Sunday, July 30, 2017

Trying to Gain Weight When Nothing Else Seems to Work

In a world where it seems most people are trying to lose weight or stick to a diet to prevent themselves from gaining weight, it may be odd when someone says they are actually trying to gain weight. But for many people like myself who have always been very skinny, it can be very hard to gain or even maintain weight.

Right now I weigh 105 lbs at a height of 5'7''. For a man in his mid 30's, this puts my BMI (body mass index) at 16.4 which is very under weight. My goal is to get to about 120 which will bring it into the "Normal" range.

To accomplish this goal, many people will say, “Just eat more food!”, but to someone like myself, this is easier said than done. I eat 3 meals a day and always look to eat foods that are high in calories yet healthy at the same time. I try to add extra things to each meal not for taste, but to just to get more calories. I rarely feel hungry because I usually eat before I even get to that point.

The trouble is I tend to get full very easily. 500 calories of food in a meal will fill me up to where I do not want to eat anymore. In order to gain weight, I have to get up to about 750 calories or more per meal. To some people this may seem like a piece of cake, but trying to force yourself to eat more than you want to at every meal is not fun. It really becomes work.

I find, by eating too much, it ends up making me feel physically uncomfortable and sometimes even sick to the point where the food may have trouble getting digested and absorbed properly. Also I find that if I eat more in one meal, I am less hungry on the next meal, so it ends up just evening out.

Exercise in combination with eating more is also recommended to help gain weight. Years ago I was very active with cardio exercise but these days, I just walk, lift free weights, and do calisthenics like pull ups, push ups, squats, and sit ups. I try to do these exercises daily but never really do enough where I am sore the next day.

It seems like it has been about 10 years since I have been wanting to gain weight yet I never made any progress. In fact, I am probably at my lowest weight I have been at in a long time. Every once in a while I would try to keep track of calories for a few days, but never really stuck with it.

Starting now, I have decided to take a more dedicated approach to this issue. I have signed up on a calorie tracking website that makes it easy to keep track of your calorie intake each day. I have done the calculations so I know how much is needed to gain 1 pound per week. If I can stick to the program, I should be able to reach my goal of 120 lbs in about 4 months.

Doing the calculations really puts it into perspective that it is going to be no easy task. It will take hard work, discipline, and planning to achieve this goal, but I am going to try to make it work.

I also took some “before” pictures as extra motivation to compare with the final results that should hopefully show a difference in a few months time. I am also posting about the journey here on the blog and will try to post updates about the progress and final results.

Are you someone who is now or has struggled with gaining weight in the past? Feel free to comment below on your experience or any tips you may have that can help others in the same situation.

2 Week Update:  
I have been keeping track of my food with a calorie tracker aiming for about 2200 calories a day which is supposed to add about 1 pound per week. It is hard to get an exact calculation on most of the food so I have been estimating and for most of the days I have been getting pretty close to the target amount.

At this point I ideally I should be up 2 pounds but I just weighed myself and I am almost the same weight as when I started 2 weeks ago. This is pretty disappointing considering how much work it is to document everything you eat and try to eat more food than you might like just to reach a calorie goal.

It is possible I was over estimating some of the amounts of food or maybe I actually need to eat more like 2400 calories a day in order to start gaining weight. I guess I will try to increase my calorie amount a little more to see if any improvement can be made. It will be tough because I feel like I am already eating a lot as it is. We'll see how it goes.

4 Week Update:
The past 2 weeks I did not keep track of calories but just tried to do a good job of eating enough at each meal. I'm up about 1 pound since the last update which is not bad considering I have not been keeping track of the calories.

Update 12-7-17:  
I had stopped keeping track for several weeks and I started getting too low in weight again so I decided I better keep track of the calories again to make sure I am getting enough. My goal is 2400 a day. Hoping to make some progress if I can stick with it.

Update: 1-6-18: I have managed to keep track of calories for about a month. I think I did ok for most days but was usually a bit under the 2400 goal each day. Weight is about the same which is pretty disappointing considering I have been keeping track of calories every day to make sure I am getting enough food. Not really sure what to do at this point other than to try to keep eating more.

