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Help Me Gain Weight!

Hi Ulcerative Colitis People,

I need help with putting on weight!  I have ulcerative colitis too.
I have lost a lot of weight. I am 6’1 and normally weight around 160 (so I’m tall and skinny/lean already…not much body fat to begin with) and right now I weigh 130 pounds. I need help putting weight back on! Any suggestions?!?! Help would be appreciated very very much!
My Current Medications: Remicade and Prednisone…tapering off the Prednisone every week.
Thank you

Curtis

gainging weight with colitis

how do you gain weight while UC is flaring?





27 Responses to “Help Me Gain Weight!”

  1. Catherine
    CatherineJanuary 30, 2011 at 12:50 am #

    Hi Curtis, is your flare under control on the meds? I found I regained the weight fairly fast once I stopped vomiting and having diarreha all the time. I started SCD at around the time that I got my last major flare under control, with pred and infliximab. I ate heaps of eggs for breakfast, and meat with every meal (including breakfast), and a good amount of fat in the form of avacado and cheese. Assuming that you are okay with dairy, yoghurt is good too. Carbs are of course a great way to gain weight, but given I’m on SCD and have found it so successful, I couldn’t recommend them at all!

    I also found that the pred made me want to eat all the time, which was a huge difference from while I was in the flare and unmedicated, where I sometimes went a couple of days without eating, because even the thought of food made me want to chuck.

    All the best,

    Catherine

  2. AshwinJanuary 30, 2011 at 3:55 am #

    Hi…Anonymous-UC’er hope u must be doing well with ur current medication…and must have stabilized by now..so now u need to take high protein diet which is must be low or moderate in fat..! bcoz our GI system doesn’t respond well high fat diets when suffering from UC. I recommend Nutrilite Protein Powder. Along with this you must take ripe banana throughout the day i.e. 2 to 3 times a day. this is a very good natural source having minerals and high GI(glycimic index, instant energy source)it’s better that you chew thoroughly whatever u eat. banana is also a mild laxative will help u in getting ur system clean and detoxify.
    Bbye TC
    God bless us all..!

    • Cindy BlaseApril 7, 2014 at 3:16 pm #

      Nutrilite Protein Powder, has soy in it and several other illegal items not on the SCD diet. It is recommended when you can handle eggs to add raw eggs to your shakes instead of protein powder because of the potential harmful ingredients in protein powders. Also, rice and potatoes may seem digestible but turn to sugar and starch and feed the bad bacteria when in a flare up. They are illegal on the SCD diet. The number one thing you and your doctor must do, is control the flare before worrying about weight gain.

  3. Dede CummingsJanuary 30, 2011 at 6:50 am #

    Dear Curtis, Ashwin gave you great advice, but I just want to add make sure you get checked out by you docs and e sure to keep close track of your weight, bmi, blood work, etc. Someone in my support group had real problems with this. Take care of yourself! I am gonna look into this for you–hang in there! I went from 123 up to 140 after I tapered off Prednisone… Potent chicken soup with rice and carrots, small frequent meals, banana smoothies, gentle walking and yoga, vitamins & supplements, along with keeping a food journal. Can you eat eggs? I craved them at first and would boil 2 at a time for 7 minutes. Yum.

  4. CurtisJanuary 30, 2011 at 3:51 pm #

    Hey guys thanks for the responses.
    I haven’t gotten my flare under control yet and I think it might be because I am not staying as strict on the scd diet as I should. My parents are really pushing me to eat carbs like potatoes and rice and stuff to try and gain some weight, even though I’ve been telling them that I still have symptoms and am still in a flare. I eat eggs every morning and make Adam’s smoothie everyday as well. I am eating a lot of protein as well like chicken and fish and turkey and what not. Drinking lots of water and Vitamin water and orange juice as well. My parents are thinking of trying gluten free mac and cheese and gluten free bread to see how that goes, but I need some help calming this flare down.

    How long does it normally take you guys to get out of a flare? I was released from the hospital last Monday and am still having symptoms, mostly throughout the night (my symptoms are better during the day after I take the Prednisone in the morning).

