A few months ago I was working with a group of five women who wanted to gain weight in a safe and healthy way. This was not a typical group, since most people in North America are trying to lose weight. So those who are genuinely trying to put on a few pounds often find very few options and alternatives. We've heard about Hollywood stars filling up on donuts, processed foods and junk foods to gain weight for a movie role, essentially the same way that most people end up putting on pounds.
Thankfully, the ladies in my group decided that loading up on calories for the sake of gaining weight was just as counterproductive as starving for the sake of losing weight. They wanted calorie-rich – but also nutrient-rich foods – nurturing knowledge, loving support and accountability. This became a perfect recipe for their weight-gain goals.
Our main goal was to consume foods packed with minerals vitamins, enzymes, phytochemicals and, yes, calories, all while supporting their digestion and proper elimination. Here are the basic premises we used to reach our weight-gain goals:
We packed our breakfast smoothies:
In addition to leafy greens and up to 1 cup of fruit, our morning smoothies always included healthy fats like a ½ an avocado, flax seed oil and walnuts. We also used hemp or coconut milk and occasionally, rice protein powder. Each smoothie was about 650 calories.
We used natural herbal supplements.
Alfalfa, fenugreek and gentian help increase stomach acids and saliva, and they stimulate appetite.
We didn’t eat every 2-3 hours.
We allowed our foods to leave our stomachs and be fully digested before eating again. Every day, we had four meals for a minimum of 3,500 calories per day. Each dish had an ample amount of leafy greens and a whole grain like brown rice, quinoa or a single lean protein like fish. We also ate root vegetables like taro, yucca and sweet potatoes for lunch and dinner.
We packed in the healthy oils.
Coconut oil, a whole avocado, 2-3 tablespoons of nut butters or hummus (depending on the recipe) were consumed in every meal.
Every meal started with a hearty cup of soup made with slowed-cooked lentils or split peas. These hearty soups are dense in calories, yet aren't very filling, allowing the ladies to add calories with a main dish
We shook it up.
Yoga and dancing were our favorite workout routines. This allowed us to get all the amazing benefits of exercise and maintain or grow muscle without burning too many calories
We focused on the end results.
We created a weekly routine that included thanking our bodies and writing a love letter to ourselves for our positive results. This was an even more powerful tool than the dietary plan as it allowed us to see the experience as a positive one that created amazing outcomes.