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Are you a hard gainer, please read!

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  • psuLemonpsuLemon Posts: 35,078Member, MFP Moderator, Greeter, Premium MFP Moderator Posts: 35,078Member, MFP Moderator, Greeter, Premium MFP Moderator
    psuLemon wrote: »
    People can have different metabolisms due to thyroid being low, normal, high. I was always very active, as others described. But, I was recently over prescribed antibiotics. And was under extreme stress, sleep deprivation, became sedentary after previously being extremely active, and dealing with a bizarre medical injury. I realized I was eating food that I wasn't digesting. I lost weight, and it's very challenging to gain, but I have a lot of food intolerance right now from my lack of ability to digest, and handle quantities of food, and also because I have histamine reactions to foods. A microbiome imbalance can influence weight gain issues as well. My Rheumatologist said what I am experiencing is what celiac disease is like. So, I am working on healing that. I try to just keep eating all day.

    For the majority of people metabolism is not going to vary much. Yes, there are some with hyperthyroidism but its rather rare. Its more common to have hypothyroidism which would make gaining easy.

    But the fact is, most people who believe they are a hard gainer just dont eat enough. We see the threads day in and out. Once they start logging their calories, we see they are in the standard deviation. In all my time here, i have seen one exception and he had hyperthyroidism and struggled to gain at 5000 calories.

    I think my situation should be temporary until I can recover from the medical injury. But, at first I definitely lost weight from not eating enough because of food reactions causing nerve pain in my face and eyes. But, dealing with that caused a change in my gut from eating large quantities of food I wasn't digesting (I was prone to that from being extremely over treated with antibiotics six months before). But, for six months I was eating 2500+ and couldn't gain past 97. But, I was eating food that caused my belly to swell and was passing through me undigested. So, more food was actually making my problem worse. But, it's definitely a challenging situation to deal with this gut problem and eat enough. But, I am working with doctors, keeping food journal, and doing whatever I can to recover. It just takes time.

    Even with all of that, it doesn't mean it was metabolism. There are a variety of things that can occur, some are related to metabolism and others are not.

    But its good to hear you are working to recover. Good luck.
  • psuLemonpsuLemon Posts: 35,078Member, MFP Moderator, Greeter, Premium MFP Moderator Posts: 35,078Member, MFP Moderator, Greeter, Premium MFP Moderator
    I'm so glad to see this post... it's inspired me to keep trying. I was feeling really discouraged this morning. I'm 115 1lbs... and I'd like to gain 15 more pounds to achieve my ideal weight. No matter what I do, I seem to have always hovered around 115 & 120 lbs. So I've become deliberately focused on gaining weight by increasing my calorie intake to 2100 calories a day (this is what MyFitnessPal came up with when I entered my weight gain goals), but trying to achieve that everyday is hard! I fell 1800 calories short yesterday. I've been doing this a week, most times I met my goal, but this is harder than I thought. And even after a week I don't see not even the slightest improvement.

    I eat a lot of foods on this list... I'm thinking maybe I should start drinking ensures with meals and in between meals. I do believe my metabolism is very high. I'm 44 y/o and have weighed the same since high school. Smh.

    Depending on your activity level, you would fall in the standard deviation. Many women i have worked with who exercise 3 to 5 hours a week lose at 1700 and maintain around 2100 calories.


    One reason many think they have a high metabolism is because they haven't gained weight through most of their life. But if you have consistently ate like you currently do, i can see why. Many people tend to do a few things to lead this belief; low calorie foods/dont eat much junk/rarely drink calories, eat less frequent, active, or stop eating hen full as opposed to when their plate is clean.
  • BinaryPulsarBinaryPulsar Posts: 9,068Member Member Posts: 9,068Member Member
    psuLemon wrote: »
    psuLemon wrote: »
    People can have different metabolisms due to thyroid being low, normal, high. I was always very active, as others described. But, I was recently over prescribed antibiotics. And was under extreme stress, sleep deprivation, became sedentary after previously being extremely active, and dealing with a bizarre medical injury. I realized I was eating food that I wasn't digesting. I lost weight, and it's very challenging to gain, but I have a lot of food intolerance right now from my lack of ability to digest, and handle quantities of food, and also because I have histamine reactions to foods. A microbiome imbalance can influence weight gain issues as well. My Rheumatologist said what I am experiencing is what celiac disease is like. So, I am working on healing that. I try to just keep eating all day.

