2

votes

Is Paleo good for someone that wants to gain weight?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created October 24, 2012 at 3:14 AM

First of all, before I ask anything, here's some facts:

  1. I've been eating very healthy foods for the last 2-3 years (although, only a few weeks ago I completely cut out the sugar and white flours)
  2. I'm 16 (almost 17) years old, height = 5.1, weight = approx. 103-105 pounds, medium build, female
  3. I've been struggling with a 'form' of anorexia for the last 2-3 years (meaning I eat a very fair amount of food, but only healthy, organic food, ex: all nuts and seeds there is, leafy greens, vegetables, fruit, high quality chicken and beef, homemade whole Greek yogurt, Ezekiel bread products, free-range eggs, tons of avocado, unsweetened nut butters, coconut butter, almond flour, whole milk, brown rice, steel-cut oatmeal, etc)
  4. I exercise moderately; I go for a run about 3 times a week, and go on a long walk everyday.
  5. I do my school on the computer, so I try to stand whenever possible, even when I'm on the computer.

I don't really crave 'sugary' foods at all (nor white bread, or 'unhealthy foods'), but since I've been underweight (my menstrual cycle has been gone for about 2-3 years, my hair is thinning and falling out, I'm tired and cold constantly) for awhile, my mom has been making me eat some sugary foods (including muffins, cookies, cheesecake, doughnuts, cake, ice cream, etc), junk foods (chips, granola bars, refried beans, etc), and foods with flour (bready food items, tortillas, pasta, etc). I really don't care for any of those foods, I really just like what I eat now. I acknowledge that I need to gain some weight (since all my symptoms point towards that), but I just don't want to stuff myself with a bunch of junk to get there. The rest of my family isn't at all into any sort of healthy living, except my mom, occasionally she'll appreciate if I cook a very healthy meal (but she'll still remind me, "remember, you're on a mission, so what does that mean? Eat more! More calories! etc etc". As of now, I've cut out the Ezekiel bread, sugary/flour based foods, processed foods, whole milk (except I still make my homemade organic whole greek-yogurt, since all the whey gets strained out anyway), cheese, and conventionally raised meats/chicken. I've been doing good so far, but I can't say I've seen a increase in weight.

A typical eating day for me:

  • 7:00am: 1/2 cup Greek yogurt, 1/2 frozen banana, 1/2 frozen apple, 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon of seeds, and a lot of coconut flakes OR 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon steel-cut oatmeal (I haven't done this one ever since I cut out oats), 1/4 cup walnuts, 1/4 cup seeds, 1/4 cup raisins, 1 tablespoon almonds, and a lot of cinnamon

  • 11:00am: 3 eggs, 1 whole large avocado OR 2 slices Ezekiel bread (I haven't done this one ever since I cut out Ezekiel bread), tomato, avocado, a TON of extra virgin olive oil, turkey, and ALOT of romaine.

  • 2:00pm: A piece of fruit with some coconut butter/nut butter

  • 5:00pm: A nicely sized dinner, sometimes a very big portioned size for myself, but normal portions for everyone else.

  • 9:00pm: If I had yogurt in the morning, I'd have a coconut butter or nut butter sandwich (with Ezekiel bread) with berries or fruit in it, no jam/jelly. But if I didn't have yogurt yet, I'd have 1/2 cup Greek yogurt, 1/2 frozen banana, 1/2 frozen apple/blueberries, 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon of seeds, and a lot of coconut flakes

Am I being overly obsessive? Is there something I'm missing? I'm really thinking Paleo is something that would work for me (I'm going to the gym tomorrow to lift some weights, and I think I'll continue doing that more then my usual running), but I can't decide... Is Ezekiel really that bad? Should I be eating a lot of tubers? How much meat should I eat every day? I'm just so lost on what I should do from here...

