What can I eat to gain weight and have energy?
posted by whalebreath to Health & Fitness (27 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I'm looking for suggestions, recipes or advice on things I can do to gain weight and have a more constant level of energy throughout the day. Searching for information on weight gain for females on the internet reveals a barren desert of information. The information I do find seems too complex and involves a whole lot of weight train. Mefites, can you help me up my weight and energy level?
I'm a 26 year old female, 5'6, and I weight 112 pounds. This is less than ideal for me, simply for aesthetic reasons (I don't think I'm unhealthily underweight). I have an insanely fast metabolism, and it seems that no matter how much or what I eat, I just can't keep any weight on. A couple of years ago, when I was doing ballet regularly, I was up to almost 125lbs and really happy at that weight. I think a lot of it was probably muscle mass in my legs, which has since atrophied. I slowly went down to about 115, and then I started an SSRI a year ago (Lexapro). Since then I dropped to 108 pounds, which was distressing for me (10% of my body weight!) and after working really hard to eat a lot in the past few months I've made it back up to 112. I've always had a healthy appetite, but it seems that the Lexapro has suppressed it a bit. I have trouble findnig things that seem appetizing, and I just don't seem to get as hungry as I used to. I've talked to my psychiatrist about this but he doesn't seem very concerned about the weight loss.
In addition, I think I might be a wee bit hypoglycemic. I was diagnosed as such in high school, but never through any specific tests, just through a doctor's opinion after hearing about my energy levels. I'm tired much of the time, and experience significant crashes that are hard to stay awake through. I'm a student and try to keep as much of a schedule as possible, which usually entails going to bed around 11 and waking up around 7. I often fall asleep in class or am too tired to focus, which is really frustrating. I often get tired immediately after eating.
All this being said, I'm not very diligent or conscientous about feeding myself. I'm extremely busy and preparing meals often seems too time consuming and somewhat overwhelming. I can never think of what to eat, and if I can (tacos! salmon!) it just seems like way too much time and energy to make it. I often end up eating out (Subway) or ordering in (pizza). On top of this, I was a vegetarian for most of my adult life up until now, and I'm completely intimidated/clueless about cooking meat, although I'd like to incorporate more meat into my diet for the weight gain/energy factors. However, I do have some ethical guilt left over about eating meat, and so it's hard for me to bring myself to buy chicken at the grocery store when I think about how it was probably raised.
I've tried preparing food ahead of time and freezing it (ex stuffed peppers) and this has worked moderately well, but I don't get around to doing it very often, and never know what/how to make anything. I've tried packing lunches to bring to school (sandwiches, almonds, fruit), and I will end up eating sandwiches, but the fruit and the almonds often go to waste. This is because I seem to always only feel like eating warm, mushy, and comforting foods. I can pack an apple, but the chances I will actually eat it are very slim. If I bring a knife and some peanut butter then the chances go up a little higher. Same thing with oranges. They just seem so cold, and as ridiculously lazy as it sounds, I never feel like peeling them (mess, juice, etc). My favourite foods include lasagna, pasta, Mexican foods, Shepard's pie, and anything baked with cheese. Much of my diet right now consists of carbs and sugar as these seem to be the only things that I crave/seem appetizing.
I'm not particularly active. I walk my dog for about an hour a day, and when school is not so busy I rock climb. I used to do ballet but no longer have the money/time, and in the summer I bike. I do take a lot of naps, and find it very difficult to not gravitate towards my bed constantly. I will often wake up in the morning, take the dog for a walk, then get back in bed for a few hours, then have a nap later that day. I don't drink very much alcohol (twice a month maybe), and don't smoke except for when I'm drinking. I drink a coffee every morning and a tea every afternoon.
I don't have body issues besides wanting to be a little curvier. My legs just seem so skinny. I'm a lesbian and attracted to curvier women, and I guess that's why I idealize that more than the super-skinny ideal set forth by the media. I don't, however, want to get into counting calories in order to try to increase my caloric intake (which is what is recommended on a lot of websites). I tend towards perfectionism and also get a little obsessed with routines and numbers, and worry that starting to keep track of calories would become some kind of unhealthy obsession. Right now I have no idea what the caloric value of most food is, and I don't want to know that information.
I've considered protein shakes but am not quite sure how to incorporate them into my diet/routine. I guess I am also a little intimidated by all the different varieties of them.
I am a student, and sometimes grocery shopping is anxiety-provoking because of the cost of food. Also, I find that I never get very much at the grocery store because I try to avoid packaged/processed foods. I end up getting fruit, milk, yogurt, cheese, hummus, and bread. A couple months ago I decided to start letting myself buy processed food so that I'd eat more (since I was always ordering pizza anyways) and so I bought things like fish sticks and frozen pizzas. That did help, but I don't want that to be a long term solution.
I'm looking for general insight into my condition/problems, as well as simple solutions for how to start eating more, and what to eat to gain weight and have more energy. I know that cardio is an important aspect to having energy, but I'm scared that doing cardio would make me lose even more weight.
I'm tired of being skinny and tired! Mefites, what can I eat?