    For the majority of people metabolism is not going to vary much. Yes, there are some with hyperthyroidism but its rather rare. Its more common to have hypothyroidism which would make gaining easy.

    But the fact is, most people who believe they are a hard gainer just dont eat enough. We see the threads day in and out. Once they start logging their calories, we see they are in the standard deviation. In all my time here, i have seen one exception and he had hyperthyroidism and struggled to gain at 5000 calories.

    I think my situation should be temporary until I can recover from the medical injury. But, at first I definitely lost weight from not eating enough because of food reactions causing nerve pain in my face and eyes. But, dealing with that caused a change in my gut from eating large quantities of food I wasn't digesting (I was prone to that from being extremely over treated with antibiotics six months before). But, for six months I was eating 2500+ and couldn't gain past 97. But, I was eating food that caused my belly to swell and was passing through me undigested. So, more food was actually making my problem worse. But, it's definitely a challenging situation to deal with this gut problem and eat enough. But, I am working with doctors, keeping food journal, and doing whatever I can to recover. It just takes time.

    Even with all of that, it doesn't mean it was metabolism. There are a variety of things that can occur, some are related to metabolism and others are not.

    But its good to hear you are working to recover. Good luck.

    Yes, that's right. It's not actually metabolism. Thanks!
  • ForecasterJasonForecasterJason Posts: 2,582Member Member Posts: 2,582Member Member
    psuLemon wrote: »
    And due to that I had a high tdee, not a high metabolism.
    This is really just more of a semantics question. I know that the discussion here is on metabolisms and variances to the norm, which for the most part I agree with. But if you have a high tdee, wouldn't it be fair to say that your overall metabolism is high as well (since metabolism is the sum of all reactions going on in the body)? Not that it's above what would be expected for height/weight/age/activity level, but high compared to someone who is less active (which would be the norm given how much of the population is sedentary).
    edited February 2016
  • hockeysniper8hockeysniper8 Posts: 252Member Member Posts: 252Member Member
    Great post! I also believe genetics play a huge part in your ability to achieve fitness and health goals
  • BinaryPulsarBinaryPulsar Posts: 9,068Member Member Posts: 9,068Member Member
    psuLemon wrote: »
    And due to that I had a high tdee, not a high metabolism.
    This is really just more of a semantics question. I know that the discussion here is on metabolisms and variances to the norm, which for the most part I agree with. But if you have a high tdee, wouldn't it be fair to say that your overall metabolism is high as well (since metabolism is the sum of all reactions going on in the body)? Not that it's above what would be expected for height/weight/age/activity level, but high compared to someone who is less active (which would be the norm given how much of the population is sedentary).

    That's how I always saw it also.
  • psuLemonpsuLemon Posts: 35,078Member, MFP Moderator, Greeter, Premium MFP Moderator Posts: 35,078Member, MFP Moderator, Greeter, Premium MFP Moderator
    psuLemon wrote: »
    And due to that I had a high tdee, not a high metabolism.
    This is really just more of a semantics question. I know that the discussion here is on metabolisms and variances to the norm, which for the most part I agree with. But if you have a high tdee, wouldn't it be fair to say that your overall metabolism is high as well (since metabolism is the sum of all reactions going on in the body)? Not that it's above what would be expected for height/weight/age/activity level, but high compared to someone who is less active (which would be the norm given how much of the population is sedentary).

