I had a baby almost a year ago. I weighed 110 pounds before being pregnant and ended at 150 pounds. Since having my son, my weight has dropped to 99 pounds. I have recently bought a weight gainer supplement and have been increasing my calories. Since doing this I have noticed that I am very bloated. Is this normal and will it pass? Also what tips can you give me to achieve my weight gaining goals. I hope to be back up to between 106 to 110 pounds.
I recommend focusing more on real, nutrient dense food versus weight gainer supplements. Most supplements that are considered “weight gainers” are usually loaded with tons of sugar, carbs and fat in order to get the calorie level up and many of these supplements contain cheap fillers which can cause negative side effects. The issue with bloating is very common with weight gainer supplements due to the high levels of sodium they contain which results in retaining excess water.
Your best route is to choose 100% whole foods and the key to gaining weight is eating highly dense caloric foods that are nutrient packed. Healthy fats are an easy way to add extra calories to your diet. Here are a few healthy fats to include in your diet:
- Olive oil (cook with it and pour on salads)
- Nuts (almonds and walnuts are very healthy)
- Flaxseed oil (add to your oatmeal or smoothies)
- Peanut butter (100% all natural with no sugar added)
Fat contains more than twice the calories per gram compared to both carbohydrates and protein (9 calories per gram for fat versus 4 calories per gram for carbs and protein), so it should be pretty easy to add an additional 500 to 1,000 calories to your diet each day. If you like nuts, just add a handful of them to each meal throughout the day for a nice spike of 200-300 calories on top of your regular meal. If you like eating salads, try toasting a big handful of almonds in the oven for a few minutes and then sprinkle them on top of your salad. Toasted almonds taste amazing and they are a great addition to any salad to add extra flavor. You can also prepare your veggies (broccoli, red onions, mushrooms, etc.) by tossing them in a bowl with 2-3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil along with some Italian seasoning and fresh ground black pepper. Put your veggies on a baking dish and roast them in the oven at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes and enjoy. If you like protein shakes, try adding 1-2 spoons of all 100% all natural peanut butter to them for some extra calories and healthy fats. Since fat is so calorically dense, it’s really the best “bang for your buck” when it comes to adding extra nutrient dense calories to your diet.
Along with fat, make sure to keep your protein levels high in order to gain weight and rebuild muscle tissue. Focus on 0.5 to 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight depending on your fitness level (more if you are doing heavy weight training). Try to always include a protein source at each meal and focus on 5-6 meals per day. Since you currently weigh around 100 pounds, your protein goal should be between 50-100 total grams of protein per day divided up evenly into 5-6 meals. This will help you build muscle mass and assist in gaining weight. Good protein sources include chicken, turkey, steak, seafood and eggs.
Carbs are also important for gaining weight, so include nutrient dense sources such as brown rice, whole wheat bread, yams, oatmeal and whole wheat pasta. A perfect weight gaining meal would be 1-2 cups of brown rice with 4-6 ounces of chicken breast, 2 cups of broccoli and a handful of almonds. If you’re making a stir fry, you can just add everything into your wok (except the rice) along with 1-2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and cook up a quick meal in a matter of minutes. It’s also very convenient to pre-cook your food which will come in super handy when you are rushed and need a quick meal. A great tip is to bake 8-10 yams or sweet potatoes, put them in Tupperware and keep them in your fridge for easy access. Since it takes around 1 hour to bake them, it’s always really convenient to just do a big batch and have them on hand when it’s time to eat. This is also great to do with brown rice using a rice cooker.
Along with your diet, the exercise plan you choose is very important for gaining weight and reaching your overall goal. Since you are only about 100 pounds and have trouble gaining weight, it sounds like you have a fast metabolism and easily burn a lot of calories at rest. Remember that exercise burns calories, so you need to choose the type of exercise carefully when trying to pack on a few extra pounds. You should probably cut out all cardio and focus mainly on weight training for your main source of exercise. Cardio is mainly used to burn calories which will work against you when trying to add some extra weight to your physique. If you really like doing cardio and don’t want to cut it out completely, then you probably want to stay away from really high intense cardio exercises such as running, sprints and jumping rope. Choose more steady state and low intensity exercises like the stationary bike and walking on the treadmill which will still give you the cardiovascular benefits without burning too many overall calories.