3

votes

Why don't I gain weight?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 12, 2012 at 3:57 PM

One of my biggest struggles with the Paleo diet has been avoiding losing weight. Yes people suggest eating more and I try but no matter how much I eat at best I can not lose weight. There's limits to how much your digestive system can handle in one day as well and I keep it pretty busy. Even on the SAD diet I didn't gain weight very easily - maybe 1lb a year eating a diet composed entirely of grains and ice cream with trace quantities of veggies and meat (glad to not be doing that anymore!). I'm 31 and don't exercise, though I'm fairly active with household chores and taking care of young kinds. Why don't I gain weight? Can it really just be genes? My fancy scale says I should be eating something like 2800 calories to break even.

De267f213b375efca5da07890e5efc25

(3747)

on March 13, 2012
at 08:40 PM

By itself, not inappropriate but I've only got 5lbs or so of buffer until it becomes inappropriate. With IFs and if I don't watch it, then I could drop into the inappropriate zone.

306aa57660d911781231f8090c2a5619

(3808)

on March 13, 2012
at 08:01 PM

I'm not sure why someone would consider 155 at 5'10" an inappropriate weight. That's well within normal weight range.

345c1755efe005edd162b770dc6fb821

(8767)

on March 13, 2012
at 03:35 PM

i do agree with your concerns, for that reason i dont do alot of sweet potatoes or rice, i add small portions and rotate food, but when you are loosing weight too fast you have to find soemthing that will work and wont do more harm, I was on constant look out for side effects but in all honesty, in moderation seems to be the key (for me at least!). Potatoes and carrots w/o the skins in a variety of ways is a good combo that didnt cause insulin spikes for me.

742ff8ba4ff55e84593ede14ac1c3cab

(3536)

on March 13, 2012
at 12:09 AM

I'm up for the race. I need to gain me some mass. I have tried super high fat and high carb but lost too much weight on both eating close to 4000 calories.

Medium avatar

(39831)

on March 13, 2012
at 12:04 AM

Dietary restriction of various things, food in general principal among them, alongside an absence of sufficient mechanical strain is exactly what I would expect to prevent gains in LBM.

De267f213b375efca5da07890e5efc25

(3747)

on March 12, 2012
at 11:41 PM

Good point. I would like to take advantage of intermittent fasting but it's just hard to do when you can't replenish your fat stores after burning them.

De267f213b375efca5da07890e5efc25

(3747)

on March 12, 2012
at 11:40 PM

My concern with starches has been that the blood sugar spikes cause other problems, like autoimmune disorders and insulin sensitivity (even in a healthy weight person).

De267f213b375efca5da07890e5efc25

(3747)

on March 12, 2012
at 11:39 PM

It's a good suggestion. Without grains and dairy, it's hard to be sure that I'm eating enough. I eat a lot of veggies. I try to douse them in fat but despite common perception, soaking everything in fat may not mean that you get enough calories.

De267f213b375efca5da07890e5efc25

(3747)

on March 12, 2012
at 11:38 PM

5'10" and only 155lbs. My GI says I should be 150lbs at a minimum. I've flirted with this weight recently and it's almost a struggle to stay above it.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on March 12, 2012
at 08:16 PM

balor, how tall are you?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on March 12, 2012
at 08:10 PM

Vince Gironda said that most of the overweight, underestimate how much they eat and the underweight, over estimate what they eat.

Medium avatar

(39831)

on March 12, 2012
at 07:11 PM

Well, the lifting would necessitate a greater protein intake to maintain nitrogen balance. If you're not creating physical demands for your body, it would have no reason to engage in the energetically costly process of building and maintaining muscle. You really need to give it a compelling argument.

Ccacf7567273244733bc991af4ac42ed

(5198)

on March 12, 2012
at 06:54 PM

Why should you gain weight? That's the way round I'd be looking at it.

Ccacf7567273244733bc991af4ac42ed

(5198)

on March 12, 2012
at 06:53 PM

Not really the same as real milk no, although coconut milk is a great way to get in calories when you can't seem to eat more.

De267f213b375efca5da07890e5efc25

(3747)

on March 12, 2012
at 06:40 PM

Yeah if I start exercising regularly could be a good option. For the moment I'm sticking to ~.5lb/day as it is recommendation by two Paleo authors for longevity.

De267f213b375efca5da07890e5efc25

(3747)

on March 12, 2012
at 06:39 PM

Thanks for the suggestion but I avoid dairy for the most part. Maybe coconut milk? Seems like such a waste to take in so many calories without better nutrition, no?

