs and not having a "balance" too i guess...i guess when i feel this way (esp. with the unexplained stitches in my ribs, esp. the left lower one...and the back pain, etc..i just feel like i have big time bacterial overgrowth and i'm feeding it versus getting rid of it)...i don't know what its like to feel normal...i barely move ..sit all the time.

0
5c5c0e66a846f2f60ccb4c9e7a21bb63

on March 01, 2011
at 12:48 PM

Animacule, Thanks for the response. My intestinal gut flora is so "toxic"...honestly, I feel like I need a thorough cleaning out. I haven't eaten grains in a LONG time...I think that might have been my problem to begin with :( I feel guilty for all the dairy, meat products...and I mean how much fat and carbs is healthy to eat? I eat a ton of oils and fruits and squash and potatoes, etc... and nuts wow, you are TINY too...only 105 I'm barely 5 feet 1 I was super super petite all my life, under 100 lbs for sure for sure... I'm about 65-70 lbs now (more or less depending on the scale)....so my situation doesn't seem so bad now since you are super duper tiny too for your height... but still, my weight is low...i have no energy or function. I see so many skinny skinny girls barely eat a thing or calories and run and function freaking awesome. So, I don't get it! I'm probably taking in 1400-1700 per day now. But I DO NOTHING>...I literally sit ALL the time. Honest. So, what gives? Thoughts? Is my metabolsim screwed for life? I've been like this forever. Plus, my bowels are so bad (either constipated or just a mushy tiny stool). Plus, I have severe abdominal stitches, esp. more in the left lower side (reminds me of small bacterial intestinal overgrowth or diverticulitis symptoms I've read about). I've been highly recommended to do the SCD plan...but think I would go neurotic with the strictness of it . What is a "healthy" weight gain per week??? I have SO MUCH to gain I feel...but I don't want to do it too fast or I will forever feel guilty about the speed of gain and the fat, etc...Thoughts animacule?

26b7615ef542394102785a67a2786867

(7967)

on March 01, 2011
at 04:47 PM

As for weight gain, 20 lbs in a month would be fantastic for you. You are so dangerously emaciated right now! ANY weight of ANY sort you can put on is going to be hugely important for your health and life. The more food you can manage to eat, the better. The more fat you can gain right now, the better.

26b7615ef542394102785a67a2786867

(7967)

on March 01, 2011
at 04:45 PM

Please, please, please work on not feeling guilty about what you eat right now, or how much weight you gain. You just need nourishment, obviously something is terribly wrong with your body, so you need to eat as much as you possibly can in hopes you can absorb enough nutrients to keep your body going. There is absolutely hope you can regain your health. I don't have any answers as to what is wrong. Do you have the means to see specialists and get more tests? If you have always had this problem to some degree I am wondering if you have a genetic problem with absorbing some essential nutrient.

0
26b7615ef542394102785a67a2786867

on February 28, 2011
at 07:28 PM

Anne-Marie, do you count calories each day? I think it might be helpful to count and measure, to see how much total food you are really eating, every single day (I suspect it might be less, even much less, that you think). Then make a meal plan for as high a daily caloric intake of foods that are both healthy and appealing to you as you can stand, and focus above all on eating MORE FOOD. If shakes are easier for you, make shakes. If you like ice cream or chocolate, eat it. The only thing I would stay away from if I were you is grains, with the exception of white rice.

Don't forget that gain at all would be healthy for you. Don't worry at all about fat vs muscle until you are feeling better and close to your normal pre-illness weight.

If it helps, at 5'5" and 105 (after successful weight gain on a primal diet) I need 2500 calories to maintain my weight. I think you need to be aiming for significantly higher than 1200 calories.

I'm really worried about you, please take care!

0
5c5c0e66a846f2f60ccb4c9e7a21bb63

on February 18, 2011
at 09:28 PM

oh and i eat sweet potatoes...not regular potatoes. if i don't eat grains..then i need more fiber and more starches...how much squash and sweet taters can i have, really.... what about chia seeds?

