When Eating Becomes a Chore

The title is probably shocking to most of you.

Eating? A chore? But food is the best, why would you need to force yourself to eat?

Well.. there are some cases when someone is trying to gain weight and this person is in a caloric surplus. When this person's weight is staying the same or dropping, calories need to be increased even further. This can end up being a LOT of calories for someone and it can honestly be pretty uncomfortable to eat that much food especially when you aren't actually hungry. 

I've had two cases when a client literally has to force feed to get their daily calories in order to successfully have weight gain. I'll give some numbers for reference. One client was eating 175g of fat, 750g of carbohydrates, and 240g of protein... that's 5535kcals. Can you imagine eating all of that from actual food?! Another client is currently at the same fat and carbohydrate intake, but 275g of protein. They currently experienced weight gain, but one I am having to still keep increasing because his weight will stall out or drop. 

I'm going to give some tips on how to get this many calories in.

1. Liquid Carbs

Liquid carbs are easier to get down because you can drink them (duh, Ash). I personally take liquid carbs post workout just to enhance recovery from my training. You can read my full day of eating post here to see what type of carb I drink post-workout! 

2. Smoothies 

This could fall under the umbrella of liquid carbs but I didn't want to rant too much under one section. You can take fruit, veggies, or really anything and throw it in a blender to create a smoothie. It's actually pretty easy to pack a lot of calories into one smoothie. If your fat intake is high, throw in a lot of peanut butter. Breakfast would be a good time (unless you work out in the mornings) to have a higher fat smoothie with the added peanut butter or nuts. 

Smoothie example - Serving of protein powder, assortment of fruit, peanut butter, yogurt, spinach bc #micros (you can't taste it), chia seeds or flax seeds, ice.

For a bedtime snack smoothie, you could do the same recipe but maybe omit the spinach and seeds, and add froyo or ice cream if your macros allow for it!

3. Eat more low volume, calorically dense foods

Getting your vegetables in everyday is extremely important because of the nutrients they provide, however even in larger quantities, they don't provide that many calories. 30g carbs of broccoli looks way different in volume than 30g carbs of pasta. You would definitely get more full eating the 30g carbs of broccoli because of how much you would have to eat. In terms of weight volume, 30g of carbs is roughly 650g of broccoli vs 90g of cooked penne pasta.. That's a big difference. Other examples of lower volume foods include bagels, fruit, pasta, cereal, doughnuts (hehe), rice, potato, oats, etc.

4. Meal planning is important 

When you have a lot of calories to get in during one day, it probably isn't smart to go all morning/day without eating a lot and then saving a lot for the night. That will only cause an upset stomach from eating so much. Try to space out meals every few hours depending on your work/training schedule. Smaller and more frequent meals will help to keep you not super full all the time. 

5. Keep in mind your end goal

Ultimately, if you really want to gain weight, you'll adhere to the plan because you have a goal. There will be some times when it stinks to have to eat so much, but when you actually gain the weight you want, you'll be glad to stuck to the plan!

--For the rest of us normal folk that just have a hard time hitting a certain macronutrient every now and then, this next section is for you!

Do you have trouble hitting your fat?

- Cook with oil/butter

- Peanut butter or any nut butter

- Nuts/seeds

- Avocado

- Higher fatty meat

- Bacon

Do you have trouble hitting your carbs?

- Rice 

- Oats 

- Potato 

- Cereal

- Fruit

- Quinoa

- Vegetables

- Couscous

- Granola

- Rice cakes

- Tortillas

- Fruit smoothies

Do you have trouble hitting your protein?

- Protein powder

- Lean meat (chicken, turkey, mahi-mahi, tuna, shrimp, scallops, bison, tilapia)

- Eggs/egg whites

- Protein bars (just be aware these can also be high in fat/carbs)

- Quest chips

**Smoothies are really a good option for either of the macronutrients because you can control what goes in it. If you need more fat, add some more peanut butter or nuts. If you need more carbs, add more fruit or froyo. If you need more protein, add some more protein powder. You get the idea!

To yield optimal results, hitting your macros within 1-3g each day is important. Consistency is always key. Hope these tips helped!


Ashleigh Hubbard