3d172855899e68e1b653fa7cd01c2d1c

(35)

on October 25, 2012
at 03:03 AM

I'm really happy to hear that. I'm in a similar position, with not too many people who understand nutrition/EDs and what they do to your body, so I just started researching like mad and experimenting to try to get an idea of what was going on. Definitely helps to find someone who you can relate to a bit. :] Yeah, as long as you're eating fatty fish regularly, and eating Paleo foods otherwise, the omega ratio is something you can probably worry about once you've gotten the rest of your health in order. Sounds like you're on the right track! Wishin' you luck! :)

2ebed8797683eeaab992960edd1eba45

(65)

on October 25, 2012
at 01:44 AM

I usually try to consume fruits with 'lower' sugar levels (ex. blueberries, apples, pears, etc), but still eat bananas since they are a little more calorie dense then, say, a watermelon. Oh and thanks for letting me know you'll be able to answer my questions! I don't have too many people at all to turn to about nutrition, especially people who've gone through the things I have (ED wise), so you're aid has really helped me understand and just calm down about some things I've been really stressing over. Thanks again. (:

2ebed8797683eeaab992960edd1eba45

(65)

on October 25, 2012
at 01:43 AM

Technically, I shouldn't stress too much about any food I'm eating right now (as long as it's nutrient dense, as well as calorie dense). But anyway, I really don't have any alllergies (I'm a little sensitive to lactose, but not so bad that I have to completely stay away from it), so I think I will try to use good quality butters/cheeses to help my caloric intake. I've been consuming a lot of coconut (full fat) products, so I think that'll help as well. Also, some people have 'fruit issues', but I've been speculative about them...

2ebed8797683eeaab992960edd1eba45

(65)

on October 25, 2012
at 01:43 AM

Thanks again for the advice, I really take a lot from any kind of help I can get. Also it's okay! I tend to write a lot on here too, I just feel like I can get people to understand what I'm wanting to know if I really put alot of insight into what I say, so it just helps. But I digress, I think, so far, I'm consuming around 2000, so I'll be sure to up my calories to around 2500 (if not more). I've been trying to eat a lot of fish too (to balance my omega 1:1 ratios), so it's nice to hear I don't have to really be stressing over that as much as I am ...

089dd41b18fbb95ebb5347cded708d98

(5635)

on October 24, 2012
at 11:29 PM

i usually stop eating when i'm full just because i hate the "too stuffed" feeling. if something i make isn't good, i throw it out. i used to force myself to eat it because i hate wasting food but it just ends up not satisfying your body and doing you no good anyways. as for the book, it has a lot of writing exercises which really helped me see what a good person i am even though i have problems with food. it's a great self esteem book!

3d172855899e68e1b653fa7cd01c2d1c

(35)

on October 24, 2012
at 10:59 PM

As for a meal plan, allowing yourself to eat whenever you're hungry would be ideal, but I can relate to a lack of hunger when eating Paleo. 2500+ calories per day might be a good number to try and aim for. Try not to worry about the details from there. As long as you're eating a wide variety of Paleo/Primal foods to keep you're nutrient bases covered, try to allow yourself to eat what and when you'd like. Yeah, "Paleo for Women" is full of great info. I'm glad you found my post helpful. Sorry for the length! If you ever have any other questions, I lurk here often, and would love to help. :)

3d172855899e68e1b653fa7cd01c2d1c

(35)

on October 24, 2012
at 10:50 PM

If Greek yogurt doesn't hurt your stomach, it would be great to include in your diet. If you can tolerate cheese and butter, and find them more economical, those would be great as well. Regarding nut and seed consumption, I think you should eat whatever you feel like eating. I don't know if you are dealing with any other conditions, but if you are otherwise healthy and sensitivity-free, Omega-6 and PUFA levels in nuts/seeds probably aren't something you need to worry about right now, as long as they're not making up the majority of your diet. ...

3d172855899e68e1b653fa7cd01c2d1c

(35)

on October 24, 2012
at 10:48 PM

If Greek yogurt doesn't hurt your stomach, I'd say it is a great option for you. If you can tolerate cheese and butter, and find them more economical, those would be great to include in your diet as well. Regarding nut and seed consumption, I think you should eat whatever you feel like eating. I don't know if you are dealing with any other conditions, but if you are otherwise healthy and sensitivity-free, Omega 6 and PUFA levels in nuts/seeds probably aren't something you need to worry about right now, as long as they're not making up the majority of your diet. ...

