WIAW: Making Gains

by Meg on June 12, 2013

Good morning! :D

Today’s WIAW includes my eats from yesterday and some tips on how I’ve made gains with my new routine!

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wiaw june 12

1. Greek Yogurt Bowl made with Oikos 2% plain Greek yogurt, Muesli Fusion, and a splash of almond milk to thin

2. Toasted Fried Egg Sandwich made with Silver Hills Bakery bread, 2 two whole eggs, and tomato slices

3. Oat ‘n Strawberry Protein Shake made with almond milk, vanilla protein powder, strawberries, oats, and ice (recipe here)

4. Peanut Butter and Jelly Quest bar 

5. BBQ Chicken Dinner of one chicken leg, one chicken thigh, roasted sweet potatoes, roasted vegetables, and shredded lettuce

6. Cottage Cheese Bowl made with 2% cottage cheese

Unpictured – peanuts, Greek yogurt, one chicken thigh, water, and tea ;)

Meg’s Tips & Tricks for Gaining

- Step away from the fat free/non fat/0% M.F. dairy! I buy 2% or full fat dairy products such as yogurt and cottage cheese and find this to be a very easy way to increase my overall calories. Not to mention… higher fat dairy products are so much more delicious than their fat free counterparts!

- Eat whole eggs! I can’t even remember the last time I bought or ate egg whites and I used to have them all of the time, but if you’re looking to gain, ditch the whites and start eating whole eggs!

- Add oats to your postworkout shakes! I’ve recently started to add in 1/2 cup oats to my postworkout shakes in addition to a piece of fruit. In the past I was only including a piece of fruit in my postworkout shakes, but the addition of oats definitely helps with achieving gains more quickly!

- Have snacks packed with you at all times! You never know when hunger will strike! I always have nuts and Quest bars in my purse!

- Broaden your horizons and eat something other than just chicken breast and other lean meats. I used to buy packs upon packs of chicken breasts from Costco, but not anymore! I’ve been buying whole chickens lately and either barbecuing or roasting them. Chicken legs and thighs are my favourite and their nutrient rich! Yet another easy way to increase your calories without increasing volume.

- Use fats liberally! Roast your potatoes, vegetables, etc. with your favourite oils

- Forget portion sizes and macronutrient ratios! Just eat!

- Snack! I snack on nuts constantly throughout my days. My current favourites are pecans, cashews, and walnuts. I also snack on avocados, chicken legs/thighs, Healthy Bites, and so on.

A lot of people told me it wasn’t the best idea to “eat intuitively” if I was looking to gain and that I should be on some sort of meal plan, but I stuck with my gut and ditched my meal plan and began to allow myself to eat whatever, whenever.

I found myself still feeling hungry approximately every 2 – 3 hours, so I usually do end up eating 6 times a day. This is what works for me.

I’m proud to say I’ve been successful at gaining this way and my tips and tricks have definitely helped me get to where I am today.

Love food, have fun with it, and enjoy every moment of this beautiful life you have!

Love always,

Meg xo

{ 55 comments… read them below or add one }

Kim @ Hungry Healthy Girl June 12, 2013 at 9:09 AM

Looks like some great eats! I don’t need any help with gaining, but these are some great tips for those that do.

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caterina June 12, 2013 at 10:00 AM

Great tips! I am trying to gain weight as well, and I have recently stopped buying low fat/fat free dairy products: full fat is really the way to go! Much more flavor and, I think, also more nutrients, as full fat product are less processed than their lower fat versions.
I have also found that increasing my carbs is an easy way to up calories: oatmeal, pasta, rice, bread, potatoes and other grains are very calorie-dense foods and easy to digest (at least for me). For a long time I was afraid of eating more than a little portion of them, but now I’m stepping outside of my comfort zone and embracing big bowls of pasta (my fave! I’m Italian, btw:) )

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Meg June 13, 2013 at 6:49 AM

Carbs are definitely another great tip to add to the list :) I’ve done that too and it has helped! Not sure how I forgot that one!

