As with most women, my weight has fluctuated throughout the years. Unlike most women, that fluctuation is about losing weight, rather than gaining weight. I have always had a very fast metabolism, and whereas most women (especially those over 35) would be watching their calories, I look forward to them. In order to stay at my ideal weight, I have to ingest about 3500 calories a day, when exercising daily, and 2500 calories when taking a break from physical fitness. I snack a lot and enjoy big starchy meals, and when I do gain weight, it all goes in just the right places. My body is perfectly proportioned and I never find myself with a fat stomach or arms. It's all hips, thighs, butt, and breasts for me and, unlike some women, I love being round and plump, soft yet fit.
During times of extreme stress and depression, however, I tend to stop eating and will shed a pound a day until my usual weight of 135 pounds withers away to 120 pounds or less. Whiles some women would give anything to be 120 pounds, and look great at that weight, its just too thin for my liking. I am more comfortable hovering around 135 pounds and even closer to 140 pounds. This becomes impossible when sadness and stress cuts my appetite down. It hadn't dealt with this sort of weight loss since about 2011, but found myself in an abusive relationship that caused me to shut down and lose over 10 pounds between late 2015 and early 2016. But, when I was ready to take my life and my weight back, I knew just what to do.
My Top 6 Weight Gain Habits:
- Add and Increase Dairy Intake: Milk is not good for you; it promotes music in the body, which creates all sorts of problems, including the incubation of sicknesses like the flu and common cold. So, I don't drink milk or eat milk based ice cream, cream cheese, sour cream, etc. Instead, my family and I consume almond milk. I use butter sparingly and I love cheese, but limit myself to one serving a month. I eat coconut milk ice cream and find other alternatives to milk. I have been doing this since 2007 and have only been sick when diverting from this plan. However, when putting on weight, I need the fat found in whole milk and mostly, cream. So, I eat a lot of full fat, cream based ice cream. This is easy and fun to do in the summer time, especially. When having my favorite flavor, I could eat a whole pint in one sitting. It's a lot, but it works. I put cheese on everything, dip everything in sour cream, smear cream cheese on my toast, and eat a lot of pasta in creamy sauces. The life saver is always homemade macaroni and cheese. I make it by the boat load and eat it all day, everyday for weeks.
- Add and Increase Healthy Fats: I also added more avocados, nuts, and nut butters to my diet. I added sliced avocado to the side of every dish, with a sprinkle of pink sea salt and fresh cracked pepper. Try nut butters on apples and celery sticks, or go hard core and try my Grilled Cookie Butter and Banana Sandwich. If you can't find cookie butter, nut better is just fine. Also, I added olive oil to everything, even dipping a fresh baguette in olive oil seasoned with fresh pepper and balsamic vinegar.
- Ditch All That Water: Now, I am a lover of and advocate for water. I usually drink about 2 liters each day but, while working to gain weight, I cut my water consumption down to 2 liters every 2 days. Instead, I incorporated thick, rich smoothies made with avocados, nut butters, whole milk or half and half, cottage cheese, and full fat yogurt. I also drank bottled juices like cranberry, lemonade, and orange, which I would never normally do.
- Eat Right Before Bed: I ate all day but was sure to eat within an hour of going to bed. This way, I didn't burn those calories and when I go to bed with a full stomach, I usually wake up famished.
- Sugary Snacks: I go hard on the donuts, cookies, and cakes when I'm gaining weight. Again, under normal circumstances, I don't even buy sugar for my kitchen, but when I'm trying to put weight on and put it on quickly, it's time to beef up my sugar intake.
- No Exercise: I have seen recommendations that you work out when trying to gain weight. This has never worked for me until after I have put on a significant amount of weight. When I am at a low weight, around 120 pounds, working out just burns too many calories and jump starts my already over active metabolism. What I need to do is slow that sucker down! So, I do not exercise or do much moving around until after I have reached at least 130 pounds. Then, I pack on the next 5 to 8 pounds by gaining muscle mass in the gym while cleaning up my diet.
The entire process, for me, takes only 3 to 4 weeks to put 10 to 15 pounds, before getting back to daily workouts. Everyone's body is different and some may take longer or a shorter period of time to gain weight, if they do at all. Also, some of you may have preexisting health conditions that will not allow you to go crazy with the sugar, cease exercising, or ingest so much dairy. Please be sure to check with your doctor. Lastly, not everyone gains weight in the same places. If all your weight gain migrates to your tummy, this is not a good idea for you. Knowing your body is key and having access to professional advice is an added bonus.
My next post will focus on what I do to detox from all the cheese and sugar I ingest during my weight gain journey. By the end of it, I find myself overwrought with mucus, so much so that I can't have a good cry without not being able to breathe for the next 2 hours. After I have gained the weight back, its time to get into shape, tone my body, and get rid of all the excess mucus, and the way I do that is simple and inexpensive.