3d172855899e68e1b653fa7cd01c2d1c

(35)

on October 24, 2012
at 10:46 PM

With something as nutritious as that awesome yogurt creation/meat etc, I would suggest allowing yourself more whenever you feel like you still want more. As for limits, when our bodies are healthy and we're eating the right foods, they tend to do a pretty good job of telling us when they have had enough. Long term restrictive eating can cause nutrient deficiencies and a decrease in leptin levels, which can contribute to feelings of wanting more food, even when physically full. I only regained "normal" feelings of fullness and hunger after working on allowing myself to eat freely like this. ...

2ebed8797683eeaab992960edd1eba45

(65)

on October 24, 2012
at 10:36 PM

Also, I'll definitely look up that book right now... it seems like something I should read. (Even though I eat food, I don't think I have a very healthy relationship with it, you know?)

2ebed8797683eeaab992960edd1eba45

(65)

on October 24, 2012
at 10:34 PM

Well, like this evening, I made a 'oatmeal' out of 1/2 cup coconut milk, 2 tablspoons coconut flour, 1 egg, 1/2 cup pumpkin puree, with spices and walnuts on top... When I was ALMOST done I got incredibly full, but I made myself eat it, because I felt like I need the calories... So it's technically 'bad' to do that? Force yourself to eat something when you know you need the calories? (it wasn't even good at all, so its not like it was tasty either)

2ebed8797683eeaab992960edd1eba45

(65)

on October 24, 2012
at 05:49 PM

*my, *usual, *whole milk, *pureed (don't know why I had so many typos, sorry about that)

2ebed8797683eeaab992960edd1eba45

(65)

on October 24, 2012
at 05:47 PM

Also, what do you think an ideal meal plan would be for someone like me... or should I just eat when I'm hungry (as of lately, all of the high amounts of fat I've been taking in have left me with a lack of hunger, but since I assume I won't really get hungry for the rest of the day, I eat at a scheduled time (whether I'm hungry or not). You're response was very informative... I think I'll look in to "Paleo for Women" and see what information I can pull, in order to help my recovery be more successful. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and expirence related to it, I appreciate you insight.

2ebed8797683eeaab992960edd1eba45

(65)

on October 24, 2012
at 05:46 PM

I usually don't allow myself to, and perhaps that's my problem, but I can't take away the fact that I still need a limit, just like everyone else. I don't tolerate lactose too well, but since greek yogurt has most of the lactose strained out, it usually doesn't hurt my stomach at all (especially since I home-make it). Should I still be trying to ingest cheese and butter, since they're a more 'economical' way of getting my calories? Also, I've been eating a lot of nuts lately, so I've switched to only a little nuts and a lot more seeds... is that a good idea? Or do you believe it's equal?

2ebed8797683eeaab992960edd1eba45

(65)

on October 24, 2012
at 05:46 PM

It's true though... sometimes I do want that extra cup of yogurt, or another slice of beef, but I feel as if I should still be reasonable. For example, last night, I had a mny usual whoel milk Greek yogurt with some coconut butter/flakes, dark chocolate shavings, 1/2 banana, 1/2 frozen apple, a tablespoon of purreed carrots, and about 1/4 cup seeds; the thing is, I felt like I wanted more when I was done. I wasen't fully satisfied. Sometimes it's about cost, sometimes it's about reason... but I just feel like I want 'more' just because it tastes good, and I want it again. (continued)

C2ecbc6f2948c232d60a639c50b7f4f9

(504)

on October 24, 2012
at 05:11 AM

You need to have a diet and strength & conditioning program that fits you, do what works for you

C2ecbc6f2948c232d60a639c50b7f4f9

(504)

on October 24, 2012
at 04:46 AM

1800 is good, but it wouldnt hurt if u hit 2000, stay away from high fractose corn syrup, soy, fast food obviously, and hydrogenated vegetable oils, read the ingrdients of what you buy

2ebed8797683eeaab992960edd1eba45

(65)

on October 24, 2012
at 04:39 AM

What foods should I stay away from then? (Also, if my BMR is about 1310.2, then I should be eating 1810.2 calories a day??)

  • 2ebed8797683eeaab992960edd1eba45

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5 Answers

1
Ef777978cfeb8fbdd18d75c4f6c4cb23

on October 24, 2012
at 12:32 PM

I'm afraid I have little experience with the condition as you describe it, but what strikes me is that you are overly concerned with cutting stuff out (which is perhaps not surprising).