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Hannah June 12, 2013 at 10:11 AM

Congratulations on gaining weight, that’s wonderful!
I’m more or less done gaining and have learnt a lot in the process – not least how to let go of the silly dichotomy of ‘healthy’/’unhealthy’ foods. Different foods are good for different reasons, and when you’re trying to gain, foods that are typically labelled unhealthy can be your best friend, because they help speed up the process as they’re usually easy for your body to digest and utilise.
Here are some simple tips of how to increase your calories even further:
- Add some nut butter and/or honey to your muesli bowl, and perhaps some dark chocolate chips.
- Swap the low fat yoghurt for authentic Greek or Turkish yoghurt (the ‘real’ stuff is 10% fat, and tastes so much better – plus you can use it for cooking as well, which doesn’t really work that well with the low fat stuff).
- Butter your bread and add a slice or two of nice mature cheese (such as cheddar) to your sandwiches.
- Have a buttered bread roll with your dinner, and perhaps some aioli (which is mayonnaise based and therefore high in calories) for dipping your chicken in, or some home made coleslaw instead of the plain lettuce.
- Add a big handful of nuts to your cottage cheese bowl.
- And finally – eat chocolate! By adding a regular sized (i.e. 40-50 g) dark chocolate bar to your daily eats you can add up to 350 calories (depending on the brand) without much effort! And dark chocolate is so good for you, full of antioxidants. I recommend Green and Black’s 85% cocoa (organic and fair trade – and delicious).

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Meg June 13, 2013 at 6:50 AM

Thanks for all of your tips Hannah :) I’ve been quite successful on how I’ve been approaching it, though :)

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Thais @ Eats n Miles June 12, 2013 at 10:29 AM

Hi Meg! Your eats look great! I have a question for you… when you talk about gains do you mean gaining muscle, or just gaining weight in general? Thanks! Keep up the good work

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Meg June 13, 2013 at 6:51 AM

Well, with heavy lifting/resistance training/etc. and eating good foods the majority of your gains will be muscle. I’m at a healthy weight now as my body functions properly, so just looking to gain more muscle mass, but with that will come fat, too, which I am ok with as well. So, overall, just weight :)

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Lisa June 12, 2013 at 10:54 AM

You forgot the #1 tip… eat complex carbs!

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De @ Cooking for the Other Half June 12, 2013 at 11:16 AM

Awesome post, and great tips! Your photos look great — that egg sandwich looks especially delicious.

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Lisa June 12, 2013 at 11:31 AM

I’m so proud of you for stepping outside your meal plan and getting uncomfortable with some of those eats. Those are definitely great tips while making gains! And you’re doing great – you have to do what works for you.
If you want to eat intuitively that’s awesome!
Congrats again my friend!

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Jolynn @ Lift Pray Love June 12, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Boom shakalaka!! Good tips friend!

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Katie @ Peace Love and Oats June 12, 2013 at 1:35 PM

Yay quest bars! Needless to say, I’m obsessed… Pretty sure I eat one every day…

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Nicole @ FruitnFitness June 12, 2013 at 3:02 PM

I’m glad you are finding success with what works for you! I don’t need to gain any weight, but I kind of just eat what I want to. Roasted veggies are SO much better when covered in coconut oil and egg yolks are really good for you! I’m forwarding your tips onto a friend of mine who is trying hard to gain weight with no success and hopefully this will help. She has a crazy fast metabolism and works riding horses and being active all day so she feels like it’s hard to gain without turning to unhealthy fasts foods that are overloaded with calories.

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Meg June 13, 2013 at 6:52 AM

Thanks for sharing this with her Nicole, you’re such a sweet friend to us both :D <3

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lindsay June 12, 2013 at 3:06 PM

i love you friend. what great gains and FOOD! thanks for including healthy bites. And i agree, the body responds when you listen. It’s gaining life and muscle with all the good food.

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Meg June 13, 2013 at 6:53 AM

Exactly! And how could I not include healthy bites!? I need to do a full out review on them :D

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Lucie June 12, 2013 at 3:21 PM

Love the tips. Great work, Meg!!

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She Rocks Fitness June 12, 2013 at 3:40 PM

LOVE that you snack on chicken legs and thighs…it just made me laugh out loud! Great tips Meg and your eats look mighty fabulous, especially the egg sandwich…obviously! Hope you are having a great day! :)

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Meg June 13, 2013 at 6:53 AM

LOL honestly girl, I said I have one chicken thigh “unpictured” in this post… that’s cause I ate it at midnight as I was going to bed LOL

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Brittany @ FreckledNettles June 12, 2013 at 4:34 PM

Such great news! I’m so happy you are able to make gains. I’m sure that feels awesome. I’m hoping that I can follow in your footsteps sometime soon!

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Meg June 13, 2013 at 6:54 AM

You most definitely will! xoxo

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Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl June 12, 2013 at 5:31 PM

Your fried egg sandwich looks amazing!! I think that I could eat that for every meal :).

