Trying to gain weight...

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Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 115
   Posted 11/29/2009 9:19 AM (GMT -7)   
My husband has had Chron's for the past 11 years and he desperately wants to gain weight.  He seems to be getting over a flare with the addition of Remicaide infusions which started about 2 months ago. He currently weighs 125# and it is such a self esteem issue for him--I think he looks great and is very handsome but this issue really bothers him.   I am wondering if anyone has experienced this or has had success with weight gain.  I appreciate the tips!
~Andrea, wife of Chron's disease patient
  Currently on Remicaide, Prilosec, B12, MVI, Lomotil, & Elavil

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 1070
   Posted 11/29/2009 9:51 AM (GMT -7)   
I am having weight gain success and I am NOT happy about it. I am not sure if it is because I am almost 50, I learned to eat more in a single sitting than I used to, past use or prednisone or what but now for the first time in my life I have to stop myself from eating all that I want. This despite the fact that I walk six miles a day!

If this is truly a concern of his I would suggest weight lifting. Not easy when you are already tired out by the disease and something I could never do......boring. Other sports like hiking or racquetball could help build muscle mass.

If not too sexist I could suggest that you cook things that he loves to eat! If $$$$ allows going on cruises is a good way to gain weight and for me it is the only way I can comfortably travel. My wife goes on shore trips while I stay on the boat where the toilets are readily availble. My wife finds incredibly cheap cruise deals and we save all year (after years of saving) to go.
Finally, Be careful what you wish for? :)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 1034
   Posted 11/29/2009 5:24 PM (GMT -7)   
put him in the gym. minimal cardio, do mostly weight training. go slow to work up to it. the amount of weight doesnt matter, what does is proper form and quality of workout. high weight & low reps is a way to gain strength. higher reps (min 6-8 per set, depending on exercise and muscle) is good for size/mass.

go to for workout tips and routines. this is a great site my brother, who is a certified personal trainer, told me about. you dont need to work out every day as the muscles need time to rest and grow. depending on your routine, your husband may be going 3-5 times per week.

as for eating, this is probably more important than the workout. eat clean food. ie unprocessed whole food. you dont need those big tubs of protein and bar foods. most are just junk. just eat more. calories = mass. but you want the right kind of mass, hence the right type of food and working out. stay way from soy - it is not a healthfood. fat is good for you (even saturated fat). eat fat with grains. stay away from sugar and HFCS. eat more fruits and vegetables and nuts. at a minimum, start at 40-30-30 carb/protein/fat ratio. start eating 4 small meals per day with snacks. if you can, increase to 5 meals when you work out more intensely. carbs should be like oatmeal (not instant), sprouted whole grains, quinoa, brown rice fruits and vegetables. NOT whitebread, pastries, and sugary cereals. go easy on pasta, white rice, and potatoes as these are high glycemic foods. if you do eat them, do it right after a workout as this is when your muscles are starved for energy and is when you want to carb dope.

if you get a trainer, do it for only a couple sessions so he can get familiar with the equipment and what not. from my observations, most of them just want to chit chat and slow you down and dont push you and have you doing odd ball exercises, like doing weights on a ball or an unbalanced platform - a recipe for injury and not gaining muscle.

if you must do cardio, go swimming. great for shoulders, abs, and back.

dont forget about your legs! they suck to do, but are like half your body. nothing looks lamer than a guy with a ripped upper body but with chicken legs.
Crazy Harry

Crohn's since 1993 (17 yrs old then)
surgery in July '05 - removal of 2 inches at ileum and 8 inches of sigmoid colon (had fistula into bladder)
Nov '05 developed colonic inertia; July '06 told i needed ostomy surgery
began maker's diet in August '06 - now feeling the best ever with no symptoms of colonic inertia and i kept my colon
med free as of 10/31/07

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 3763
   Posted 11/30/2009 6:49 AM (GMT -7)   
I always refer back to a book I have called "Cooking Well for the Unwell" by Eileen Behan. One of the chapters is how to help someone gain weight after an illness. She recommends 100 calorie meal plan, but it could be used as a supplement to a regular diet for snacks. These are not overly filling, so your husband would still be able to eat at the next regular meal or snack time. But they are nutritious high calorie foods to help gain back weight and strength.