De267f213b375efca5da07890e5efc25

(3747)

on March 12, 2012
at 06:38 PM

One thing I might mention is that my serum CO2 is typically mildly elevated. (up to 29 normal, as high as 34). My PCP seems ok with it and a Dermatologist once told me "You're just metabolizing". Think it's just that then?

De267f213b375efca5da07890e5efc25

(3747)

on March 12, 2012
at 06:36 PM

Yeah TSH is fine but low normal. I haven't had any tests since going Paleo though so who knows what's going on now. My PCP thinks I'm a quack, though, so I'm not inclined to see him voluntarily. Can't find another good PCP near here who's accepting new patients.

F1b39d4f620876330312f4925bd51900

(4090)

on March 12, 2012
at 05:40 PM

I can only gain weight by drinking a ton of milk! (Also I gain acne, constipation, and GI distress!) I did lose all the weight once I stopped drinking a ton of milk though.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on March 12, 2012
at 05:05 PM

My dad was 5'7" and weighed 133 lbs his whole life eating like an NFL lineman AND drinking alcohol socially. Even if you work out, you may tend to get harder but not bulkier/heavier. Enjoy it!

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7 Answers

3
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on March 12, 2012
at 05:42 PM

Can I suggest you track your calories? One of my workout buddies is a tall skinny guy and he's been stuck at 140-150ish for a while even though he eats more. We finally had him fitday a week and he's hittin' 2200kcal a day.

You might just not be eating as much as you think.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on March 12, 2012
at 08:10 PM

Vince Gironda said that most of the overweight, underestimate how much they eat and the underweight, over estimate what they eat.

De267f213b375efca5da07890e5efc25

(3747)

on March 12, 2012
at 11:39 PM

It's a good suggestion. Without grains and dairy, it's hard to be sure that I'm eating enough. I eat a lot of veggies. I try to douse them in fat but despite common perception, soaking everything in fat may not mean that you get enough calories.

3
1e85929286612389d965404e56d738be

(30)

on March 12, 2012
at 05:00 PM

Have you had your thyroid checked? Sounds like a symptom of hyperthyroid or just really good metabolism. A blood panel wouldn't be a bad idea to rule out any metabolic disorders. Next time you visit your doctor ask him to do a metabolic panel on you to check your TSH levels for hyperthyroidism and any other metabolic disorders.

De267f213b375efca5da07890e5efc25

(3747)

on March 12, 2012
at 06:36 PM

Yeah TSH is fine but low normal. I haven't had any tests since going Paleo though so who knows what's going on now. My PCP thinks I'm a quack, though, so I'm not inclined to see him voluntarily. Can't find another good PCP near here who's accepting new patients.

De267f213b375efca5da07890e5efc25

(3747)

on March 12, 2012
at 06:38 PM

One thing I might mention is that my serum CO2 is typically mildly elevated. (up to 29 normal, as high as 34). My PCP seems ok with it and a Dermatologist once told me "You're just metabolizing". Think it's just that then?

1
Medium avatar

on March 12, 2012
at 05:50 PM

Eat a pound at least of meat per day plus at least 200g carbs (doing a lot of one or the other doesn't work) and diligently perform whatever weightlifting routine you think you can stick with. This is how I finally started to gain some mass. I'll race ya to a 50lb gain.

Medium avatar

(39831)

on March 12, 2012
at 07:11 PM

Well, the lifting would necessitate a greater protein intake to maintain nitrogen balance. If you're not creating physical demands for your body, it would have no reason to engage in the energetically costly process of building and maintaining muscle. You really need to give it a compelling argument.

Medium avatar

(39831)

on March 13, 2012
at 12:04 AM

Dietary restriction of various things, food in general principal among them, alongside an absence of sufficient mechanical strain is exactly what I would expect to prevent gains in LBM.

De267f213b375efca5da07890e5efc25

(3747)

on March 12, 2012
at 06:40 PM

Yeah if I start exercising regularly could be a good option. For the moment I'm sticking to ~.5lb/day as it is recommendation by two Paleo authors for longevity.

De267f213b375efca5da07890e5efc25

(3747)

on March 12, 2012
at 11:41 PM

Good point. I would like to take advantage of intermittent fasting but it's just hard to do when you can't replenish your fat stores after burning them.

742ff8ba4ff55e84593ede14ac1c3cab

(3536)

on March 13, 2012
at 12:09 AM

I'm up for the race. I need to gain me some mass. I have tried super high fat and high carb but lost too much weight on both eating close to 4000 calories.

