I’m not usually one to do serious posts on Mondays, but this one has been sitting around for a while and it’s on my mind. I’ve also had some people send me questions about it lately. Finally, the light hasn’t been cooperating with me for pictures lately. I intend to come back with a lighter post and (hopefully) a chocolate-y recipe for you on Wednesday!
We’ve been over the fact that I’m skinny, and we’ve been over the fact that I don’t particularly want to be this skinny. And I think it’s clear that I freaking adore food. Like, I love everything about food. So, not being skinny should be easy-peasy, yeah? Eat all the things and watch the weight pile on, and ta-da! Problem solved.
It’s not always easy.
Don’t roll your eyes and snort in my general direction, but I can eat a whole lot and gain zero pounds. Or maybe two or three pounds, but that doesn’t do a whole lot over a few years. At least, not for my height. And also, eating a lot isn’t always easy – for two reasons. First, your stomach does have a limit. You can stretch it a lot and go to bed at night feeling pretty physically full (and I often do), but there are still some days were you have to eat less than others.
Second, sometimes you will probably feel ridiculous. Huh? Yes. On a day when I do a quick tally and realize I’ve enjoyed 4,000 calories or more, sometimes I dive deep into my own head and feel a little crazy. I mean, a standard nutrition label is designed for someone meant to consume 2,000 calories each day. And that’s “average”. So when I consume “multiple days” of food for an “average” person’s day and I weigh less than the average person of my height, I feel all sorts of wrong. I’m not, but I sometimes feel that way.
I think I used to believe that there was no way I could need X calories. One day, my body would just start putting on weight while eating my usual amount, with a little more thrown in here and there if I was hungry. Right? Uh, that’s not how that works. To gain weight, whether it’s fat or muscle, you need to eat more and do it consistently. And then you probably need to eat even more than “more”. But how?
Don’t think about it.
This is the way to get over the mental hurdle for me. I make eating automatic. If I’m hungry, I eat. If I think I’m hungry, I eat. And if I’m not full, I eat. There’s a fine line here between eating because you’re bored and eating because you really need food, and I’ve absolutely crossed it plenty of times. But regardless of why exactly you eat, if you need to gain weight, it’s safe to assume you need some food, so I try to let my thoughts end there.
None of that is to say I don’t think about nutrition and what makes me feel good, though. If you’re gaining weight for health reasons, you do ultimately want to be and feel healthier. Most of the time, processed food doesn’t make me feel great, so I try not to eat a whole lot of it. However, I can eat quite a lot of trail mix, nut butter, sweet potatoes, fruit, etc. and feel fine. Those calories add up, too.
Don’t count (too much).
Calorie counting is pretty heavily debated by, well, everyone. Should you or shouldn’t you? It depends on you and your mindset, but for me it’s helpful to make sure I hit a minimum. I’m a type-A numbers freak, and I find that if I do much more, I get a little obsessive. After that minimum, I keep eating if I’m hungry, but I don’t force it. Usually, I’m hungry enough for at least a little more, and it all helps.
If you’ve been trying to gain weight for any period of time, you’ve heard a lot of these, but here’s what I tend to do.
Add toppings. I like smoothie bowls better than smoothies for two reasons: texture and toppings.
The toppings are what matter here. You can add extra calories by sprinkling smoothies with nut butter, nuts, coconut, and fruit. You can bump up a salad’s calories by adding seeds, fruit, and/or a good dressing. These are the types of things that don’t take up a ton of real estate in your stomach, but they give you good bang for your caloric buck.
Eat before bed. Going to bed stuffed is a surefire way for me to sleep terribly. But eating a snack that fills me up both helps me sleep and helps me cram in some extra calories at the end of the day. Sometimes I even realize I’m way hungrier than I thought, so I go back for even more.
Eat early. If I’m working out right after I get up, I don’t usually eat beforehand unless I’m really hungry. Just a personal preference. However, if I’m waiting a bit to work out, I find that eating an early breakfast keeps me hungrier throughout the day.
Add what feels right. I can eat a lot of fat, largely in the forms of nuts and avocados, and my stomach can deal with it. I can’t eat a ton of bread and pasta and feel the same way. So, I’m not going to tell you to add handful after handful of nuts to your diet if your body doesn’t like fat (but please send them my way!). If a giant bowl of pasta works for you, have at it. You learn what works for YOU.
Don’t beat yourself up.
If, like me, you’re trying to gain weight for health in addition to aesthetics, stressing out about it isn’t going to make you any healthier. Sometimes, I eat what’s probably “too much” even for me. Sometimes, I probably don’t eat quite enough. I’m a perfectionist, so I hate both of these, but I try to roll with it. It all hopefully balances out in the end.How to eat more & feeling better about it. #fitfluential #bgbcommunity Click To Tweet
Calorie counting: yay or nay?
Are you a perfectionist or are you one of the lucky laid-back ones?
Did you have a good weekend?