    Any help with a specific diet layout would be much appreciated!

    Thanks,

    Curtis

    • AdamJanuary 30, 2011 at 4:51 pm #

      Hey Curtis,

      Getting the flare calmed down can take time. But it for sure can be done. Don’t get too upset if you don’t see results right away, really what you are doing is trying to heal the inner lining of your colon. that takes time. It sounds like you are eating alot of good stuff, but you might want to cut back on the orange juice until your plumbing system is working much better. I nearly cut out completely the orange juice during my last introduction to the SCD diet, and I only have about 5-6 ounces at a time with a smoothie right now still, even though I am feeling much better and nearly blood free. As for normal time to get out of a flare, that has varied for me too. It has been ten-14 days before getting out of most symptoms, to well over a month. There is no normal amount of time in my opinion. Everyone’s different on their recovery, or healing of the colon…
      It sounds like you need to get a bit more structure into your diet plan. There is a free guide on how to get started on the SCD diet: SCD Diet free Guide and I would recommend anyone who is starting or thinking about starting the diet to try it.
      I for sure would not touch the potato or rice if it was presented to me while in a flare(infact, I don’t think I’ll be touching that stuff anymore even when I am 100% out of my most recent flare up, just to be as SCD diet legit as possible…)
      There is a list of good starter diet foods to be eating. it sounds like you are having a little bit of progress, but right now is critical for you to get some healing done before you start adding other stuff to the diet. Best of luck Curtis, you can do it for sure!!

      • VishalAugust 9, 2012 at 4:13 pm #

        Hi Adam
        My wife was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in last January 2012.
        She was kept on Masacol 800 mg 3 times in a day & wysolen 40 mg.
        Her symptons get under controll after 10 days of starting that medicine & doctor has gradually stopped steroids 3 months back & she is now on sazo 500 with no symptons.
        Meanwhile we have started netropathy diet paralaly.
        The only problem she is facing is of light body & joint pains.
        I think this is due to strict diet of netropathy in which she is not getting enough nutrition & vitamin minerals etc.

        I came to know about the product from Amway company called Nutrilit powder.
        My question is. Can she take this powder to improve her nutrition level????

        Please advice.

        Thanks
        Vishal.

        • AdamAugust 10, 2012 at 10:21 am #

          Hi Vishal,

          I myself have not ever tried that product so I can’t relate any experience about that unfortunately. However the joint pains you mentioned are very common for uc patients while in the middle of active symptoms and even when in remission. There are some ideas about managing the joint pains in the Joint Pain survey in the survey section if the site which you might like to read
          Best of luck to you and your wife
          Adam

          • MobinJanuary 27, 2013 at 11:08 pm #

            Hi Adam,

            I wanted to know if you were following scd from the time that you initially started? Were you on the diet when you flared? When and how you cut your medicine (how long after being symptom free)? do you have any advise on how to gain weight while on scd? I wrote down the number of calories that I get from food but I still am 400 cal/day behind…

            Thanks

          • AdamMarch 4, 2013 at 4:13 pm #

            Hey Mobin,
            I have been following the diet (not 100%) but pretty darn close from the time I started almost 4 years ago. I’ve been on the diet during flares. I was on prednisone when i started, and a slow slow taper along with starting SCD and seeing positive results allowed me to get off medications back then. The taper was about 2 months after starting the diet changes. As for gaining weight while on SCD, my biggest bit of advice would be to focus no obtaining full healing and no symptoms, and then after that, weight gain is certainly possible. For me it allowed me to go from 130 pounds back up to 160, but, and i repeat, only once I was healed did I notice my weight increasing.

