Tips for Gaining Weight???

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Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 1284
   Posted 3/26/2009 5:25 PM (GMT -7)   
Bear with me for a few moments... I've been stressing out more than I usually do, so some odd things have struck me here and there that I've become very concerned about. One is my weight... I'm only 114 pounds. If I didn't have Crohn's disease, this probably wouldn't concern me too much... but...

Since I do have Crohn's disease, it's become a concern of mine because... if I were to have a really bad flare with Crohn's in which I lost a lot of weight... well.... I'm already small as it is... Losing a lot of weight as I am now could be pretty dangerous. :(...

I've been trying to do things to gain weight (I suppose it doesn't help for a brief period, I was low on food, but that isn't a problem now)... But nothing I do seems to be working. I drink Ensure... I eat... I've even stuffed myself a few times (which isn't really a good thing for me to do since it always makes me feel so bloated and nauseous afterwards)...

I dunno if eating fattening foods would be an answer or not... Because that doesn't strike me as a very healthy thing to do... (I tend to forego red meats... and I'm lactose intolerant, so dairy is out of the question.)

I'm at a loss... It almost makes me miss being on prednisone... But... not quite, for obvious reasons. tongue
I think I am being picked on by life, sometimes. But's that okay. Life and I are good buddies... I know life doesn't mean no harm. It just is the way it is. I can accept that.

New Member

Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 11
   Posted 3/26/2009 6:09 PM (GMT -7)   
Its very hard to gain weight drink carnation instant breakfast helps me out and eat 5 small meals a day instead of 3 big ones

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 14995
   Posted 3/27/2009 6:40 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Celey I agree with Cronicpain90. I know you are lactose intolerant, but you could get lactose free milk and put with the Carnation Instant breakfast and add a scoop of ice cream in it. Thats what they gave me in the hospital and they called it a protein shake. I also eat 6 small meals a day vs 3 large ones.
Gail*Nanners* Co-Moderator for Anxiety/Panic Forum
Been living with Crohn's Disease for 33 years. Currently on Asacol, Prilosec, Estrace, Prinivil, Diltiazem, Percoset prn for pain, Zofran, Phenergan, Probiotics, and Calcium and Xanax as needed. Resections in 2002 and 2005. Also diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and Osteoarthritis and Anxiety. Currently my Crohns is in remission.
*Every tomorrow has two handles.  We can take hold of it by the handle of anxiety, or by the handle of faith"*

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 6927
   Posted 3/27/2009 7:05 AM (GMT -7)   
creamy pb worked well for me
Forum Co-moderator - Crohn's Disease:_All comments have the caveat contact your local health care provider.

I will find a way or make one. –Phillip Sidney 1554-1586

All that I am and all that I shall ever be, I owe to my Angel Mother.

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Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2005
Total Posts : 637
   Posted 3/27/2009 11:04 AM (GMT -7)   
To gain weight, it's going to be more about getting good nutrition, than eating stuff high in calories. Your body may not, and proably will not absorb the fats, of say a cheeseburger.(I assume you are not on pred. if you are asking about how to gain weight)

You can also exercise, maybe start with some light weights. I can't wait myself to get back in the gym. That is the best thing I have seen for weight gain, and good weight gain(muscle mass).
CD dx @ 13 (1987)
Prednisone 8mg every other day
Imuran 100mg day -- Stoppped March 09
Celexa 20mg day
Pain Meds -- Morphine Sulfate
Vitamins + B12 Injections Once Per Week
Gallbladder Resection -- 3/19/09 -- Fingers crossed

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 414
   Posted 3/27/2009 12:52 PM (GMT -7)   

I was recently in the same situation as you - I weighed 101 pounds and was terrified of flaring up again as I lose about 5kg/10 pounds a week when I flare and there was no way my body could have afforded that not without doing serious damage.

I've managed to gain back about 8 pounds, lots of meal replacement shakes (drunk as drinks between meals, made with lactose-free milk) and lots of carbs (I can't have a lot of fibre so that was lots of white breads and pastas) and also I started swimming which has helped me build muscle so thats boosted my weight a bit and increased my appetite a lot.

I tried eating bad/fatty food at one point to try and gain weight - I had mcdonalds or pizza every day for a week - and I LOST more weight! darn fat malabsorption, also didn't give me particularly pleasant stools so I'd be careful trying to get calories from bad foods as if you have absorption issues it could have the opposite affect - as well as being unhealthy generally!


Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 1284
   Posted 3/27/2009 1:21 PM (GMT -7)   
I probably could stand to exercise more... Carnation Instant Breakfast.... I'll have to try that sometime...

