How to gain weight seems like a crazy thing to ask for from most women, but not for Suzanne. She’s thin, but not by choice. The combination of genetics and stress allow Suzanne to lose weight almost instantly – something many women hope and wish for. But Suzanne’s story is something worth reading. Let’s work towards loving our bodies the way they are and finding our true identity.
By Suzanne G. Beyer
“She lost 135 pounds,” read the cover of the women’s magazine. Wow! I thought. If I lost 135 pounds, I’d only weigh 10 pounds and wouldn’t be around to tell about it. “Lose 10 pounds in two weeks!” is another attention-grabber I usually see. What I never see is the cover saying, “Five easy steps to gaining 10 pounds in two weeks. I’ve even searched through many women’s magazines looking for such a topic, to no avail.
What I hear, however, is, “Have you lost more weight?” and, “You look awfully thin.” These remarks, although well-meaning I’m sure, make me feel more self-conscious about my weight, or lack thereof. It all stems back to sophomore year in college when a young man on campus said, “You’d look good if you gained some weight.”
I was heartbroken. I knew the previous summer had been particularly rough on my body, with commuting from Staten Island to my job at Columbia University on 116th Street in Manhattan. The commute alone took 1 ½ hours one way, in the sweltering heat of 100 degrees in a subway packed with people.
I lost 23 pounds that summer. At 5 ft. 9 ½ in., my weight fell to a mere 122 pounds. No wonder the young man couldn’t refrain from noticing. Sadly, his comments remain with me today.
My weight plummets when I’m anxious. If there’s a stressful situation approaching, like public speaking, or even an upcoming lifestyle change, I tend to pre-worry. Although I think I’m still eating a lot of both nutritious foods and the occasional junk, the weight falls. It doesn’t seem to matter what or how much I eat.
How to Gain Weight
Unfortunately, I can’t make a meal on cupcakes and fried foods, since my cholesterol is too high. So, that leaves protein and muscle building to maintain a weight that will silence the un-called for comments and will help me learn how to gain weight.
I do believe my tall, thin frame comes from my dad. So, with the combination of genetics and high anxiety, I probably don’t stand a chance to gain a lot of weight. Oh, and if I get sick, or someone in the family dies, there go 5 pounds in a week – guaranteed!
When I was having babies at 36 and 41 years old, my weight slowly increased. At 45 years of age, I weighed 145. At 58 years of age, I weighed 158 – a real record! Sadly, at that time, I noticed my knees and hips ached when I walked around the block. Shooting pains darted through my hips and my stiff knees felt like there were wooden rods inside.
The doctor diagnosed arthritis of the knees and hips. Gads, how was I going to get around with both of those! Her advice? “Knock off 5 pounds!” In my way of thinking, I felt that if I knocked off 5 pounds, well, another 15 pounds coming off would ease the pain even more. The outcome was overwhelming. I not only could walk to the mailbox, but around the block as many times as I wanted. Little did I know, that I wouldn’t be able to gain anything back to fill in the little bit of hanging skin under the arms and the “baggy” knees. I went from feeling active again, to looking – well – thin!
I remember talking to my young hairdresser, Michelle, about being thin, as she, too, is thin. At 5 ft. 11 in. she weighs 135 pounds. She hears the same comments, “You’re too thin. You need to gain some weight.” We laugh together trying to come up with some kind of a come-back to these remarks. Michelle responds with, “You think so?” then changes the subject. I figure the best defense is a good offense, and raise the subject of “thin” before the comments can fly.
How to gain weight: High protein-based diet, five meals a day…
What I’ve discovered is that a high protein-based diet, five meals a day, along with those afternoon milkshakes of yoghurt, bananas, berries and soy protein powder have really helped. As I’m also a water rat, I exercise in the deep end of the pool at least three times a week, and build arm muscles with the use of barbells. What else helps? The purchase of a new, well-fitting outfit that fits my thin frame.
I feel good and I’m proud to report that today I weigh in at 145 pounds.
Susan Davis Allen, Registered Dietician and Evaluation Coordinator at Southwest Wisconsin Technical College offers the following tips to gain weight:
*Make an all-inclusive shopping list. It’s important to have foods on hand in a well-stocked frig and pantry.
*Along with three squares a day, eat a couple of snacks between meals – cheese and crackers, nuts and raisins and hearty milkshakes.
*Sprinkle powdered milk into meatloaf for added calories, protein and calcium.
*Add wheat germ, nuts, beans and cheeses to casseroles.
Davis says, “To gain one pound a week, it takes adding approximately 3500 calories each week or 500 extra calories each day.”
Suzanne G. Beyer serves as Associate Editor and writer for Seattle’s Northwest Prime Time and is co-author of “The Inventor’s Fortune Up For Grabs” by Suzanne G. Beyer and John S. Pfarr. Investigation Discovery “The Will” aired the book’s story last fall. You can read about it at www.theinventorsfortune.com.