            I wish you the best,

            -Adam

    • Cindy BlaseApril 7, 2014 at 3:29 pm #

      The concept of the SCD diet is to eliminate grain and refined sugar. Grain turns into sugar immediately and so it is just the same as ingesting table sugar. What your body needs right now is to get rid of sugar that will feed the bad bacteria in your colon. Your parents mean well, but gluten free Mac and cheese will set you back. It isn’t just the gluten that is turning into sugar and causing problems. It is ALL grain. Elaine Gottschall’s book “Breaking the Vicious Cycle” and the inventor of the SCD diet, explains it well in her book. The more you understand about what is happening in your body, the more success you will have with the diet. Your body is craving sugar because the bad bacteria want to live. Macaroni is a pasta/starch/sugar. Don’t let the desire to gain weight set you back in your progress to get past the flare. God bless you, hang in there!

  5. Tim StrobeJanuary 30, 2011 at 5:03 pm #

    First of all:

    Get out of the flare!!

    Now you have to understand, that if you want to gain weight you have to lift weights. Your body needs a reason to grow. It must be a speicific programm, cause you want to GAIN weight. There are lots of such stuff on the market. (Something like no-nonsense muscle building, from skrawny to brawny etc. will do)

    You also will need a decent amount of sleep everyday. At least 6 hours..

    How do you distribute your meals during the day? You didn’t wrote anything about that.. You should eat every 3 hours a not to big meal. (Would be 5-7 meals a day then).

    Summary:
    Calculate how many calories you body burns every day
    You’ ll need to intake more than this number.
    Distribute your meals
    Get enough sleep
    Add Weight-Lifting training

    If you follow this advices you really quickly will gain some serious weight.

    Greetz
    ProudTiger

  6. Tim StrobeJanuary 30, 2011 at 6:18 pm #

    Next one:

    How to calculate your daily calorie needs:

    1. Take your weight in lbs (if you know it in kg just multiply the value by 2.2)
    2. Multiply this by 20
    3. = your daily calorie needs to weight gain (note this is a minimum amount. you need to achieve this number day by day.)

    There are tons of other formulas for calculating the daily needs (based on BMI, work level and so on ) but this is one is straight forward and works like a charm.

    Greetz
    ProudTiger

  7. Tim StrobeJanuary 30, 2011 at 6:25 pm #

    Next one:

    How to calculate your daily calorie needs:

    1 Take your weight in lbs (If you only know it in kg, than multiply this value by 2.2)
    2. Multiply by 20
    3. ? Your daile calorie needs. (This is the minimum amount of calories you have to take in for gaining weight. You have to achieve this day by day. plus the other things from my previous post like weight training, enough sleep every day and regeneration periods between workouts.)

    There are many other formulas out there for calclulating you daily calorie needs based on BMI, work amount and so on. The one above is really straight forward and works really good for hardgainers / skinny dudes.

  8. PaulJanuary 17, 2012 at 12:13 pm #

    You can not just look at calories taken in to gain weight. Even when I am feeling slightly off my weight starts to drop. I,am 6’1″ and usually walk around at 185lbs, I have to eat a ton of calories to stay at this weight when when healthy. I drop 10 or 15 lbs in a few weeks when feeling off. Human metabolism is very complex, I could eat 10,000 calories a day when flared and still loose weight.
    . I would concentrate on eating lots of healthy fats, ie. free range eggs, meat, fish, sardines, along with potatoes and rice. Stay away from sugar, flour, it is really not healthy for anyone.
    Lift weights 3 times per week, for half hour to 45 minutes, don’t do,any cardio, you don’t need to burn any extra calories.

  9. oliviaJanuary 16, 2013 at 6:27 pm #

    i am trying to gain my weight back too i have no clue how to do it. as of right now i only weigh 118 pounds and usually weight aroun 130.

  10. sonjaJanuary 29, 2013 at 3:52 pm #

    I to have lost weight due to my diarreha. I have gained a lot of insight on what can be done. Ti will have to try different things ubtil I find what is right for me. Thank you.

  11. PhilipFebruary 16, 2013 at 11:57 am #

    I have lost about 12 pounds in last 6 months. Went to GI doc Thursday, he isnt concerned with weight loss. I certainly am. I very self-conscious, I hate when people say, “oh, you’ve lost so much weight.” My back and shoulders feel bony. PLEASE tell me how to put weight on fast, before I become a hermit.

