Weight management can mean help with gaining weight too


Sometimes experiments can have unintentional consequences.

That’s what I discovered by trying to combine healthy eating on an extreme budget just to see if it could be done.

The budget was determined by the USDA Thrifty Plan. I calculated how much I’m expected to spend considering my age and sex and my children’s ages and sex.

I stuck to whole foods as much as possible and I included all food groups.

But when I was done, I had a menu plan that sorely lacked variety.

What they say about lack of variety is true

I do lots of research and read many studies. I’ve heard the claim that some diets work because there’s so little variety, the dieter becomes bored with the foods and simply eats less of them.

I always thought that was bullshit. If you’re hungry, you’re going to eat, right?


My son proved it true. Instead of telling me he no longer wanted to eat the food I gave him, he secretly put it in the trash.

baggy jeansObviously, he didn’t understand eating less would mean losing weight until he noticed how loose his jeans became. At that point, he asked me why they no longer fit.

Head? Meet desk.

He lost 11 pounds.

As soon as I could, I reworked my budget and our menu plan. We needed tastier food and we needed more variety. I also added in some high calorie foods just for him to help him regain weight faster.

Within a few weeks, he gained eight pounds so I thought our troubles were behind us. I assumed he would continue to gain weight.

Back in trouble

This past week, while eating supper with my kids at the dining room table, I gazed across the table at my son.

I frowned. Something about his proportions didn’t seem right. His head seemed way too big for his body. His arms looked like sticks.

What the hell….

I ordered him upstairs to the scale. Sure enough, his weight plummeted back down. He relost everything he recently gained.

This time he hasn’t been putting the food in the trash. He simply hasn’t been eating.

I can’t begin to tell you how irate this makes me feel. I make eating as easy as I can for him. Many of the foods are finger foods. Just get it and eat it. Or I prepare the foods ahead of time. All he has to do is go get it or do minimal fussing with it before eating.

There is simply no reason for him not to eat except laziness and not paying attention to his body’s call for food. He’s 18 years old. I shouldn’t have to watch over his food intake as if he’s 8.

Time to approach this problem from a professional standpoint

For the first time ever, I find myself using my education and experience to help someone gain weight instead of lose it.

I opened up a blank client spreadsheet and performed all the nutrition and health calculations like I would for any new client.

His BMI is currently 16. Anything under 18 is underweight. Son of a b……..

I think I feel so panicked because he goes back to school in three weeks. To put it simply, we live in such a fucked-up society these days, I fear being brought up on neglect or abuse charges over his low weight.

He needs to gain weight and fast.

No more guessing games

I decided I want his BMI to be no lower than 19. That means he needs to gain 17 pounds. It also means he needs to eat about 2850 calories per day.

This time around, I’m not settling for putting more food in the house and assuming he’ll eat what he needs as he gets hungry. This time, I’m engineering what his daily eating plan will look like for the next three weeks. (Once he’s back in school, I’ll have to modify it.)

He’ll know precisely what foods and how much of it I expect him to eat before I get home from work to make us supper.

My hope is he’ll gain at least six pounds in the next three weeks, but I’ll be even happier if it’s more.

Trying not to resort to junk food

I might be in a panic for my son to gain weight, but that doesn’t mean I ran out and bought ice cream, soda, chips, dip and candy.

cheese nutsEven so, if he doesn’t work out while gaining, the weight will go on as fat. I’m relying heavily on whole cheddar cheese, milk and nuts for the calorie boost. I also bought a box of Probar Simply Real Meal Bars. The Superfruit Slam is 350 calories per 3 ounce bar.

I warned my son he had a choice to make. I let him know he needs to work out or risk all his weight gain being fat gain.

probar mealHis response?

“Create an exercise routine for me, Mom.”

Great… I can’t even get the kid to go for a walk with me in the evening. This should be interesting.

Your Turn

How would you react in this situation? Please share in the comments below!

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponEmail this to someone

Need more info? Search for it here.


  1. cj says:

    Lori! You seem to be reacting with as much urgency and tact as a mother can muster. What else can be done? I suppose we’ll have to see how your plans work and go from there. I look forward to hearing that your son gains weight and takes up a fitness regimen. I wish I had taken diet and fitness more seriously at a younger age. It’s far more difficult at 43!

    • Lori Stalter says:

      Hey, CJ. I hope Tammy’s ankle is doing okay! That crunch would have been much more satisfying if it were the bug that went crunch.

      Well, I guess our kids don’t fall far from the tree after all. I started my adult life on the cusp of being underweight, too. So yeah, we need to be extra careful this doesn’t set him up for a lifetime of weight struggles!

      So far refilling his digestive tract has him up three pounds. Now to get the meat on his bones!

      • cj says:

        Thank goodness!!! May his weight continue to rise until it is optimal;) Have a great night Lori!

        Oh, and thank you, Tammy’s ankle is tip-top now, though the roach is too!