    The majority of the time, the people who claim high metabolism on this board, don't even have high tdee's but rather just aren't eating enough food and start tracking. More often than not, when they start tracking their calories, they discover that they dont have a fast metabolism but rather their eating habits prevented weight gain.
  • Springfield1970Springfield1970 Posts: 1,945Member Member Posts: 1,945Member Member
    I really like this thread. There is so much confusion about metabolism, which is a shame, because when it comes to health the truth is always important. Like for example I have a friend who won't even bother dieting as she is convinced she has a slow metabolism.

    Until I was 16 I had an infamous 'fast metabolism'. My brother and I would eat an entire loaf of bread, butter and syrup for breakfast (13 pieces of toast is my record). I would always eat 2 quarter pounders and 2 fries, entire pizzas, loads of alcohol, junk food, 3rds for most meals. Anything I wanted. And was 126lbs the whole time(I'm 128-130 now). Magic metabolism right?
    No, the reality was this. Activity wise, I worked with horses at the weekends, backbreaking work, 7-4 and I cycled 5 miles each way. I rarely kept still, nervously fidgeted, and was out all the time. Did lots of sports at school. I underate a lot, now I look back, especially at the weekends when I worked, and lunchtime at school, when I smoked!

    I hit 17, got a job in a bank, and my metabolism 'slowed'...in reality I sat on my *kitten* all day long and didn't exercise, had money finally for all that lovely food, gained 14 pounds,lost muscle and then to compound things got into starve dieting.
    It's taken me decades to work this all out! That's why I hope this thread reaches not just the hard gainers.
    edited February 2016
  • BinaryPulsarBinaryPulsar Posts: 9,068Member Member Posts: 9,068Member Member
    psuLemon wrote: »
    psuLemon wrote: »
    And due to that I had a high tdee, not a high metabolism.
    This is really just more of a semantics question. I know that the discussion here is on metabolisms and variances to the norm, which for the most part I agree with. But if you have a high tdee, wouldn't it be fair to say that your overall metabolism is high as well (since metabolism is the sum of all reactions going on in the body)? Not that it's above what would be expected for height/weight/age/activity level, but high compared to someone who is less active (which would be the norm given how much of the population is sedentary).

    The majority of the time, the people who claim high metabolism on this board, don't even have high tdee's but rather just aren't eating enough food and start tracking. More often than not, when they start tracking their calories, they discover that they dont have a fast metabolism but rather their eating habits prevented weight gain.

    I just know that for me when I joined mfo and started tracking my calories according to the internet calculations that I started losing too much weight and being hungry and tired. I kept raising it. So, my husband did his own calculations (he is a scientist and mathematician) based on his observations of my actual activity level. He said that I am a professional dancer, I walk everywhere, I lift weights three times a week, and I basically never sit still. I am always moving, even when I don't realize I am. So, I would need to eat at the level of an athlete at my age and size. And I was able to get my weight to 102. He said I have a high metabolism/tdee because of my active lifestyle. Then I was medically injured. I stopped dancing and became sedentary in a chair for six months. My husband is constantly encouraging me to be active again because he thinks it will benefit my health and recovery. But, now I weigh 95 pounds and I stuggle to gain weight back. But, I have a severe gastrointestinal injury from being overprescribed very strong and double strength antibiotics.
  • GamlielaGamliela Posts: 2,484Member Member Posts: 2,484Member Member
    Very good! Now I understand. Sometimes seeing all those things listed like they are in this topic gives a lot of clarity.
  • ninerbuffninerbuff Posts: 42,519Member, Greeter Member Posts: 42,519Member, Greeter Member
    kingkam21 wrote: »
    ndj1979 wrote: »
    can you add that hard gainers are a myth too please?
    If a fast metabolism is a myth than why do I poop after every meal?? I've been skiny my whole life, as a kid I used to eat over 10 pb&js back to back and remain skinny. I used to eat lettuce bowls of ice cream to myself, 2 large burritos from Alberto's to myself and after all this, I still ate more as a kid. And I am the same way now, except I go to the gym now and eat more beneficial foods. As a kid, I ate more than anyone in my family. And I literally pooped after every meal, 4+ times a day. My dad told me he was the same way as a kid, and his dad was the same aswell. If this is not a fast metabolism than what is it??? Yes I was active as a kid, but aren't all kids active. I'm 8 months into my body building journey and I am confused about this topic, because I believe I have a fast metabolism because I poop 4-6 times a day (after eating 4-6 meals a day). If it's a myth than is there something wrong with me internally??
    Lol, I poop 4-6 times a day. That DOESN'T mean I have a "fast" metabolism. It just means I'm getting in more than enough food that my body needs.