0
Da8e709acde269e8b8bfbc09d1737841

(1906)

on March 13, 2012
at 06:55 PM

I've been a hard-gainer my whole life as well. and friends would always be amazed at how I couldn't gain weight despite the quantities (and types) of food I ate. Paleo didn't help, as I actually shed a few pounds when I started.

The only thing that has helped in the last year is doing a weight-lifting program like Stronglifts or Starting Strength. When I stick to the protocol, I do eat more than I did before, and gain weight accordingly. When I slack on the program, so does my weight gain.

0
345c1755efe005edd162b770dc6fb821

(8767)

on March 12, 2012
at 05:48 PM

I'll just share my experience here because I'm at the same point as you right now. I started Paleo just over 15 months ago because I couldn't loose weight and I was 30lbs over weight and also very sick from food allergies.

Finally about 3 months in started to shed the weight and really melting the fat off, about 10 months into it I was at my 'normal' weight but then suddenly I couldn't stop shedding the weight and I was getting pretty gangly looking. Although I felt great in general.

I started loosing too much so I had no choice but to start adding in things like potatoes, small amts of sweet potatoes, occassionally white rice, found I could tolerate occassional quiona and quiona pasta. This helped and now I'm holding (took me about 2 months). Oh, I did find a almost pure haagendaz vanilla ice cream and had about a 1/4 c every 2nd day. (I'm not off dairy completely, and I've also added in home fermented sour cream and use some heavy cream in sauces and use ghee)

I have problems handling large amts of fat so adding in coconut milk/cream/flakes/fat, avocados could only be tolerated in small amounts and in rotation. I also couldn't get enough calories to make a difference, I seemed to finally be a metabolic burning machine, and this without any exercise other than walking the dog 3-4 times a day around the tiny park by my apartment.

I don't have thyroid issues, I do have issues staying hydrated in general, but other than some occassional IBS and food allergies (which I avoid eating those things), I am of decent health.

So perhaps if you are well in general try adding in some of the more 'starchier' foods over a few days (look for things that are dense so you won't need to eat large portions), one at a time and see if they agree, then start looking for more. Over time perhaps this will help. This worked for me, but everyone is different!!

De267f213b375efca5da07890e5efc25

(3747)

on March 12, 2012
at 11:40 PM

My concern with starches has been that the blood sugar spikes cause other problems, like autoimmune disorders and insulin sensitivity (even in a healthy weight person).

345c1755efe005edd162b770dc6fb821

(8767)

on March 13, 2012
at 03:35 PM

i do agree with your concerns, for that reason i dont do alot of sweet potatoes or rice, i add small portions and rotate food, but when you are loosing weight too fast you have to find soemthing that will work and wont do more harm, I was on constant look out for side effects but in all honesty, in moderation seems to be the key (for me at least!). Potatoes and carrots w/o the skins in a variety of ways is a good combo that didnt cause insulin spikes for me.

0
F4225d2219f7ca44bf62c4209ce7b5f9

on March 12, 2012
at 05:34 PM

Not really paleo by definition but GOMAD (Gallon Of Milk A Day) is touted as an easy way to gain weight. The idea that you drink an extra gallon of milk a day on top of your normal foods. This you will find it easily googleable online, just one option you can look at. Might be slightly better than going SAD and spiking your insulin(fat store hormone) levels with white bread and rice, than gorging a ton of food like sumos do

Ccacf7567273244733bc991af4ac42ed

(5198)

on March 12, 2012
at 06:53 PM

Not really the same as real milk no, although coconut milk is a great way to get in calories when you can't seem to eat more.

F1b39d4f620876330312f4925bd51900

(4090)

on March 12, 2012
at 05:40 PM

I can only gain weight by drinking a ton of milk! (Also I gain acne, constipation, and GI distress!) I did lose all the weight once I stopped drinking a ton of milk though.

De267f213b375efca5da07890e5efc25

(3747)

on March 12, 2012
at 06:39 PM

Thanks for the suggestion but I avoid dairy for the most part. Maybe coconut milk? Seems like such a waste to take in so many calories without better nutrition, no?

0
3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on March 12, 2012
at 05:27 PM

Does not have to be simply genetic, and I would seriously doubt a thyroid issue. Quite possible you programmed yourself early on to be running at this rate and are just fortunate enough not to be horribly effected by the SAD of your past (yet, 31 really isn't all that old :).

General activity level does a lot more than many give it credit for. Just living life instead of resting your rump counts for a lot. There is no reason you should be gaining 1lb a year anyhow unless you are actually trying to increase lean mass. Exercising and increased calories will do that to an extent.

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