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Meg June 13, 2013 at 6:54 AM

Me too girl! :D

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Olivia @ Liv Lives Life June 12, 2013 at 6:18 PM

Great tips for those who need help gaining! I’ve never needed to (quite the opposite) but it’s still interesting to see advice to those who do!

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purelytwins June 12, 2013 at 7:33 PM

love your eats and love your tips!! yay for whole eggs and eating healthy fats!! we eat a lot of fat ;)
HUGS

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Meg June 13, 2013 at 6:54 AM

I know you girls do and I LOVE IT ;)

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Jan @ Sprouts n Squats June 12, 2013 at 8:07 PM

Sounds like you are doing so well with this, well done!

I’m starting to eat intuitively but don’t need to make gains I’m still wanting to lose weight but I’m not having that as my focus for now just focussing on listening to my body and what it needs.

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Meg June 13, 2013 at 6:55 AM

it’s great not to have a focus other than IE! I highly recommend that :) xo

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maria @ run lift life June 12, 2013 at 9:13 PM

Good job, Meg. Proud of you for doing what you need to!

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Sarah @ A Refining Adventure June 12, 2013 at 10:49 PM

Hey Meg, my question is the same as above. I’m currently trying to gain as well, but want to do so in a healthy way. Love your tips!!

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Meg June 13, 2013 at 6:56 AM

My keeping active (my favourite, resistance training/weight lifting) and eating good wholesome foods, you will gain weight in a healthy way :) trust me <3

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Linz @ Itz Linz June 12, 2013 at 11:03 PM

low fat / full fat is SO MUCH BETTER THAN FAT FREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :) :)

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Meg June 13, 2013 at 6:56 AM

Amen sista :D

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Amelie June 13, 2013 at 6:02 AM

You go Meg! Keep gaining! Awesome tips- real yoghurt has 4-6 percent fat and 10 percent for real Greek varieties- maybe look out for that. Also add in lots of easily digested grain products that are good for energy and your soul (pasta at a nice restaurant is awesome!) butter your bread thickly and butter muffins, banana bread etc- so good ;) snack on a decent portion of chocolate is always an awesome addition too- go crazy with varieties (we are talking gaining after all lol!) xo

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Meg June 13, 2013 at 6:57 AM

I mentioned that I do buy full fat if I can find it :D

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Amelie June 13, 2013 at 7:17 PM

Awesomeness that is great- you are doing so well! Everything gets easier the more you settle into your new rhythms and mindsets- loved the satisfied- not full thing you me mentioned a while ago too!

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M June 13, 2013 at 6:38 AM

What about cookies?

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Maya June 13, 2013 at 7:46 AM

Hi! I recently started following you seeing as i’ve been told i need to gain weight. I’ve started doing more weight lifting but I am nervous about eating as much as people say i need to. If you were to put a ballpark range on how many calories you intake a day what would you guess? How many days a week do you work out? And on the days you don’t are you totally laid back?

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Thais @ Eats n Miles June 13, 2013 at 10:54 AM

I was about to ask the very same thing! Approx how many calories do you eat a day?

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Meg June 18, 2013 at 6:58 AM

I have no idea. Over 2,000, though.

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april June 13, 2013 at 1:05 PM

thank you for writing this post! i’m currently trying to gain weight, so i will definitely be incorporating some of these tips into my life. the most important thing i’ve learned is to ALWAYS carry snacks with me – i’ve been loving almonds and larabars lately! i just bought 2% fage greek yogurt so i’ll also start getting more fat that way, as well.

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Meg June 18, 2013 at 6:58 AM

Good luck to you sweetie xoxo you can do it <3

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Health, Love, and Chocolate June 13, 2013 at 7:33 PM

I love that you have found a balance between intuitive eating and meal plans while still making progress and gains. :-)

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Sarah @ The Smart Kitchen June 15, 2013 at 12:21 PM

I haven’t checked in on you–at least on the blog–in a wee bit, but I’m so proud of you (still)! These really are great tips, and let me just say, there is NOTHING like switching to 2% Greek yogurt. And don’t even get me started on the full fat…holy moly…

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Meg June 18, 2013 at 6:59 AM

Oh isn’t full fat out of this world amazing? It’s really hard for me to find here, but when I do I always snatch that one!

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sloanepitman June 15, 2013 at 10:55 PM

I AM SO PROUD OF YOU! Seriously Meg, you are amazing. Not many people trust themselves enough to eat when and what their bodies tell them, but you are living proof that its not only possible, but HEALTHY and AWESOME!
You rock and I love loveloveloveloveLOOOOVEEEEE you!
XOXO

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Meg June 18, 2013 at 6:59 AM

Thanks, sweetheart! Love you so much too!