    A.C.E. Certified Personal and Group Fitness Trainer
    IDEA Fitness member
    Kickboxing Certified Instructor
    Been in fitness for 30 years and have studied kinesiology and nutrition

    9285851.png

  • ninerbuffninerbuff Posts: 42,519Member, Greeter Member Posts: 42,519Member, Greeter Member
    Being in the industry for decades now and also being a former competitor and well as training people who "couldn't" gain weight but did under my instruction, it's still going to come down to CICO for weight gain/loss/maintenance. And that's hard for some people to still accept.

    A.C.E. Certified Personal and Group Fitness Trainer
    IDEA Fitness member
    Kickboxing Certified Instructor
    Been in fitness for 30 years and have studied kinesiology and nutrition

    9285851.png
  • zoeysasha37zoeysasha37 Posts: 7,133Member Member Posts: 7,133Member Member
    The most important points I see in this thread IMO are
    - trust the math ! It still comes down to cico.


    And - you probably don't have a high metabolism instead you have a high tdee. I think people here confuse the two often.

  • jofjltncb6jofjltncb6 Posts: 34,965Member Member Posts: 34,965Member Member
    thorsmom01 wrote: »
    The most important points I see in this thread IMO are
    - trust the math ! It still comes down to cico.


    And - you probably don't have a high/low metabolism instead you have a high/low tdee. I think people here confuse the two often.

    This (with the edits above) is the answer to 95% of the threads here.
  • mattw4jcmattw4jc Posts: 17Member Member Posts: 17Member Member
    Good info and timely for me. I've been a runner / cyclist for years and eat a lot just to maintain my weight. I understand the CICO simplicity and have used it before to lose weight, but not really to gain. I'm currently 145lbs, 5'8" and wouldn't mind gaining a bit of muscle mass.

    I was a little surprised to see ice cream, candy, syrups, and some other high sugar stuff in the food list. But I suppose as long as those aren't the main source of calories they can help. I think in order to add muscle I need to add more protein as I probably don't get enough of that. I just restarted putting my food & exercise in MFP again to better track calories. And I just joined a gym so I can do more than the at-home push-ups & pull-ups I've been doing.

    Wish me luck!
  • psuLemonpsuLemon Posts: 35,078Member, MFP Moderator, Greeter, Premium MFP Moderator Posts: 35,078Member, MFP Moderator, Greeter, Premium MFP Moderator
    mgw4jc wrote: »
    Good info and timely for me. I've been a runner / cyclist for years and eat a lot just to maintain my weight. I understand the CICO simplicity and have used it before to lose weight, but not really to gain. I'm currently 145lbs, 5'8" and wouldn't mind gaining a bit of muscle mass.

    I was a little surprised to see ice cream, candy, syrups, and some other high sugar stuff in the food list. But I suppose as long as those aren't the main source of calories they can help. I think in order to add muscle I need to add more protein as I probably don't get enough of that. I just restarted putting my food & exercise in MFP again to better track calories. And I just joined a gym so I can do more than the at-home push-ups & pull-ups I've been doing.

    Wish me luck!

    The reason protein isn't overly emphasized on a bulk, is because it is very very easy to hit those goals. For example, a person of your stats would required 140g (on the safe side), which is easy for most people.