Peanut butter is a no-go.... It doesn't like me very much tummy-wise... and it tends to make my constipation worse....

Thanks for the tips, everyone... *Gaining weight has always been difficult for me, but I really think I need to gain some pounds, so I'm prepared for the worst*
I think I am being picked on by life, sometimes. But's that okay. Life and I are good buddies... I know life doesn't mean no harm. It just is the way it is. I can accept that.

Becoming undone
Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 927
   Posted 3/27/2009 1:26 PM (GMT -7)   
My father in law had to gain weight after a bout of chemo and raditation...He used 2 products (1) Juven and (2) Benecalorie (sp?). Either can be added to ensure or yogurt or whatever. The oncologist recommended these to him and it really seemed to help him...
"The earth laughs in flowers"

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 2113
   Posted 3/27/2009 2:50 PM (GMT -7)   
Eat nut butters they are high in good fats, protein and calories.
Add olive oil to anything that has a sause
Drizzle olive oil over prepared chicken
Butter on anything that tastes good with it.
And yes small meals instead of large ones

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2008
Total Posts : 493
   Posted 3/27/2009 3:16 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi--I'm 5'2" have been down to 93lbs recently with my ileostomy and proctocolectomy. I was probably even lower with the water I've been retaining. However, I'm slowly gaining weight--97 this am--YAY.

First, I want to recommend this book I just checked out of the library: Cooking Well for the Unwell by Eileen Behan. She explains how difficult it is both to eat as the patient and to cook as the caregiver--especially if you are caring for yourself. She has a number of great recipes for gaining weight and a whole program of 100 calories and hour for those who are in dire need of strength. Also, high protein, low fat, high fat, etc.

As suggested by folks on this board, I've been eating small meals every 2-3--even in the middle of the night! once my appetite woke up, there was no stopping. This week I am eating small meals at 6am, 8:30am, 11:30am, 1:30pm. 4pm, 6pm, 8pm, and 11pm. I've been getting up around 3:15am for a few pita chips or cookies.

lots of chix broth
eggos with syrup
grilled bread with cheese (cracker barrell has no lactose) and canadian bacon.
shrimp cocktail
muffins --plain with jelly in the middle and a good spot of butter (my mom made a ton for me)
lasagna with lots of low fat ground meat and little ricotta
baked ruffles
jello with canned peaches and cool whip (sometimes over cake)

I still can't take a lot of the foods I should (such as chix and grilled fish) but I'm trying. The key for me is high protein and eating what I crave (Thanks to advice from this site)--at this point, I just need to eat. I seem to do the best with bacon, canadian bacon, snacking on instant pudding made with lactaid and thickened with cool whip, pita chips, cookies like social teas and arrowroots that are made for babies. Tasty sandwiches of turkey, bacon, lactose free cheese, tomato, thousand island dressing. I have a grill pan and have been grilling my bread, english muffins, etc..

This may sound silly as I am 37 years old, but have folks around me offering food and helping to get it, talking to me and keeping me company while I eat has been helpful. My brother has been going out to lunch with me once a week and I've been surprised at how much I eat just because my mood is better.

Good luck--we're in this together!
24+ years with Crohn's/colitis; fistulizing crohn's; ileostomy and proctocolectomy; propranolol and xanax; been on a ton of crohn's meds; praying to get through each day.

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 289
   Posted 3/27/2009 10:42 PM (GMT -7)   
I have had Carnation Instant Breakfast (CIB) for breakfast every day since I was in High School and doing the family grocery shopping. After I was diagnosed I began adding a scoop of EAS, a high protein source using whey.*:IE-Address&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&sourceid=ie7&rlz=1I7GGIC_en
I also just saw my GI specialist on Monday and she (and I) will be working towards putting 5-10# on me. I am currently at about 120, but I feel I would be better off around 130, which had been my normal weight pre-Crohn's. She suggested more meals, more vegetables (I'm anemic) and more meats/proteins, trying to have a meat at every meal. This may be difficult, because for some reason, meat is very unappealing to me right now. I also have evening nausea, though if I can talk to someone (husband at home or friend on phone) it is enough to distract me from the nausea and I can eat. I don't have nausea after I eat. Another thing my GI wants me to do, and I haven't done it yet, because it just sounds nasty, is to add 2Tablespoons of corn oil to my CIB. I don't think I could do that...and I'm even more unsure if I could just drink the 2T alone...
Anyhow, I'll join you in trying to gain weight.
I have the ability of single-minded determination and accurate project focu....Hey, look, a cat!
Crohn's and UC are pretty darn crappy, but if you can't laugh at yourself, you'll cry......I'd much rather laugh.
2001 Dx'd with UC.  No remission.  No improvement with Remicade.  5/2008 surgery, removal of 6" of left side colon.  Dx changed to Crohn's.  Remission for 8-9wks after surgery, symptoms returned after resuming 6MP.  Changed maintenance med to Methotrexate (MTX) and had great results with IM injections.  Nausea and symptoms returning with oral MTX.  Switched back to IM injections and am slowly improving.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 947
   Posted 3/28/2009 5:33 AM (GMT -7)   
I cannot gain weight either. I can eat and eat and even eat alot of ice cream and still not gain a pound. I don't know if it is my Crohns or my metabolism that prevents me form gaining weight.

