When does one need to gain weight? - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 07-15-2012, 03:17 PM
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Hi board!

*warning to anybody who doesn't like numbers*

Just curious as to your takes on weights and such after I weighed myself for the first time in about 6 months last night and had dropped a little from my normally quite low low. 
I was sort of concerned and decided to eat a whole lot extra , even though I already eat more than my housemates and what I consider a variety of nutritious ( and less nutritious :)  ) stuff. I'm never ever hungry and in fact, often consciously eat simply 'because it's time'.
Anyway, just wondering whether I 'should' eat even more and I'm in fact less healthy than I feel / at risk of becoming fragile and crumply in old age / not treating my body right / not getting as much nutrition as I believe or whether one can be healthy at a low weight .

Currently I have a BMI of 16.4 and I've usually hovered around the 18 mark, 19 at the highest. A 'slight' build, I suppose. Ample chested always..which is kind of annoying... 
and I used to have quite irregular periods but during the last 6+ months  they've come like clockwork ( I actually put that down to being a pleasant side effect of having gone dairy-free . Dairy was messing me up in the stomach. Much easier to maintain weight now, too)  .

I know there's no 'right' answer but I just want to do what's right by the body that I have and not weigh myself down with stuff I feel I don't need, extra sugar etc but not deprive myself unconsciously either. :I 
It also scares me a bit that I wouldn't want to gain TOO much weight because I wouldn't feel like me anymore and that I do have definite ideas of what is 'too much' , having come from a sporting background. So I wonder if these last two points are involved somehow. 

Anyway, menstruating regularly so it can't be all bad, eh?

Thoughts or experiences ( were you underweight and felt 'fine' then moved up the scale and felt better? Are you underweight and ARE fine? etc. ) very much appreciated :) xx
 

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#2 Old 07-15-2012, 04:25 PM
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Not implying that you have an eating disorder at all, but just to make a point...

 

One of the requirements of an anoreixa diagnosis is to have a bmi of <17.5 .

 

 

The answer should be obvious.

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#3 Old 07-15-2012, 05:07 PM
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The BMI scale isn't one that you should base anything on. Mine is around 16.5 but I literally don't gain weight no matter what I eat and I feel great. I think that you do what you can to feel as good as possible and forget about the numbers involved.

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#4 Old 07-15-2012, 06:57 PM
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Hmm. And this is why I'm confused. Bah. 
I think I like the second answer better though :P 
Easier, really... 

Thankyou both so much for the input :) . 

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#5 Old 07-16-2012, 12:42 AM
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I have a BMI of 15 and have been constantly told by everyone to put on weight... 

I eat a lot and really wish I could put on more weight, but the way I see it is that if you are eating plenty of food and have a varied diet you should be fine! :)

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#6 Old 07-16-2012, 01:20 AM
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Thanks thanks! Glad you're doing okay and I guess I'll just make sure I eat a variety etc. and see how things go :) . 

x

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#7 Old 07-16-2012, 01:26 AM
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Actually, I'll eat a little bit extra. Housemate with eating issues is perhaps rubbing off on me more than I realise re: portion size. 
But yay to the relief that is knowing you're not insane/going to die, regardless :)  . xx

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#8 Old 07-16-2012, 05:49 PM
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The BMI scale isn't one that you should base anything on. Mine is around 16.5 but I literally don't gain weight no matter what I eat and I feel great. I think that you do what you can to feel as good as possible and forget about the numbers involved.

Yep. If you seriously don't starve yourself and feel fine, have energy and endurance, etc., don't worry about it. Just like someone can be slightly above normal on the BMI scale and be perfectly healthy, so can someone be slightly below and still be healthy.

 

Really, I get tired of the idea that thin = anorexic every time.

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#9 Old 07-16-2012, 10:45 PM
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Thankyou for this :) . I guess it doesn't really make sense that I could feel okay and not be okay just because of some statistic. I just wanted to check because unlike my early 20s, I'm now in a place where I can imagine having kids and living to a ripe old age and loving life and I want to be able to do everything not NOT be running at full capacity. 
I'll keep an eye on things though and the fact that lately I've had less of an appetite than normal and it takes real concentration to eat much at all will be monitored. 

You guys're wise :) x

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#10 Old 07-20-2012, 11:28 AM
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Is 44kg at the height of 154cm healthy?

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#11 Old 07-20-2012, 12:20 PM
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This is a question that is best for your doctor.