What I would suggest is that you spend some time thinking about what you could include. How about beef, lamb & pork? How about salmon, tuna, or other oily fish? Could you bear to eat liver or tongue or other offal? How about bacon?

What about eating some double (if you're American, heavy) cream with blueberries. Yum. Cheese? As much as you like, whenever you like.

You see & forgive me if I'm wide of the mark here, if you cut out the grains & sugars, you've only embraced half the paleo lifestyle. The other half is increasing the healthy fats.

Good luck

1
3d172855899e68e1b653fa7cd01c2d1c

(35)

on October 24, 2012
at 06:16 AM

I am only writing from my personal experience and study, but if you haven't had your menstrual cycle for 2-3 years, and are experiencing hair loss, cold intolerance, etc. as well, you likely also need to gain some body fat, and not just lean body mass. I've been dealing with a restrictive eating disorder of sorts for the past few years as well, and experienced many of the same issues. My parents are similar, and were frequently trying to get me to eat junk foods, and I did occasionally, but I have had the best luck with just sticking to Paleo/whole foods, working to reduce stress around food and exercise, and learning to trust my hunger signals.

It might be difficult (it was for me), but it may help to try loosening the reigns a bit in terms of what you eat. As long as you're eating whole nutritious foods, don't worry too much about the details for now, and work on trusting your body's signals and cravings, even if they seem unreasonable to you at times. That doesn't mean I'd recommend eating a bunch of processed junk, but if you feel like another cup of yogurt, some dark chocolate, or another serving of meat/etc., don't sweat it. At your age and activity level, you should most likely be eating at LEAST 2000 calories a day, and if you're trying to gain weight/regain your period etc., upwards of 2500 a day is often recommended.

I think there are a lot of things worse than Ezekiel bread that you could be eating, but roots and tubers would be a superior source of carbohydrates and nutrients for you. There is some great info over at Paleo for Women regarding adequate starchy carb intake for women that would be worth checking out if you haven't already. There is no set about of meat that one should eat in a day, although the author of Paleo for Women and my physician have mentioned that females may find it beneficial to moderate their protein intake when dealing with fertility problems. Try not to worry too much about numbers right now, and see what your body tells you. You may eat a lot some days, and a little on other days. Either way, you should be alright as long as you're getting enough overall.

You look like you're on the right track in terms of the foods you're eating. You'll likely just need to increase the amount of food, and/or further reduce your physical activity for a little while. Taking a break from running for a while is a great idea. Trying to reduce stress around food and not worry so much about the details of your diet may be of equal importance for you though, in terms of regaining your health.

Again, I'm just writing from my own experience and research. My cycle still has yet to return, but I've made a lot of headway eating Paleo in my recovery (including improved cold tolerance, healthier/thicker hair, and a lot more energy). It has taken some fine-tuning, but I totally believe it's possible, and a great way to go, as long as you take into consideration the individual requirements and needs of your body and situation.

2ebed8797683eeaab992960edd1eba45

(65)

on October 24, 2012
at 05:49 PM

*my, *usual, *whole milk, *pureed (don't know why I had so many typos, sorry about that)

2ebed8797683eeaab992960edd1eba45

(65)

on October 24, 2012
at 05:46 PM

I usually don't allow myself to, and perhaps that's my problem, but I can't take away the fact that I still need a limit, just like everyone else. I don't tolerate lactose too well, but since greek yogurt has most of the lactose strained out, it usually doesn't hurt my stomach at all (especially since I home-make it). Should I still be trying to ingest cheese and butter, since they're a more 'economical' way of getting my calories? Also, I've been eating a lot of nuts lately, so I've switched to only a little nuts and a lot more seeds... is that a good idea? Or do you believe it's equal?