Anxious to hear of any possibilities
Diagnosed with Crohns in 2001
First and hopefully last Ileocecectomy 2/18/2009

Medications: Asacol, Folic Acid, Multivitamin, Dbl. Calcium, Probiotics, Protonix, Monthly B-12 injections.

Living a Great life with my Wife and my two Chocolate Labs
Hunter & Hailey.
I love them dearly.

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 274
   Posted 3/28/2009 8:01 AM (GMT -7)   
I was glad to see these posts... I complain about not being able to gain weight quite a bit.. only to be scowled at by anyone around me as most ppl have the opposite problem. I am about 5'7 and only about 115. When I had my last flare up I was a healthy and happy 130 and went down to 99 pounds in less than 5 months. I have slowly been climbing the ladder but seem stuck at this 115. I would like to be back to my "safe weight" of 130 again. I eat lots of pastas, meat, carnation breakfast also. I find since I have stayed away from sodas and greasy foods the weight just melts off. If I go back to them, however, I can't gain anything back.. all I gain is more trips to the bathroom!! Being "lean" is nice but I don't feel comfortable with it.. as I am also scared of gettin sick again and having no "safe weight" to lose. I don't go to the gym.. but have been thinking about it often.. maybe some lean muscle mass is the answer??
Jenn 27/female/married
Ulcerative PANCOLITIS diagnosed 2004
Asacol 800mgs 3times/day, Buscopan as needed
Daily Vitamin for Women and Folic Acid, Metamucil one tsp per day so far
Flare March-June 2008.. pretty much in remission again July

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 1289
   Posted 3/28/2009 9:25 AM (GMT -7)   
large vanilla milkshakes from baskin robbins...1200 calories and delicious!!
with a lactaid tablet of course!!!!

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 1284
   Posted 3/28/2009 12:42 PM (GMT -7)   
Ah, yeah... guess I forgot to mention my height, too... I'm 5'5 (but very close to 5'6)...

Eating so many times seems so overwhelming... That advice has been given to me a lot... But... I'll admit that I've only tried it once and found it nearly impossible.... I'm so used to eating just three times.... Sometimes, only two times with inbetween and after snacking....

I guess it doesn't help that I also worry about eating too much food at home (on seldom occasions, a friend will take me out to eat... *And I'll eat a little too much*)

I only get a set amount of money to spend on food every month... and because of a lack of transportation, I try to buy everything I need for a month all in one go.... I'm afraid if I eat too many times each day, I won't have anything left for the rest of the month, and end up going hungry until my food stamps come in again...
I think I am being picked on by life, sometimes. But's that okay. Life and I are good buddies... I know life doesn't mean no harm. It just is the way it is. I can accept that.

Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 241
   Posted 3/29/2009 11:24 PM (GMT -7)   
I wish that I could be of more help.  Right now, I am 5'8 and 115.  Wow, my gastro doctor doesn't even seem worried.  Although I weighed 148 a few months ago.  Started me on Humira and hasn't even ordered a blood test.  Gotta love the health care system in the US!

New Member

Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 3/30/2009 4:35 PM (GMT -7)   
It seems like gaining weight is a constant strugle here too. I am 6'2" and at one point was down to 114lbs. I can eat like there is no tommorrow shortly after a flare up, my appetiate goes back to my high school days, but gaining weight is hard. The only thing I can add is that I really focus on gaining muscle mass between flare ups. I live in the mtn's and love to hike, camp, hunt, etc, so my muscle mass is a huge part of my life style. Have yet to meet a body builder with an IBD, but as much as I can get. I find low impact exercise is the only way to gain weight. Cardio just makes me lose more weight. I do a lot of small evening hikes after work.
Diagnosed with Crohn's 05, One surgery going on two, Pentassa, Immuran, Prednisone

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