This, sadly, was not said to me. My weight seems to be firmly entrenched 10-20 pounds heavier than I’d ideally like it to be. I don’t know if it’s hormones, lifestyle factors, or a need for further diet tweaks that is stopping me from losing those last few pounds (or all of the above). And I know ALOT of us deal with this same issue. I am trying some new ideas to get beyond this body weight set-point, but this is a topic for a future post; I am off on a tangent.
No, it wasn’t anyone else who said those words to me. I said them. I said them to my husband. And then, I realized what I was saying. Holy [expletive deleted], I can see my husband’s ribs! Now, my husband has always been naturally thin. He doesn’t need to lose weight, he needs to gain it (preferably in the form of muscle). But all this healthy paleo food that I’m cooking (which tends to be on the low-carb side to help me reach my goals) seems to have resulted in my husband losing a couple of pounds (and this is after he lost weight with an illness a year and a half ago that he never regained and after he lost weight with his hernia repair last December which he never regained). He just plain old isn’t eating enough. He is lazy when it comes to preparing his own breakfast and packing his lunch. He doesn’t have a big appetite (he probably is eating too low carb for what his goals are). But my sudden realization has sparked some conversation about ways that he can eat more.
So, what do you do if you want to gain weight on a paleo diet? A paleo diet already focusses on food quality, so really, the most important thing is to just eat more. How much more? Well, weight gain should be slow and steady so that hormones aren’t completely disrupted. With my husband, I’m aiming for 25% more (we’ll evaluate in a month or two). If you’re looking to gain weight from a plateau, 10% would be a better place to start. The biggest challenge for my husband is that he just isn’t that hungry.
So, what do you do if you just aren’t that hungry? Increase your carbs. Yes, I said more carbs, but I don’t mean go nuts and start eating tons of refined sugar. For my husband, we’re aiming for 3-4 pieces of fruit per day (because more fructose stimulates appetite) and at least 1 big serving of a starchy vegetable. Hopefully that should help him down those bigger servings at meals.
So, where should those extra calories come from? From everywhere. A bigger serving of everything, every time you eat. We are tackling this with some specific “rules”. For breakfast, we are trying smoothies, since that’s the easiest (and quickest to prepare) way to incorporate a lot of nutrition (and calories) in one easy to consume package (and incidentally, smoothies are not a great food if you are trying to lose weight). The shake I made for him this morning contained:
- 3 pastured eggs,
- 1 cup homemade coconut milk (full-fat)
- 1 large spoon almond butter (I would guess 2-3 Tbsp)
- 1 banana
- About 2 Tbsp frozen chopped spinach
I put everything except the banana into the large travel cup for my Magic Bullet and put it in the fridge for him the night before. In the morning, he just had to peel a banana, add it to the cup, blend it for 15 seconds and that was it. Yummy! Actually, my 5-year old has decided that she likes these too! My husband is adding a mid-morning snack (which he didn’t eat before) of homemade trail mix. For lunch, my husband is either packing himself a healthy portion of leftovers from supper the night before or two sandwiches on paleo bread along with some fruit, some veggies and a paleo granola bar or muffin. I am also putting more food on his plate at supper, including a starchy vegetable.
This seems like a pretty good amount for my husband to eat. We’ll see how it works. My husband has also recommitted to doing more exercise, including some strength training around the house so that the weight he puts on is more likely to be muscle. I am optimistic that this will do the trick!