2ebed8797683eeaab992960edd1eba45

(65)

on October 24, 2012
at 05:46 PM

It's true though... sometimes I do want that extra cup of yogurt, or another slice of beef, but I feel as if I should still be reasonable. For example, last night, I had a mny usual whoel milk Greek yogurt with some coconut butter/flakes, dark chocolate shavings, 1/2 banana, 1/2 frozen apple, a tablespoon of purreed carrots, and about 1/4 cup seeds; the thing is, I felt like I wanted more when I was done. I wasen't fully satisfied. Sometimes it's about cost, sometimes it's about reason... but I just feel like I want 'more' just because it tastes good, and I want it again. (continued)

2ebed8797683eeaab992960edd1eba45

(65)

on October 25, 2012
at 01:43 AM

Thanks again for the advice, I really take a lot from any kind of help I can get. Also it's okay! I tend to write a lot on here too, I just feel like I can get people to understand what I'm wanting to know if I really put alot of insight into what I say, so it just helps. But I digress, I think, so far, I'm consuming around 2000, so I'll be sure to up my calories to around 2500 (if not more). I've been trying to eat a lot of fish too (to balance my omega 1:1 ratios), so it's nice to hear I don't have to really be stressing over that as much as I am ...

2ebed8797683eeaab992960edd1eba45

(65)

on October 24, 2012
at 05:47 PM

Also, what do you think an ideal meal plan would be for someone like me... or should I just eat when I'm hungry (as of lately, all of the high amounts of fat I've been taking in have left me with a lack of hunger, but since I assume I won't really get hungry for the rest of the day, I eat at a scheduled time (whether I'm hungry or not). You're response was very informative... I think I'll look in to "Paleo for Women" and see what information I can pull, in order to help my recovery be more successful. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and expirence related to it, I appreciate you insight.

3d172855899e68e1b653fa7cd01c2d1c

(35)

on October 24, 2012
at 10:48 PM

If Greek yogurt doesn't hurt your stomach, I'd say it is a great option for you. If you can tolerate cheese and butter, and find them more economical, those would be great to include in your diet as well. Regarding nut and seed consumption, I think you should eat whatever you feel like eating. I don't know if you are dealing with any other conditions, but if you are otherwise healthy and sensitivity-free, Omega 6 and PUFA levels in nuts/seeds probably aren't something you need to worry about right now, as long as they're not making up the majority of your diet. ...

2ebed8797683eeaab992960edd1eba45

(65)

on October 25, 2012
at 01:43 AM

Technically, I shouldn't stress too much about any food I'm eating right now (as long as it's nutrient dense, as well as calorie dense). But anyway, I really don't have any alllergies (I'm a little sensitive to lactose, but not so bad that I have to completely stay away from it), so I think I will try to use good quality butters/cheeses to help my caloric intake. I've been consuming a lot of coconut (full fat) products, so I think that'll help as well. Also, some people have 'fruit issues', but I've been speculative about them...

2ebed8797683eeaab992960edd1eba45

(65)

on October 25, 2012
at 01:44 AM

I usually try to consume fruits with 'lower' sugar levels (ex. blueberries, apples, pears, etc), but still eat bananas since they are a little more calorie dense then, say, a watermelon. Oh and thanks for letting me know you'll be able to answer my questions! I don't have too many people at all to turn to about nutrition, especially people who've gone through the things I have (ED wise), so you're aid has really helped me understand and just calm down about some things I've been really stressing over. Thanks again. (:

3d172855899e68e1b653fa7cd01c2d1c

(35)

on October 24, 2012
at 10:59 PM

As for a meal plan, allowing yourself to eat whenever you're hungry would be ideal, but I can relate to a lack of hunger when eating Paleo. 2500+ calories per day might be a good number to try and aim for. Try not to worry about the details from there. As long as you're eating a wide variety of Paleo/Primal foods to keep you're nutrient bases covered, try to allow yourself to eat what and when you'd like. Yeah, "Paleo for Women" is full of great info. I'm glad you found my post helpful. Sorry for the length! If you ever have any other questions, I lurk here often, and would love to help. :)

3d172855899e68e1b653fa7cd01c2d1c

(35)

on October 25, 2012
at 03:03 AM

I'm really happy to hear that. I'm in a similar position, with not too many people who understand nutrition/EDs and what they do to your body, so I just started researching like mad and experimenting to try to get an idea of what was going on. Definitely helps to find someone who you can relate to a bit. :] Yeah, as long as you're eating fatty fish regularly, and eating Paleo foods otherwise, the omega ratio is something you can probably worry about once you've gotten the rest of your health in order. Sounds like you're on the right track! Wishin' you luck! :)