0
5c5c0e66a846f2f60ccb4c9e7a21bb63

on February 18, 2011
at 09:24 PM

I'm not sure the SCD allow yogurt or whey...and they may mess with me, but I'm relunctant to give them up...some people beans and gentle grains are the answer...maybe the root of the problem is relying too much on things in first place (i.e, I wasn't eating a ton of grains when this all started)...maybe balance is the answer...i eventually want to run again...and happy, healthy runners and amazing people in the world eat that stuff...i've heard of SCD...can it work if I follow "something" like that...and not be hardcore strict...cause i don't want to obsess...that will drive me nuts...the question is whether i actually count calories to make sure i start gaining (keep in mind i'm barely 70 lbs)..or if i try to straighten out my system and not lose more...but i want to start gaining now...and i want it to be healthy and eventually lean...so not sure how much i should aim for per week..i am just so sick of tiny little walks...i am sick of being so so fatigued (low iron) and having bowels be a mess of nothing or filth. This is frustrating. I'll have to go with it and hope I make right choices along the way...but...who knows

0
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on February 18, 2011
at 08:39 PM

You might want to look into the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. http://www.breakingtheviciouscycle.info/ It is quite a bit like paleo but is meant for stomach healing. If you have a leaky gut, like myself, the paleo can be a bit harsh. (Although great for when you are back in optimal health). For example no uncooked veg. In this diet potatoes are an illegal starch. They sit in the gut and provide food for bad bacteria. The diet includes bone broths and week by week meal plans.

0
5c5c0e66a846f2f60ccb4c9e7a21bb63

on February 18, 2011
at 01:11 AM

Gosh, I'm not sure I can. I did a few days of meat at EVERY meal...and hated it...I'd much rather have smooth smooth creamy dairy...plus the whey protein is helpful in the morning when all i want is a smoothie (how can 2 eggs, fruit and oil be enuf cals in the am....it seems absurd for me to avoid grains...my family thinks this is why my system is screwed in the first place)...i already have a ton of oils...will the dairy and stuff really be that bad...sometimes i find i must eat something before bed because i'll be alert and can't sleep otherwise...so juicy fruit and cool yogurt are nice.. like what would be a sample meal plan? times? I'm SO SO used to eat 6 x a day...if i eat larger meals, will that be hard to digest??? i eat a lot of squash and sweet potatoes EVERY day...maybe up the portions of them??? i mean, i'm eating them EVERY day...seems ridiculous...sometimes i wonder if gentle brown rice would be fine...i LOVE fish and turkey and all that...but having it TWIcE a day?? ugh...not really my thing...i love eggs, yes...i just want to be NORMAL...so sick of this :( I am 5 feet one and UNDER 70 lbs..that is why i'm fed up...i used to be a runner..and now for over 2 years i barely walk...its relentless and i'm tired of thinking about food... so - sample meal plan ideas? - is dairy really a no-no? - i do eat fruit - whey really that bad? alternative powders? sometimes drinking is so much more appealing...i've even bought some baby food in terms of squash and potatoes to heat up as "soups"...don't laugh... i wish i could straigthen it all out...i see some neat coconut flour muffin and bread recipes...but i feel i should be BASIC now..just to gain, etc... i'm worried about what is a HEALTHY gain per week also...because i am not exercising... i've had more leafy greens lately and they kind of turn my guts...think i need to stick more whole veggies versus the greens, something about them gets to me... fiber...hmm...thats the thing...like broccoli and stuff...it gets both good and bad rap....i alternate between constipation (its there but won't "go")...or a feeling of constipation and then i void and it feels like its only a quarter of the way emptied, and all i void is a cloudy, dirty mush... i take magnesium liquid before bed now cuz i heard it helps with digestion... i have to finish the probiotics i have already...i have "Udo" digestive enzymes...not sure about them...they seem useless... give me suggestions for meal ideas..or a layout of 2-3 days...maybe on another website they have samples? fasting seems weird... do u guys always balance your carbs and proteins at EVERY time u eat? i like avocados and coconut anything also... i mean maybe "paleo" isn't the thing for me...maybe i'm grasping for something just cause i'm tired of it all...but every lifestyle encourages different things... sorry if i sound panicked...i just want to devise a meal plan and follow it so then i can stop obsessing and worrying (which makes me worse)...remember, all i do is sit sit sit i don't have grassfed and really fatty cuts of meat tend to make me sickish...what do you suggest? i have seen sirloin steak and "stewing beef" in some version of angus-fed that is antibiotic and hormone free (all i have local to me)

0
5c5c0e66a846f2f60ccb4c9e7a21bb63

on February 17, 2011
at 03:12 AM

Gosh, I don't know if I can have so much oil per day...plus, i feel i ought to eat protein for gaining. I need to get calories - but all from fat? I keep thinking starches and fiber are important. I mean if I can't "go" (and I mean painful constipation) that is NOT good. Alternately, I experience an incomplete feeling of just have a BM of a bit of dirty mush...none of this is comfortable. I like fruits for the water...I crave fruits at times. I think I'm eating TOO much animal protein...