  12. EmilyJune 11, 2013 at 7:47 pm #

    Hi all,
    I’ve been struggling with putting on weight since my diagnosis. My preliminary goal is ten pounds heavier than I am now, but ultimately about 20. I am nervous about making this happen quickly, as I am in the performance business and entering my final year of school, which means lots of auditions. Looking malnourished never helps with casting. Naturally, I am looking to gain healthy weight and muscle weight. I have a really tough time getting to the gym, so I have been doing some home workouts with light weights— I am always looking for more recommendations on exercises I can do at home, as I squeeze these in when I get the chance. Any suggestions? (I’m doing yoga frequently too— LOVE IT). I’ve seen an increase in muscle, but not weight.

    I am also looking for protein powders or drinks that don’t aggravate me. Lately I have used dairy protein drinks, but I think that I shouldn’t continue that because of the inflammatory effects of dairy, and I don’t want to throw myself into a flare up because of my own stupidity. I used to have to take lactate pills, but since going gluten free, I’ve found my tolerance of dairy has actually improved. BUT I don’t want to abuse it! I’m wondering if anyone has recommendations for powders that are dairy free AND soy free, as I am soy sensitive as well. (What a year it’s been!) I’ve been looking into Hemp protein powders… anyone know if that can help?

    Sorry this is a jumbled bunch of questions! I’m recently diagnosed and just now making my peace with it and trying to reach out. I realize a big part of weight loss can be stress— and I am working on that as well! Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    • Caroline
      CarolineJune 12, 2013 at 6:09 pm #

      Hi Emily! Gaining weight is really tough when you are trying to heal and your body isn’t absorbing anything. I think everyone has to figure out what works for them and helps in gaining the weight, while adding nutrients and most importantly, not further irritating our guts! It’s a tall order.

      I was wary of powders – they just seemed to have a lot of ingredients and I was nervous about that. For me, the plainer the better! I tinkered around with smoothies, and fell in love with this one. It is chock full of healthy fat and made my tummy very happy. So happy that I gained back every last ounce of weight I lost. :)

      Coconut milk (full fat, from a can, organic)
      1 frozen banana
      2 raw pastured eggs
      1 packet VSL #3 DS (prescription probiotic – if you aren’t taking a probiotic I strongly recommend them)
      1-2 scoops L-Glutamine (helps to heal the intestinal lining – use more if you are bleeding)
      1 tsp organic cocoa powder (or you can make it with a few strawberries or blueberries for flavor – very good!)

      Good luck to you! This diagnosis is a doozy and there is so much to learn and try. I was just diagnosed in January and it’s been quite a journey so far – fortunately I am in remission and loving every day! It’s easy to get overwhelmed and stressed out – please know that it gets better and you will learn what works for you. This is a great place for support – hang in there!

  13. SheilaApril 23, 2014 at 1:17 pm #

    Hello Adam,
    I am new to your site but with hope of finding help with weight gain. I was diagnosed in 2013 with ulcerative colitis, and I too chose to do the alternative
    route with SCD diet and supplements. After 4 months I got the biles undercontrol
    and thought i was on my way to recovery until a month ago I came down with the stomach flu, causing me to even more weight, which my doctor have already told me on my last visit, not to do.
    Now I have turned around a got the flu a second time, loosing even more weight, and look very malnurist, and in a very weak state. I take a good multi vit, Omega-3, L-Glutathine, D3, B6, good probiotic, HCL for digestion, B12. Don’t know what to do. Can you give any advise so this would not lead me to the hospital? I truly are in diar straights.

    • AdamApril 23, 2014 at 4:14 pm #

      Hi Sheila,

      Figuring out how to put on or take off weight with UC is for sure not an easy thing. It sounds like you’ve figured out the UC side of things but are in the middle of awful bouts back to back of the flu. For sure getting the flu squared away will be a big help to your body overall, and I surely would hope that if you have healed your colon and are eating good meals throughout the day, your body should slowly gain back some of the weight you’ve lost. There’s for sure a chance you may not ever get back to your pre-UC weight, that is different for everyone. For me, it was several years of life with the SCD dieting and staying healthy (and not getting sick with other stuff) before I was putting pounds back on. I have not gotten back to the 165 pound level I was several years before my diagnosis, but I hover around 157-160 which is pretty darn close.