A BMI of 16 is very concerning to me. Regardless of your eating habits, having a low BMI puts you at risk for osteoporosis. You low weight is almost certainly why you do not have regular periods. Most women will not menstruate unless they have a certain minimum percent of body fat.

Just to reemphasize, please check in with your doctor.
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#12 Old 07-20-2012, 03:32 PM
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My Bmi is 18 which is underweight :(

my doctor said i need to go back in a month and if my weight has dropped rapidly then they will need to take action :'(

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#13 Old 07-22-2012, 08:39 AM
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I don't think anyone has yet addresses the important issue, which is not BMI but musculature and body fat (or body composition). I like to look up BMI when a person gives their height and weight just to try and get an idea of what they might look like. Also, if I see that the BMI is in what would be considered the "healthy range," I know that the person is not underweight. Ususally, a person in the "healthy range" has other health problems, though.

 

So low BMI is only a rule of thumb for beginning to determine if you are healthy given your weight. For BMI below 18.5 (or for any BMI), the next factor to consider is your body composition. The body is composed of lean tissues (muscles, organs, bone, etc.) and fat. Your low weight may indicate being under-muscled, which is a visual symptom in diagnosing anorexia. Long-term under-eating will lead to nutritional deficiencies, muscle-wasting, bone loss and demineralization of bones and teeth, and many other problems. If you are well-muscled, have strong bones and have adequate body fat (minimum 5% for men, 12% for women), then your weight may not be an issue, as long as your other habits (eating and exercise, for instance) are not neurotic or psychopathological (not to be confused with psychopathy, which is different). If you are restricting food intake (not eating according to alimentary instinct) or overexercising, or both, such behavior is neurotic or psychopathological. If you are eating and exercising hygienically, according to instinct and nature, then your weight will never be a problem.

 

See this about.com article on body composition.
 

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#14 Old 07-23-2012, 12:39 AM
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Hmm. These are really good points. I used to be really fit and muscular but I'm definitely not anymore. I want to be, and I've started swimming again and kept up the epic amounts of walking that I do but I tire quickly ( no muscle? catch 22... ) . 
Maybe I need to do something about this afterall. 
Actually, I have a lot less energy than I used to but I didn't weigh much more then either so unless it's a wearing-down-gradually ( or hangover caffeine withdrawals somehow from stopping my massive coffee intake about 2 months ago and just drinking tea with the occasional latte ) it's unrelated. 
Or rather, I have a fair bit of energy but it runs out quickly and I have to rest more often than  I want to. 
Up until recently I would have said that I've never felt better since going vegan from veg about 8 months ago. A ton of energy, better sleeping since going vegan ( and yes, I take b12 etc. I'm careful about such things ! ), but lately it seems I either feel worse than ever or awesome. 
Mainly awesome..I think..
Wow, I'm confusing myself now. :I That's the other thing i've noticed lately. That I can't THINK for as long. Maybe I AM missing something in my carefully planned diet?! Or maybe it's just something normal like stress. Whooooo knows. 
I eat as much as everyone else ( which might not be enough to gain weight but I definitely maintain it ) I think and eat til just past comfortably full so gaining weight would be a huge task requiring discomfort and effort and I don't want to do it unless it would be beneficial in the cases above. 

Oh. That DOES sound crazy.. 

I just came on here and posted when I was feeling a bit confused, then didn't bother about the thread or weight because I felt less confused ( read: great ) and now have no idea all over again.

This is quite the ramble...

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#15 Old 07-23-2012, 12:40 AM
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NB In a tired period a few days ago I even considered adding back dairy in case that was the problem but logically, I know it's not. I mean..there's nothing in dairy that I'm not getting elsewhere . I don't think..

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#16 Old 07-23-2012, 01:42 PM
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NB In a tired period a few days ago I even considered adding back dairy in case that was the problem but logically, I know it's not. I mean..there's nothing in dairy that I'm not getting elsewhere . I don't think..