I eat eggs for breakfast, etc but maybe I'll try a whey protein smoothie instead...30 g of protein, plus coconut water or milk, and fruit OR squash or something...squash and whey blended together, nay or yay? I need to figure out how to have meals with cals without all the meat...i did meat at all meals today, and then snacks in between (a cup of fruit then before bed cause the juiciness was nice),..anyway, the meats at all meals is tough...i dread mornings cause i hate the trauma of the constipation :( I need an exact meal plan... I have "Imagine" beef broth here...but its not high in cals I'm NOT the type to be making broths and bones etc all homemade...not realistic for me; i have to do something better ...maybe an avocado protein smoothie..maybe the whey not so good..but i don't want eggs in morning all the time....and it would be weird just to have starches and oil or fruit and oil, no?

going to the bathroom once a week?? that can't be good at all. i need to balance somehow gaining with straightening out the guts without overdoing something...i think i've already been overemphasizing protein and fat for so so long; and i have a feeling that is not good...

7df8f3cc7f1475c3ecbbd4a4feb87d04

(514)

on February 17, 2011
at 05:52 AM

Since the situation seems to be quite dire, consider hiring someone (even some retired grandmother in the neighborhood) to cook some food for you. Eat what you like and fine tune after you get past this near-feeding tube stage. But if you can add in just 8oz of bone marrow (http://www.marksdailyapple.com/bone-marrow-recipe/) each day to what you're already eating, you should be able to gain more than 7 lbs in just one month, in theory... If it keeps you out of the hospital, I'd think paying someone to cook some of your meals would be worth it.

0
5c5c0e66a846f2f60ccb4c9e7a21bb63

on February 17, 2011
at 01:22 AM

Hi, nope I'm not follwing SAD. I eat these things: - 2 - 3 whole eggs daily - chicken, turkey, salmon, all kinds of fish...sometimes 4-5 oz TWICE a day (TOO much ??? seriously?? too many animals products??) - Dairy: goat cheese, liberte greek yogurt or organic yogurt, western yogurt (i'm in canada), "greek gods greek yogurt chok full of fat" -olive oil, coconut oil, flaxseed oil (how much is too much) - nuts, raw nut butters - ALL vegetables, sweet potatoes and squash, pumpkin - ALL fruits - whey protein, natural - some stevia, honey its been a LONG LONG time since i've had grains or beans or hummus...but i don't know now if i should add them back...maybe: beans, brown rice, buckwheat...yes or no??? can it HURT bacterial overgrowth????

back pain, stitiches, etc...too much animal proteins??? should i have that TWICE a day?? i already eat 2-3 whole eggs and dairy daily also... I MUST gain...trouble is HOW to gain WHILE straightening out my guts...

SENNETH: that sounds amazing...you have the stitches also??? really? and back pain??? did you force yourself to eat??? should i??? i haven't been exercising cause I am so low low weight...i hate this situation...its been years...no exercise...but should i force the weight gain...maybe the gaining will overcome that??? i fear worsening the problem...

and i wonder at times if i ought to be more of a LIGHT eater and get my calories through more vegan and vegetarian options rice? or heavy meats? seems ....i don't know i already eat a lot of fats...just wish i knew how to do it right...if i don't start gaining now, i will for sure be put in a hospital and fed ...however they do that...eventually they would make u go on ensure and stale bread and stale pork chops..so i don't want to do that :( I don't know if ALL meals should be meat based....some say that...or more be more vegetarian or lighter...but then i worry about getting calories in cause i don't know if rice and beans will be good or bad at this point...and i already feel i eat a ton of fat... confused :( i probably only get in 12-1500 calories, no exercise..how much do i really need? i sit all day...but i quoted my weight and height above..

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on February 17, 2011
at 04:40 PM

I get the stitches and the whole nine yards. I don't really dig on the whole 'food allergy' excuse..I buy more into the leaky-gut theory. I found that fibery stuff and eggs really make that stitch worse. (But so have random things like cleanes and certain supplements). I tried that coconut oil thing for like 6 months and it started to make me really sick to my stomach...and it didn't help much. Its worth a try, especially for the calories.