      As far as outside the box ideas…I’m not sure if you do lots and lots of excercise, but if that’s something you do excessively, that’s something you might want to consider toning down on (especially while getting over things like the flu of course). As for foods with high calories since SCD foods are often pretty low on them, you could look at some of the higher calorie things like almond flour based cooking. But I myself tend not to suggest that to others since that stuff is often hard to digest and can lead to going backwards with UC symptoms returning if it gets out of control. Better I think is to up the high quality protein stuff like fish and chicken in my opinion. Not tons of calories, but good stuff in there that’s easier to digest in my experiences.

      More than anything, stay positive, and realize it takes lots of time for many people to put back on weight, but its for sure possible.

      Best to you,
      Adam

  14. GavinJune 25, 2014 at 4:13 pm #

    Omni diet is also really helpful, just fine tune it to your own sensitivity. However, she recommends lots of raw veggies which can be a huge problem while in a flare.

    1600 asacol X 3

  15. BredaAugust 12, 2014 at 12:08 pm #

    So fed up, diagnosed 20 yrs ago, never got any better just got used to it ( manageable) Recently moved to a warm climate, eating well, not had a flare but losing soo much weight, in two months gone from 50 kg to 41, taking protein drinks but still losing…..

    • AdamAugust 12, 2014 at 10:50 pm #

      Hi Breda,
      I’m super sorry to hear things are not going well for you with regards to the weight gain/loss. It is strange that you’re continuing to lose weight even though your symptoms are gone. If you’re eating a normal amount of calories each day, that shouldn’t be happening(way different story if you were also experiencing active symptoms, but doesn’t sound like that’s the case). Id suggest you talk with your doctor, maybe a blood test might reveal something else that is happening. no matter what, congrats on getting your symptoms under control:)

  16. Cindy BlaseAugust 13, 2014 at 6:53 am #

    Dear Brenda,
    My son has UC, and it is a severe case just diagnosed in March of this year. The GI said he is the worst case he has seen. Have you done the SCD diet? My son strictly adhears to the diet, home made yogurt, chicken bone broth soup, and broiled chicken, beef and fish, puréed vegtibles, no processed foods, grain or sugar. We make all his meals, twice a week, and put them in travel containers. He refused to do Humira, and has tapered off prednisone, and is currently on Lialda only. He is symptom free now. We believe the diet is essential. He originally lost 45 pounds in 6 weeks, and is slowly regaining the weight. He has gained 10 pounds as of today. He has finally started light weight lifting. Building back slowly. All doctors recommend drugs, not diet, but it is the digestive system so “cause” is important to figure out. Elaine Gottschall’s book Breaking the vicious cycle, started us of the current track that appears to really be helping. Hope this helps, I’ll keep you posted!

  17. CatSeptember 5, 2014 at 8:50 pm #

    Hey there! I just came across this thread because I also really want to gain weight. Lately I have been feeling progress (except for a bad setback this week) but it frustrates me that I am still so skinny!! And I know I have to wait until I am healed, but that’s not much help!

    Anyway, I noticed a few people here looking for a protein shake. I was doing the same thing last week (found out I’m malnourished, no suprise, haha), and I found Vega One nutritional shake. It’s dairy, gluten, and soy free (although it may not be safe for SCD-I saw rice protein on the list-sorry guys!!). It has 50% DV of tons of vitamins and minerals, as well as omega 3s, probiotics, etc. It is also plant based, and counts as a serving or two of veggies (which is part of why I bought it).

    The serving size is huge-and it has 6 g of fiber…so I only take about a tablespoon in a cup of kefir, since its new for me and I’m always cautious about new stuff. So far it’s been going well! They also have a plant-based protein powder, but I chose this one because of the nutrition. I know a lottt of nutritional/protein powders have lots of bad stuff in them, so maybe this will be helpful to someone else on here :)

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