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Heather June 17, 2013 at 9:08 AM

I am seriously so proud of you, Meg. You’re such an inspiration to so many readers who feel trapped in the “healthy eating” world. I love you, sista!

I’m the same way with eating. I can’t go more than 3 hours w/o a snack or meal or I turn into a raging bee-yatch haha. I love snacking on lower sugar things like nuts, kale chips, or hummus and veggies b/c I’m super sensitive to sugar in the afternoons. :-)

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Meg June 18, 2013 at 7:00 AM

HAHAHAHAHA! I turn into a bee yatch too sis! Totally happened yesterday at grad after sitting in the ceremony for HOURS without food. I wish I packed some nuts in my bra or something ;) HAHAHAHA! Our snacks sound similar in the way that they are low in sugar and savoury ;)

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Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets June 18, 2013 at 9:16 PM

I’m glad intuitive eating is helping you and it sounds like you are making some great gains (get it, ha, ha). Good for you.
I actually eat the way you describe on a daily basis, along with the addition of complex carbs, muchos veggies and fats with attitude (hello cheese), and eating this way allows me to maintain my current weight. I’m not looking to lose, and I’m not looking to gain so it works for me. I’m happy, healthy, and I love my food. At the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about. I’m glad you’re on your way there too.

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Kierston @candyfit June 21, 2013 at 10:43 AM

The body is definitely happy when you listen to what it wants and feed it right :)

Great job on your gains!

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Caitlyn June 25, 2013 at 5:10 PM

Hey Meg! Love your site.
Over the past few years I have suffered from disordered eating. Thinking I was … better, I went to my doctor for a routine weigh-in to ensure my weight was stable. It wasn’t. I am 5’8 and 118 lbs, with muscle and very little fat. :(
They want me to gain weight. So reading your posts have been very helpful.
Furthermore, I also have been addicted to the ‘scale’. Everything, mushrooms included… even spinach at times, were weighted. For the past four days, I’ve weighed very little.
Your tips are great and if you have any others, I’d love to hear them.
The only difference is, I need to reduce my work outs. Did your nutritionist say anything about your exercising? She doesn’t want me to do any high cardio, focus more on yoga and weights. She said I can do walk/light jog intervals twice a week or so if I want.

Anyways, awesome post :)
You’re beautiful.

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Meg June 27, 2013 at 10:10 AM

Ok, so in the past I was told NOT to do any workouts. Then slowly I was allowed to do slow walks, yoga, etc. This was when my body was NOT functioning properly and I was underweight (about 5 years ago) So, please please please listen to your nutritionist. By listening to her, your recovery will only be faster. So, right now just doing yoga and LOVE IT. Don’t think of it as “ugh I can ONLY do yoga.” Know that THAT is what your body needs NOW and if you give it what it needs NOW you will be able to do other things that you want to do when that time comes :) <3

Once you’re at a good body weight and have a better level of fat, you will be able to do more activity, but for now just keep it easy :) Like I said, you will achieve your goals soooo much more quickly this way :) Always trust the professionals! They know best! I know you must be feeling anxious right now, but please do what’s best for you and you’ll get healthy again and be able to do everything you want to do very quickly :D

xoxo

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Caitlyn@HolisiticSimplicity June 27, 2013 at 10:18 AM

This honestly caused me to tear up. For the past… three days, I’ve measured nothing. It’s liberating but so so so scary (please check my blog out: http://www.holisticsimplicity.wordpress.com). Every time I put food into my mouth I think: Is this too much? Is this not enough? I feel like Goldie Locks.
Tomorrow I am going away for the first time since this has plagued me. Typically, trips have been so scary. Will they have food for me? Will I be able to work out? Now, although I am scared, I am excited. I feel almost freed. Honestly speaking, I prefer light cardio-moderate cardio (think vinyasa flow/brisk walking), with yoga and isometrics (like barre3…. In love). I forced myself to do HIITs because I thought my body needed it.

I would love to talk to you one-on-one sometime to share weight gaining tips and act as a support for each other :)

Also! My dog from the ages of 5-18 was named Cuddles :P
I think we’re destined to be buds.

C

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Meg June 27, 2013 at 12:36 PM

Hey Caitlyn! :D

We definitely were destined to be friends <3 SO CRAZY about the Cuddles thing... WOW!

I'm definitely available to chat more! Email me at adashofmeg@gmail.com and I will respond as soon as I can <3

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