Hi greenie25. smiley.gif Are you certain you're eating enough? That's the most common reason. Sometimes posters will give an example of a day's food and others might give advice. I've never tried it, but I hear good things about foodtracker.com to see if you're "missing" anything or need more food. smiley.gif
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#17 Old 07-24-2012, 04:19 AM
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Thanks :) . I've been counting calories over the last 2 or 3 days and I'm averaging around 1900 with reduced physical activity ( winter and new job. Hours walking a day is about it this week ) . Most of that comes from carbs and fat but there's a good enough dose of protein I think. 
Does it sound like enough? It sure feels like enough. I always eat slightly past full because I've always been conscious of 'feeling like' less than I probably need. Small meals etc. But I make sure I eat good amounts and 1900 is about where I'm at. If that's not enough, I'll try increasing it. I just figured since it's the same or more than most of my calorie counting friends it's probably okay? 
Sorry to be a pain. I just want to be healthy..

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#18 Old 07-24-2012, 11:46 AM
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It depends on your size, activity level, etc how any calories you need. If you are underweight, you most likely will need to add more calories. Muscle wasting includes your heart, which is a muscle, so under eating and chronic underweight can cause fatigue because the heart is weakening. 1900 calories with exercise is not very much.
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#19 Old 07-25-2012, 03:09 PM
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NB In a tired period a few days ago I even considered adding back dairy in case that was the problem but logically, I know it's not. I mean..there's nothing in dairy that I'm not getting elsewhere . I don't think..

 

Cow milk is the perfect food for calves, not humans. It isn't just unnecessary, it is very harmful.

 

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Thanks :) . I've been counting calories over the last 2 or 3 days and I'm averaging around 1900 with reduced physical activity ( winter and new job. Hours walking a day is about it this week ) . Most of that comes from carbs and fat but there's a good enough dose of protein I think. 
Does it sound like enough? It sure feels like enough. I always eat slightly past full because I've always been conscious of 'feeling like' less than I probably need. Small meals etc. But I make sure I eat good amounts and 1900 is about where I'm at. If that's not enough, I'll try increasing it. I just figured since it's the same or more than most of my calorie counting friends it's probably okay? 
Sorry to be a pain. I just want to be healthy..

 

It is hard to say if your calorie intake is sufficient without more detailed information, but some of the things here suggest that you are thinking about food more than is healthy (i.e. it is either neurotic or pathological). I would suggest staying away from those "calorie counting friends," or else refrain from discussing diet with them until you have your own diet worked out.

 

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Hmm. These are really good points. I used to be really fit and muscular but I'm definitely not anymore. I want to be, and I've started swimming again and kept up the epic amounts of walking that I do but I tire quickly ( no muscle? catch 22... ) . 
Maybe I need to do something about this afterall. 
Actually, I have a lot less energy than I used to but I didn't weigh much more then either so unless it's a wearing-down-gradually ( or hangover caffeine withdrawals somehow from stopping my massive coffee intake about 2 months ago and just drinking tea with the occasional latte ) it's unrelated. 
Or rather, I have a fair bit of energy but it runs out quickly and I have to rest more often than  I want to. 
Up until recently I would have said that I've never felt better since going vegan from veg about 8 months ago. A ton of energy, better sleeping since going vegan ( and yes, I take b12 etc. I'm careful about such things ! ), but lately it seems I either feel worse than ever or awesome. 
Mainly awesome..I think..
Wow, I'm confusing myself now. :I That's the other thing i've noticed lately. That I can't THINK for as long. Maybe I AM missing something in my carefully planned diet?! Or maybe it's just something normal like stress. Whooooo knows. 
I eat as much as everyone else ( which might not be enough to gain weight but I definitely maintain it ) I think and eat til just past comfortably full so gaining weight would be a huge task requiring discomfort and effort and I don't want to do it unless it would be beneficial in the cases above. 

Oh. That DOES sound crazy.. 

I just came on here and posted when I was feeling a bit confused, then didn't bother about the thread or weight because I felt less confused ( read: great ) and now have no idea all over again.

This is quite the ramble...

 

To build and keep muscle you need to use it, but you cannot build muscle if you are not eating enough calories. If you tire from walking it may be due to low glycogen levels because you are not eating enough of the right foods. Food is (among other things) the fuel your body needs to power the individual cells, and the best sources of fuel are raw fruits & vegetables, followed by cooked whole grains and legumes.

 

It sounds as though the little weight that you recently lost was probably muscle from what you have said. Since you are lighter, walking would be easier if you had as much muscle as before. That and low energy are both signs that you lost weight by restricting intake of food.