    The reason sugar/fat/ultra processed foods are on this list is because they are high in calories and can help give you an opportunity to achieve a daily surplus. Because if you can't consistently hit a surplus, you will spin your wheels and not make any gains. Additional, the spike in insulin is beneficial to stimulate muscle growth. And lastly, it should be very easy to address nutritional requirements, and you don't get extra credit once you exceed that. But like you alluded to, we aren't suggesting a diet high in these items, but rather, use these as an enabler when you struggle to get calories. For example, I have a very solid diet on my cut. I eliminate a lot of ultra processed foods to ensure I address nutritional requirements. When I transition to maintenance, I start simple by increase fats (generally more nuts) and I replace my current dessert (bowl of fruit with cool whip) with a Klondike bar. I do this because I need an additional 500-700 calories to hit maintenance levels. So when I bulk, I need an additional 800-1000 to maintain 10% greater than my TDEE. So at that point, I incorporate a little more junk food, but it still comes out to be 10-15% of my total diet. The rest of my diet is going to come from whole grains, dairy, fish, fruits and veggies, lean proteins. And the within that diet, I generally aim for foods high in unsaturated fats and omega 3's, high in fiber (30-50g per day) and at least 1g of protein per lb of lean body mass.
  • mattw4jcmattw4jc Posts: 17Member Member Posts: 17Member Member
    Thanks for the clarification psulemon.

    In MFP, I put in to gain 1lb/week and it says 2400 calories. Yesterday, my morning run and my bike commute burned 1906 calories, giving a total of 4306. With a second helping at dinner and two fudge-iced brownies, I managed to eat 4,688.

    In the nutrition part for yesterday, it says my protein goal is 215. I consumed 184. Most other nutrients were over except for potassium and vitamin C. I'm not concerned about these numbers as I'm just getting started and have to find what works for me. Today I had eggs instead of cereal for breakfast, so I know that will help.

    My challenge will be the goal of 2,400 calories plus the approximately 2,000 I may burn on a daily basis. I'm glad to hear you say the fats and sugars are okay for bulking. And if I end up as the Pillsbury Doughboy, at least I'll know why.
  • psuLemonpsuLemon Posts: 35,078Member, MFP Moderator, Greeter, Premium MFP Moderator Posts: 35,078Member, MFP Moderator, Greeter, Premium MFP Moderator
    mgw4jc wrote: »
    Thanks for the clarification psulemon.

    In MFP, I put in to gain 1lb/week and it says 2400 calories. Yesterday, my morning run and my bike commute burned 1906 calories, giving a total of 4306. With a second helping at dinner and two fudge-iced brownies, I managed to eat 4,688.

    In the nutrition part for yesterday, it says my protein goal is 215. I consumed 184. Most other nutrients were over except for potassium and vitamin C. I'm not concerned about these numbers as I'm just getting started and have to find what works for me. Today I had eggs instead of cereal for breakfast, so I know that will help.

    My challenge will be the goal of 2,400 calories plus the approximately 2,000 I may burn on a daily basis. I'm glad to hear you say the fats and sugars are okay for bulking. And if I end up as the Pillsbury Doughboy, at least I'll know why.

    I wouldn't trust MFP's burned calories. In fact, I would run a TDEE calculator to set up your calories. If you want help, send me a PM and we can get your started. But as a frame of reference, most guys I know bulk around 2800-3500 calories. Of course that will vary based on your total active.

    And of course both fats and sugar are acceptable as all foods have their place. Fats help regulate hormones and sugars can provide energy and help create the anabolic environment that your body needs. Just don't assume it means all junk food.
    edited March 2016
  • psuLemonpsuLemon Posts: 35,078Member, MFP Moderator, Greeter, Premium MFP Moderator Posts: 35,078Member, MFP Moderator, Greeter, Premium MFP Moderator
    richln wrote: »
    mbv2g2f8didy.jpg

    LOL nice.
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