Update: 1-29-18: I have been keeping track of calories for about 60 days with a goal of 2400 calories a day. Based on the calculations, I should be gaining about 1 lb a week and should be up about 8 lbs by now. Unfortunately after weighing myself recently, I am basically at the same weight if not a little less than when I started.

Again this is very discouraging considering I have been making the effort to document everything I have eaten for the past 2 months. I will say that most of the days I did not quite get to the 2400 calorie goal, but I think I have been doing well enough where I should have at least gained a few pounds by now. I will probably bring it up next time I go to the doctor to see in case they have any other ideas or reasons why I am not gaining weight.

Update: 5-3-18: 
I'm still keeping track of calories and by looking at the average totals of my history, I found I was averaging around 2000 per day and pretty much stayed at the same weight. This is interesting because when I put in my metrics and goal weight, it estimated that I needed a few hundred less than this to maintain weight. This means that my body tends to burn more calories per day than the estimate.

This is good information to know and it is something everyone should know when they are trying to gain or lose weight. You cannot just go by what the computer estimates for you. You have to actually track it yourself to get the correct information to learn how much calories you need per day to maintain weight.

I will continue to keep track of calories and still try to exceed this amount each day in order to gain weight slowly over time.

Update 8-31-19:  
It's been 2 years since I started this goal of gaining weight. Unfortunately I still have not made any progress, in fact I am pretty much the same weight if not a little less than I was 2 years ago. I am still in the habit of keeping track of all my calories each day and I am averaging around 2,000 calories a day.

From these results, I can see I still need to eat more each day if I expect to gain any weight. I want to, but for some reason it just seems very hard to get more calories. I already eat more than I want to each day. I try to stick to high calorie foods and try to fit in extra snacks when possible. I think it is just a combination of lack of appetite combined with a high rate of calories burned per day that is making it so difficult to gain weight.

Despite the lack of progress over the past 2 years, I will stick with this goal of trying to gain weight.

Update 4-24-20: 
So it's been about 3 years and I am about the exact same weight as when I started. After years of keeping track of calories, I finally got tired of it so now I do not keep track of them anymore. At this point I have a pretty good understanding of how many calories I am getting each day without having to document them.

However without keeping track, it is easy to fall behind because naturally I do not eat as many calories as I would need in order to make any change, so I have to be mindful of this and make sure I am eating enough each day. At this point I don't really see any changes happening any time soon, but I will continue to monitor my weight. 

Update 12-10-21:
It's been about 4 1/2 years having the same goal of trying to gain weight and as of now I am actually a few pounds lower than where I started. This goal has proven to be a lot harder than expected. I specifically try to eat high calorie foods and eat more food than I want and it still does not work. I think it may be a combination of still not eating enough food and a metabolism that uses up energy fast.

I mean I will weigh myself on the scale and be disappointed because the weight is low. So I will then eat a snack to try to gain a little weight. Then I get on the scale again and my weight will be even lower than before I ate a snack! Its like my body burns calories faster than it can consume them. 

I am still sticking with it. My plan now is to be very calculated about when I eat food. I am going to try to eat 4 meals a day as evenly spaced out as possible throughout the day.I'm aiming for about 600 calories per meal which should end up being 2400 per day. It is hard because it seems like I am still full when it is time to eat another meal. I will do my best and see if any progress is made.


  1. I have been trying to put weight on for 50 years since I was 17 weighing a mere 9 stone , and guess what , I am now 67 and weigh - you guessed right - exactly 9 stone.
    I would recommend don't try to become something , like me , you may never achieve , and just be who you are ,I am sure the people around you don't look at you and say there`s the skinny bloke - they like you for being you.
    Enjoy being YOU.

    1. Thank you for the feedback! I was thinking something similar that maybe the body is just trying to keep itself around a certain weight and that if you eat more calories, the body just burns more calories to maintain a certain composition. I guess it is just frustrating when people say you just have to eat more to gain weight and it seems like something that should be achievable.

      I'm not too obsessed over it and really I don't mind being skinny, it's just a goal I set and would like to see if it can be done.