Some examples:

1 Lg Egg, 1/2 C Cottage Cheese, 1 T Peanut Butter, 1 Oz Hard Cheese, 1/3 C Tuna w/Mayo

6 Oz Whole Milk, 4 Oz Fruit Whole Milk Yogurt, 1/3 C Pudding or Custard (made w/Whole Milk)

2 C Cooked Broc, Carrots or Cauliflower, 3 - 4 C Leafy Greens

8 Oz Fruit Juice, 1 1/2 C Fresh Berries, 1 Apple, Pear, Peach or Banana

1 Biscuit, 1 1/2 Slices Bread, 3/4 C Cereal, 1/2 Pasta, 1 Med. Muffin, Pancake, or Waffle, 8 Saltine Crackers

So if your husband had 8 crackers spread with 2 T of peanut butter as a mid morning snack and then for a mid afternoon snack had a piece of fruit with a few ounces of cheese, then after dinner a nice dish of pudding. Right there he has increased his daily calorie intake by maybe 800 calories. Not really a lot of food, but if he keeps it up on a daily basis, it would add up until he gets to the weight he wants, then just gradually take out one snack a day so that he can maintain his weight.

I'm sure there are lots of list of foods and there calorie counts and you can come up with a huge list of snacks that would work. My idea is that you want to keep it to a low volume-high calorie food so that he is still hungry later. Most ready to go things are made to fill us up so we can keep going, not what you really want.

CD 20 years officially, 30 unofficially. 3 resections '93, '95 '97
Managing with strict low residue diet, keeping symptoms to a minimum. All test show small amount of ulceration, still have occasional blockages. But still have a great time with my 2 daughters and husband!

Prednisone, 6MP,Prevacid, B12 shots, Bentyl, Xifaxan.....

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 14995
   Posted 11/30/2009 7:32 AM (GMT -7)   
My docs at one time put me on a six small meal a day plan. Helped to put on the extra weight. Kinda like what Zanne is describing. Good luck!
Gail*Nanners* Co-Moderator for Crohns Disease and Anxiety/Panic Forum
Crohn's Disease for over 33 years. Currently on Asacol, Prilosec, Estrace, Prinivil, Diltiazem, Percoset prn for pain, Zofran, Phenergan, Probiotics, Calcium  w/Vit D, and Xanax as needed. Resections in 2002 and 2005. Also diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, Osteoarthritis, and Anxiety. Currently my Crohns is in remission, but my joints are going crazy!
It's scary when you start making the same noises As your coffee maker.
*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 Mar 2009
Total Posts : 1118
   Posted 11/30/2009 10:09 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi, I too have stuggled with my weight when i fell ill last september went down to 7 half stone which was really underweight for my height i'm 5ft 9, was put on TPN i reached 71/2 so they could operate. Once home i wouldn't go out because i was so thin and hated the way i looked it has taken me till now to get to 91/2 stone and keeps on coming now which i'm glad about, still need to be another stone heavier. i eat little and often which is better than eating 3 big meals i eat alot of pasta, white bread, greek yougurt, pate as well as fruit.
i'm also in a better place right now than i was 6 months ago (due to other issues as well) which helps, and myself esteem is on its way back up. if i am stressed i seem to lose weight because i don't eat much thats unfortunatly the way i deal with it were as some people tend to eat more when stressed.
i have heard some people also say about they gain weight from being on remicade so if thats the case that will help your husband once he sees some weight going on it will put him in a better frame of mind and give him the confidence to keep going. One thing i have learnt is it takes a darn sight longer to gain weight than to lose it with this disease!!! wishing your husband all the very best and tell him to hang on in there! there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Bev x smilewinkgrin
Diagnosed with crohn's at 13 now 42
resection, right hemi 1993 In remmision from 93 till last sept with no meds or docs
2 resections small bowel  and fistula jan 09 and given temp stoma.  reversal 1st week of Jan. Meds:Pentasa 500mg 3x day,  B12 shots, every 3 months, iron syrup,loperimide,folic acid,  citalopram 60mg (for Anxiety.)

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