Healthy weight gain: From scrawny to the ‘hulk’
by Sue Kira, Naturopath & Clinical Nutritionist
Client name and identifying information changed
When Bill first came in to see me he had just come back from a trip to India where he caught a tummy bug (Delhi belly) which really wiped him out. Before he left for India he was 65kgs (143 pounds) which was quite light for his 6 foot, normal sized frame. But when he returned he only weighed 60kgs (132 pounds) and there didn’t seem to be much of him apart from skin and bones.
He had been light most of his life, but there was a time when he drank lots of beer and ate loads of junk food and his weight increased to 80kgs. But judging from his old photos, he was rather unhealthy looking with a fat belly which would have increased his risk of diseases.
This time, Bill wanted help to put on weight and re-gain his health, without eating ‘crap’ food and drink.
Initially we needed to sort out his gut disturbance, otherwise any bacteria or parasites that didn’t belong were going to suck all the nutrients out of his diet. To do this we used some herbs and probiotics, and he followed the healing diet for Leaky Gut.
Once all that was sorted, he started on the diet for weight gain which included a breakfast of eggs and nitrate free bacon with gluten free bread (and other options). At mid-morning he enjoyed a green smoothie with coconut oil and dates , which meant he could still get plenty of healthy greens in his diet. The oil helped with extra calories.
Lunch was usually some form of protein like chicken, beef, lamb, turkey or fish with a healthy salad that had plenty of olive oil or aioli mixed with herbs. Mid-afternoon was a snack of one of the protein balls recipes. He ate 4-5 of these and as they were reasonably high calories, this added quite a bit of bulk to his diet plus loads of healthy nutrients.
He often had another snack before dinner and dinner was similar to lunch. Then he topped off the evening with a dessert consisting of coconut yogurt or coconut cream with fresh fruit and nuts.
Along with the diet, Bill joined the gym and worked with a personal trainer on a body building program. He gradually built up his body as his strength returned, his muscles built and his weight stated to increase.
In the first month Bill put on 3kg (6.5lbs), which was a nice steady gain. Over the next two months he put on another 2kg (4.4lbs) per month and then each month after that he put on another 1kg (2.2lbs). Slow but steady and healthy.
Within six months he put on 10kgs and plateaued at this weight. But interestingly, he looked bigger and had more muscles than when he was 80kgs, according to his photos. Bigger in overall bulk, without the fat gut he had before and looking good at 70kgs which suited his body.