0
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on February 16, 2011
at 10:10 PM

Anne-Marie,

I have had the EXACT same problems for almost 3 years now but have only lost 15 pounds. I have been through 3 gastero's, 2 ND's and a nutritionist. I have ruled out nearly everything. I have been paleo for almost a year (gluten free for 3) and have had no benefit from it directly in regards to my same symptoms. (Although I like all the data behind it so I am sticking with). I have done everything that was recommend in the above posts: probiotics for years, bone broths galore, antibiotics (for the small intestinal overgrowth), 24 hour homemade yogurt, natural remedies, cleanses...and on and on....(Betaine HCL burned my stomach to shreds). Nothing has helped. I am seeing a chinese medicine doctor right now...no help so far but its only been 10 days. I don't mean to sound like a downer..but it would be nice to keep in contact you with you..if either of us finds a cure, then we can tell the other! Here is my super junk mail account if you want to email [email protected] BTW, I gained the weight back through bacon & buttered tea. But my clothes are all still loose, so I am thinking it went to muscle. Good luck!!!!

84666a86108dee8d11cbbc85b6382083

(2399)

on February 17, 2011
at 10:49 AM

You might want to look into "fecal transplant" since I suspect antibiotics wiped out some of your gut flora.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on February 17, 2011
at 04:33 PM

I would only consider that as a very very last resort.

0
06d21b99c58283ce575e36c4ecd4a458

(9948)

on February 16, 2011
at 10:03 PM

I am assuming you are now eating the Standard American Diet (SAD). And if you are eating over 2,000 cal a day of SAD and are not delibertly starving yourself, then I think you can assume that you are having problems assimilating and digesting the nutrients you are taking in.

Dr Art Ayers is of the opinion that all digestive problems are associated with the gut flora not being populated with the right kind of bacteria.

If you heal your gut as Dr Ayers says your problems will abate and you can proceed with becoming a paleo eater.

This link is for a search on his blog for gut dysbiosis...which means gut not functioning correctly. http://coolinginflammation.blogspot.com/search?q=gut+dysbiosis Roam around his site and you will understand the role that healthy bacteria in our guts plays in our overall health. In his blog posting, be sure to click on comments for peoples take on what he has had to say. You can even post to an old blog and he will answer.

Good luck.

0
F9a0b72f38860d7601afd5a45bb53394

(3618)

on February 16, 2011
at 03:16 AM

If you try to gain weight just to gain weight you could wind up gaining too much fat rather than gaining lean mass which, I'm guessing, is mostly what you need. (Women need some body fat over and above cushioning the organs.) So the advice here is really good. Especially about the bone broth. If you just can't swing it right now (it's a bit of work and you might not have help, and you sound tired), get some good-quality canned broth, like Swanson's, heat it up and add a packet of gelatin to it. That's close enough for government work.

Fish oil is one of those "maybe" kind of things. What's your polyunsaturated oil intake like? If you're getting a lot, then hit the fish oil. If not... it isn't necessary. Or you could take Green Pastures cod liver oil instead (it's available in capsules) and get the best of both worlds.

072fd69647b0e765bb4b11532569f16d

(3717)

on February 16, 2011
at 03:43 AM

With all due respect, I disagree with many of your points (e.g. concern about gaining fat and worrying about macronutriet content). A person this underweight and unhealthy needs good calories, and if a little "skinny fat" gets added, all the better. I would suggest some moderate exercise (i.e. medium lenght walks and maybe some moderate weights) but nothing that burns up significant calories like chronic cardio. Quality calories in that can be digested comfortably should be he focus.

0
8dbe73235f73c615f20d3d0f34b4852a

(1365)

on February 16, 2011
at 02:22 AM

So wait... are you eating Paleo yet? That is, have you cut out grains/legumes/dairy?

It seems like giving the Paleo diet stuff a good 30-day whack could help immensely.

As far as "getting started" and the "I don't think I can do it" stuff... I think you should reframe it in your head. Let's start here: If you DON'T go paleo, you'll still likely feel bad for the next 30 days, so what could it hurt. If you DO go paleo, you have the chance of healing your gut and straightening out all your hunger and food absorption problems. Eating paleo is super easy if you want to take an active role in your health, which it seems like you do. If you want to be lazy, then you just have to realize that your health is the tradeoff and know that it is now a conscious decision.

There are TONS of great resources and communities out there to help with everything. Whole9. Robb Wolf. Loren Cordain. Mark Sisson. Everyday Paleo. etc. All have websites with a unique angle on the whole Paleo thing and are GREAT tools if you think you can't figure out meals for a busy life.

Give the 30 days a shot, see what (if any) problems you still have, and then consult the Paleo community to resolve anything. We're here for ya! If you make the effort, you will always have friends. Guaranteed.

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