 

Coffee is a very harmful substance. Caffeine causes the adrenal glands to excrete adrenaline, a defensive response to the toxic substances in the coffee. In a natural environment, adrenaline is normally released in response to an immanent danger, such as a lion pouncing on you. Repeatedly drinking caffeinated substances is like repeatedly subjecting yourself to the perception of immanent danger, and the accompanying anxiety. An imbiber of caffeinated drinks is putting large stresses on internal organs involved in detoxification, and the substance becomes necessary for the body just to continue functioning. The body is constantly fighting a homeostatic imbalance created by toxic substances in the coffee, tea, or other caffeinated substance. Good thing you have cut back.

 

Having trouble thinking is yet another clue that suggests to me that you are underfed and under-carbed. Also, you seem to spend a lot of time thinking about whether you are eating too much/too little. I know how that goes, I have been there (restricting intake led me to a BMI of 17.3, little muscle and even less energy and ability to think). Could you give more details on your diet, height & weight, level of activity & exercise? What do you eat in a typical day or days, etc. You can PM me if you don't want to post it publicly.

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#20 Old 07-27-2012, 10:49 PM
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Cow milk is the perfect food for calves, not humans. It isn't just unnecessary, it is very harmful.

 

 

It is hard to say if your calorie intake is sufficient without more detailed information, but some of the things here suggest that you are thinking about food more than is healthy (i.e. it is either neurotic or pathological). I would suggest staying away from those "calorie counting friends," or else refrain from discussing diet with them until you have your own diet worked out.

 

 

To build and keep muscle you need to use it, but you cannot build muscle if you are not eating enough calories. If you tire from walking it may be due to low glycogen levels because you are not eating enough of the right foods. Food is (among other things) the fuel your body needs to power the individual cells, and the best sources of fuel are raw fruits & vegetables, followed by cooked whole grains and legumes.

 

It sounds as though the little weight that you recently lost was probably muscle from what you have said. Since you are lighter, walking would be easier if you had as much muscle as before. That and low energy are both signs that you lost weight by restricting intake of food.

 

Coffee is a very harmful substance. Caffeine causes the adrenal glands to excrete adrenaline, a defensive response to the toxic substances in the coffee. In a natural environment, adrenaline is normally released in response to an immanent danger, such as a lion pouncing on you. Repeatedly drinking caffeinated substances is like repeatedly subjecting yourself to the perception of immanent danger, and the accompanying anxiety. An imbiber of caffeinated drinks is putting large stresses on internal organs involved in detoxification, and the substance becomes necessary for the body just to continue functioning. The body is constantly fighting a homeostatic imbalance created by toxic substances in the coffee, tea, or other caffeinated substance. Good thing you have cut back.

 

Having trouble thinking is yet another clue that suggests to me that you are underfed and under-carbed. Also, you seem to spend a lot of time thinking about whether you are eating too much/too little. I know how that goes, I have been there (restricting intake led me to a BMI of 17.3, little muscle and even less energy and ability to think). Could you give more details on your diet, height & weight, level of activity & exercise? What do you eat in a typical day or days, etc. You can PM me if you don't want to post it publicly.

Oh wow. Thankyou so much for your in depth response. 
I agree with everything you've said ( and have been educated by the bits I wasn't aware of, such as WHY too much coffee, despite being socially accepted, isn't a good thing. I think I ran on pure adrenaline for decades, there! I knew I should cut down and have swapped to tea and feel much better. I do love coffee though, as a taste and a ritual, and as a way to feel better when your'e feeling really flat. The latter though is clearly just a trick so I'll try to listen more to my body rather than override it! With rare productive exceptions..) . 

I do find it bizarre that I eat so much and feel great much of the time but then go through lulls of feeling horrendous and that the signs of eating insufficient are there despite constantly eating past the point of full. I'm sorry you restricted your intake but I'm glad you think more logically and positively about it all now! 

Typically, my diet varies a bit ( whose doesn't?! Don't want to get bored! ) and this week it's involved a fair bit of heavy coconut milk yoghurt and coconut milk ice-cream because I only discovered it last week. I keep making tasty new discoveries and they get overused for a little while! A month ago it was Cheezly...
In general though, I don't eat many faux-meat/dairy products. The odd sausage and this ice-cream or some cheezly on homemade pizza is essentially it. I've also cut way down on soy recently because I wondered if that was why my PMS had gotten much much worse over the last few months ( have always had irregular periods til this year. Now they're like clockwork but recently, very painful ). 
I've also been trying to include a few white sourdough products because whole grains are more filling and white organic sourdough isn't too bad for you, but eat grains as well. I eat a lot of buckwheat pasta. I... okay. This is rambling ( again . Sorry ! Just grateful to have a place to figure this out )...