3d172855899e68e1b653fa7cd01c2d1c

(35)

on October 24, 2012
at 10:50 PM

If Greek yogurt doesn't hurt your stomach, it would be great to include in your diet. If you can tolerate cheese and butter, and find them more economical, those would be great as well. Regarding nut and seed consumption, I think you should eat whatever you feel like eating. I don't know if you are dealing with any other conditions, but if you are otherwise healthy and sensitivity-free, Omega-6 and PUFA levels in nuts/seeds probably aren't something you need to worry about right now, as long as they're not making up the majority of your diet. ...

3d172855899e68e1b653fa7cd01c2d1c

(35)

on October 24, 2012
at 10:46 PM

With something as nutritious as that awesome yogurt creation/meat etc, I would suggest allowing yourself more whenever you feel like you still want more. As for limits, when our bodies are healthy and we're eating the right foods, they tend to do a pretty good job of telling us when they have had enough. Long term restrictive eating can cause nutrient deficiencies and a decrease in leptin levels, which can contribute to feelings of wanting more food, even when physically full. I only regained "normal" feelings of fullness and hunger after working on allowing myself to eat freely like this. ...

1
C2ecbc6f2948c232d60a639c50b7f4f9

(504)

on October 24, 2012
at 04:21 AM

Find your BMR and your caloric expending rate and eat about 500 calories above it that way you gain healthy weight, add that with working out 3 or 4 days a week you can expect to gain lean body mass.

C2ecbc6f2948c232d60a639c50b7f4f9

(504)

on October 24, 2012
at 05:11 AM

You need to have a diet and strength & conditioning program that fits you, do what works for you

2ebed8797683eeaab992960edd1eba45

(65)

on October 24, 2012
at 04:39 AM

What foods should I stay away from then? (Also, if my BMR is about 1310.2, then I should be eating 1810.2 calories a day??)

C2ecbc6f2948c232d60a639c50b7f4f9

(504)

on October 24, 2012
at 04:46 AM

1800 is good, but it wouldnt hurt if u hit 2000, stay away from high fractose corn syrup, soy, fast food obviously, and hydrogenated vegetable oils, read the ingrdients of what you buy

0
B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on October 24, 2012
at 10:52 PM

Yes. Paleo is good for everyone. No-one benefits from eating neolithic shit (apart from Monsanto).

0
089dd41b18fbb95ebb5347cded708d98

(5635)

on October 24, 2012
at 10:03 PM

i wouldn't focus on measuring things. just eat until you are full and don't feel guilty about it. if after dinner you are still hungry, then have second helpings. i do not limit myself at all and i eat over a pound of meat a day (i'm under 90 lbs) with as much fat as i want (i love skin).

also, i'd recommend a book called "making peace with food." it really helped me get past my obsessive qualities and control i was having with food. food isn't supposed to be your enemy.

2ebed8797683eeaab992960edd1eba45

(65)

on October 24, 2012
at 10:34 PM

Well, like this evening, I made a 'oatmeal' out of 1/2 cup coconut milk, 2 tablspoons coconut flour, 1 egg, 1/2 cup pumpkin puree, with spices and walnuts on top... When I was ALMOST done I got incredibly full, but I made myself eat it, because I felt like I need the calories... So it's technically 'bad' to do that? Force yourself to eat something when you know you need the calories? (it wasn't even good at all, so its not like it was tasty either)

089dd41b18fbb95ebb5347cded708d98

(5635)

on October 24, 2012
at 11:29 PM

i usually stop eating when i'm full just because i hate the "too stuffed" feeling. if something i make isn't good, i throw it out. i used to force myself to eat it because i hate wasting food but it just ends up not satisfying your body and doing you no good anyways. as for the book, it has a lot of writing exercises which really helped me see what a good person i am even though i have problems with food. it's a great self esteem book!

2ebed8797683eeaab992960edd1eba45

(65)

on October 24, 2012
at 10:36 PM

Also, I'll definitely look up that book right now... it seems like something I should read. (Even though I eat food, I don't think I have a very healthy relationship with it, you know?)

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