TIPS: How to Put on Weight

“Oh, you get to try and put ON weight? How lucky are you?”

It’s a fair comment, and one I make myself to break the ice when I am explaining my current health situation. Being able to eat what you want sounds like a dream doesn’t it? The trouble is, first of all, if you need to put on weight, it’s probably because of a pretty nasty ongoing health problem, or run of bad health, and secondly, there seems to be ZERO advice for anyone wanting to gain.

Time and time again I see articles in magazines about how to lose weight. As much as I get it, I mentioned on my Twitter the other day how much I would like to see some form of article on how to put it on. I recently shared my hospital experience on my blog, and one of the most important things to my recovery is to gain weight. Funnily enough, you’d think hammering down carbonara at 11.22 am on a Thursday would be a surefire way to put on the pounds, but it’s a lot harder than it seems if you haven’t had to do it before. Although I have a long way to go until I am fully recovered, I wanted to share a few tips with you that have helped me along so far in my weight gain journey.

One thing I would like to stress is that I am NOT a medical professional. I am sharing with you tips that have worked for me. If you have lost a significant amount of weight in a short period, you must seek medical advice. 

Get some build-up drinks

When the hospital discharged me, I had Fortisip on prescription, but they were very concentrated and ultimately started making me a bit unwell. Then they changed me to Ensure milkshakes, which also made me fairly unwell, due to my stomach still being quite sensitive. Considering I had them in the hospital and was fine you would think they would be ok, but I have learned in the past few months that you need to listen to what your body tells you. Fortunately, someone recommended Ensure juices to me, which are a lot easier to tolerate. They are quite sweet, but they are ten times easier to get down if you are suffering from appetite loss than the milkshakes are. There are also other shakes on the market that you can buy in powder form and use your milk with if you are lactose intolerant, but the majority of these powders still contain milk protein, which can affect you, so always read the label if you feel going down this route will work for you.

Track your calories

Recently I mentioned using an app to track your vitamins and nutrients in my post about small changes that can make big life improvements, and as I also mentioned there, please do not use calorie counting apps if they are in any way triggering for you. I appreciate how counting calories can be extremely dangerous in certain situations, so please completely avoid this tip if you need to. For my weight gain, I have found using a calorie counting app not only helps me reach my daily and weekly goals with the weight I want to gain, but most of them will also show you macros to show how much protein, carbs, and fat you have had that day. Having recently been on nil by mouth, TPN feed, and then a liquid diet, I’ve had to stick to eating mainly plain carbs for a while, so using an app to track this helps me to be able to ensure I try and add enough protein to my diet also. If you do need to put on weight, it might also be worth tracking your vitamins and nutrients, as you can pick up deficiencies in these with malnutrition. 

Don’t rush it

Tempting as it is to be conscious you need to put on weight and want to eat the entire world, if you have had a long period where your diet hasn’t been standard, solid food, starting slow is best. Again, I feel like this is a good time to reiterate that I am NOT a medical professional. But what I am advising from personal experience is that filling yourself up too much and making yourself unwell is not going to help you put on weight. If you are in recovery from something that has affected your digestive system then little and often is a good way to get your body used to having solid or different food again.

Find ways to sneak in calories

If your appetite isn’t up to much, it’s worth thinking about where you can sneak in calories without it being a great big change to your life. Do you like a cup of tea or two over the course of the day? Well, why not switch to full-fat milk, that will add to the calories (and I think it makes tea taste better, I favour a strong but milky tea in case any of you ever come to make me one). Smoothies are another good way to sneak those calories in. If you follow me on TikTok you will have seen my recent MilkyBar Smoothie Recipe there. Do you like scrambled eggs? Make them with cream instead of milk. Things like this may sound like they are on too much of a small scale to make any difference, but trust me they do add up. 

Base meals around carbs

Who doesn’t love a carb?

Let’s face it, all of the goodies in life are carbs. Pasta, potatoes, rice, and bread, lovely lovely bread. The good news is, if you are actively trying to put some weight on then basing your meals around carbs may help you. Because meat or meat alternatives are usually the most expensive thing in your meal, it’s natural to try and base your meal around that. Especially us Brits, we love the idea of a roast chicken on a Sunday and a fry up here would never be a fry up unless it was bacon and sausages with various extras thrown on of a non-protein variety. Instead of thinking “oh I’ll have chicken with this” try and think of the carb first, so some sort of rice or pasta, and then add in the protein element and any vegetables after. Pasta dishes are especially good because they are just unashamedly pure carbohydrates, and a lot of the time they also have cheese on them. 

Quick life tip; never trust anyone who doesn’t like cheese.

The bottom line

The bottom line here is, if you need to put on some weight because of a medical condition, please be led by your Doctor. I would again like to reiterate I am just telling you what helps me. There are some further tips on the NHS Website, but if your weight loss is sudden and not normal for you get seen by a medical professional immediately.


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