Today, for example, I ate (been measuring things the last little while to ensure large enough quantities or whole servings according to packets ) 

40g oats, 
Almond milk, 
Blueberries,
Tea with soy milk.

100g amazing sourdough with vegan marg and a bowl of pumpkin and broccoli soup.

Tea with soy milk and 20g-ish dark chocolate.
An apple with 28 almonds.

Cup of brown rice, 100g beans, red peppers, chills, kale, mushrooms ( random left over veg ) and onion fried in a bit of olive oil.

Coconut cream yoghurt and a banana. 

Yesterday (which is about how far back I can remember)

Spelt wholegrain toast, small apple, 
Tea with almond milk,

62g dry Buckwheat pasta, peas, olive oil, kale, cauliflower, asparagus and cheezly 

Tea with almond milk, 20g-ish dark chocolate.
Banana and 28 almonds

Small rye pumpkin and tofu pie thing. 

Coconut cream, 40g dry oats and sour cherries ( bircher muesli..sorta!) .

I also take omega 3, iron and zinc, daily. 
Lately, with increased workload, I walk maybe half an hour or an hour a day and am seated the rest of the time but I plan on getting back into riding or swimming to build muscle ( had a winter flu etc ).

Sorry for info overload and feel free to not respond. You've already been SO helpful. 

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#21 Old 07-27-2012, 10:50 PM
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PS Stating the obvious but it's so great to be in a (virtual) place where not wanting to consume dairy isn't seen as freakish!

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#22 Old 07-27-2012, 10:53 PM
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PPS I really don't like weighing foods etc :( . But I don't seem to eat as much otherwise. Bah. 

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#23 Old 07-29-2012, 09:01 AM
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Sorry for info overload and feel free to not respond. You've already been SO helpful. 

 

No problem, the information was very useful. I sent you a PM in response as it is very long and detailed.

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#24 Old 07-30-2012, 04:01 AM
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Wow! thankyou so much ! 

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#25 Old 07-30-2012, 04:05 AM
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Note sure if my PM reply went through but..

Woah. This is AMAZING. I too have been really busy the last few days ( new job at an activist bookshop , whilst doing postgrad study ) but I'll look at it more in-depth later and really really appreciate the time you have taken :) . 

Peace !! xx 

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#26 Old 07-31-2012, 08:56 AM
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Yes, I received the PM. If you have any questions let me know.

 

 

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Note sure if my PM reply went through but..

Woah. This is AMAZING. I too have been really busy the last few days ( new job at an activist bookshop , whilst doing postgrad study ) but I'll look at it more in-depth later and really really appreciate the time you have taken :) . 

Peace !! xx 

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#27 Old 08-22-2012, 06:52 PM
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So, just bumping up this thread because I'm actually concerned. Apparently I don't look sick ( this is a good sign! ) and I used to have a lot of energy, but I don't now. 
For several weeks I've felt exhausted, started sleeping 9 hours a night ( at first I thought it was 'cured insomnia' but I think I'm just ..exhausted ) , headaches ( put those down to caffeine withdrawal but I think not ) , low blood pressure, chest pain. 

Not sure if it's the weight or a deficiency but had a blood test yesterday so... 

Is it possible to be anaemic if you take supplements?! Gar. I eat really well so SURELY I'm not deficient in anything. 

This is starting to get me really down, actually. Chest highly uncomfortable. Sigh. 

Sorry, just had to rant.

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#28 Old 08-22-2012, 06:59 PM
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( maybe the reason I'm noticing all this more is because I stopped drinking coffee and coffee raises blood pressure. I feel like crap :( . Intermittent bursts of energy scattered throughout exhaustion due to low muscle tone. I just... oh this is depressing. Sigh . How do I get more muscle when I'm this exhausted? ) 

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#29 Old 08-22-2012, 07:16 PM
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Do you eat green leafy vegetables (and I don't mean the token 1 cup per day)?

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#30 Old 08-22-2012, 07:58 PM
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Yup, I love them! And lots of oil and nuts and peanut butter and what not. Just not soy, at the moment. Maybe I should eat soy. Or bring back dairy. But I don't wanna :( 

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