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Tips to help husband put on weight?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created January 10, 2013 at 6:43 PM

My husband and I are new to Paleo. He needs to gain some weight and is hoping some of you may be able to help. He's been cautious to jump in full force because hes seen so many people have weight loss success on Paleo. We were vegan for a while and that definitely didn't help. He is 22, 6'1", 123 lbs, 6% body fat. Very tall and thin. He is generally active, doesn't like to sit still for extended periods of time, and does some basic exercises like push-ups, sit-ups etc. He eats what I make, but I also try to have some higher carb paleo foods for him. Has anyone had success gaining weight on paleo? What should he eat in a standard day?

2f992ba31f9b8fe3438aca2928cf3fe9

on January 11, 2013
at 12:02 AM

We are both in the practical paleo meal plan. We eat a lot of meat and veggies, eggs and fats. We stopped the vegan diet almost a yer ago. He eats lots of fruit and nuts in addition.

0a819d945f30ae46a104d7a14e50e739

(105)

on January 10, 2013
at 11:36 PM

Are you eating meat at all?

2f992ba31f9b8fe3438aca2928cf3fe9

on January 10, 2013
at 10:53 PM

We tried going super high calorie a couple of years ago. I would track his calories and we aimed for like 3,500 a day. I mean, sandwiches with 3 Oz cheese, date bars, so many nuts etc. He didn't gain an ounce! I was astounded. He eats mostly paleo now but it varies when he's at work. He has a sensitive stomach and we have found that if he has grains or dairy, it results in cramps that usually deter him from eating for most of the day. So he definitely needs to eat more, but I think there might be more going on than just a calorie deficiency.

2f992ba31f9b8fe3438aca2928cf3fe9

on January 10, 2013
at 07:10 PM

One correction: husband is about 4% body fat.

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4 Answers

best answer

1
6714718e2245e5190017d643a7614157

on January 10, 2013
at 06:47 PM

2
Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on January 11, 2013
at 04:58 PM

At 6'1" and 123, he sounds darn near skeletal to me. That's worrisome for a 22-year old man who should be robust and strong. (Not necessarily robust as in "big," just a little more...I dunno...there.)

I would imagine that a good while on a clean Paleo diet will actually have him gaining needed healthy weight, rather than losing it. Many people lose weight on Paleo because many people should lose weight. But people who need to gain often do, as well. Paleo is kind of an equalizer in that way -- when your body finally starts getting the wide array of nutrients it needs from REAL, WHOLE foods, it can let go of excess weight it's been holding on to, or add on needed muscle mass and other types of lean tissue (bones, repairing structures, etc.) it wasn't able to on sub-par foods.

If your husband is at 123 pounds on a 6'1" body, the answer is not just to "eat more." We all know plenty of people who eat nonstop and yet are "hard gainers" or remain thin as rails no matter how much they try to shove down their piehole. I suspect this might be a case of malabsorption -- if his digestive system is not functioning well, he would eat tons of food and still not gain weight b/c he's not actually absorbing any of the life- and healthy-body sustaining nutrients.

I would focus on healing the gut...that will allow his body to do something with the foods he eats. Look into L-glutamine, bone broth (or powdered bovine gelatin added to soups and stews), and fermented foods (or probiotic supplements, but foods are more potent). If you listen to the Balanced Bites podcast (which you might be familiar with since it's done by the same woman who wrote Practical Paleo, she's covered this a lot.

You said he's generally active. That's good...doesn't sound like any fatigue issues. But does he have any other nagging health issues (even minor ones) that might be attributable to poor digestion? (There could be some nutrient deficiencies, too, if he was vegan for a while and still doesn't seem to be getting much mileage out of his food.)

1
089dd41b18fbb95ebb5347cded708d98

(5635)

on January 10, 2013
at 08:43 PM

i've gained about 6 lbs since starting paleo. just focus on nutrient dense foods. his body will only lose weight if he's sick or just not eating enough. is he still a vegan now? i was vegan prior to starting paleo so i know it's possible to gain weight. i would've gained more but i have malabsorption issues and ibd.

0
B2634bf90fa31b48a60e7c4f06761200

on January 10, 2013
at 08:46 PM

Ya, short answer is that he just has to EAT MORE! Shovel as much food as possible in and be diligent about stuffing himself... it's better that all this food be paleo friendly because you certainly still want to optimize health..

Tim Ferriss has a good section in his book the Four Hour Body about this... and it basically came down to upping the calories!

2f992ba31f9b8fe3438aca2928cf3fe9

on January 10, 2013
at 10:53 PM

We tried going super high calorie a couple of years ago. I would track his calories and we aimed for like 3,500 a day. I mean, sandwiches with 3 Oz cheese, date bars, so many nuts etc. He didn't gain an ounce! I was astounded. He eats mostly paleo now but it varies when he's at work. He has a sensitive stomach and we have found that if he has grains or dairy, it results in cramps that usually deter him from eating for most of the day. So he definitely needs to eat more, but I think there might be more going on than just a calorie deficiency.

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