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Hello, I am almost 20, and my bmi is so low, it's not even on any weight charts I've seen. I've been trying to search for advice on how to gain fat on search engines, but all I get are results about how to gain muscle. I know how to gain muscle.

I also have trouble eating. I take a long time to eat, and after a while, I just start gagging. adding various ingredients has helped, but on some days I just don't have the energy for that, and I end up having to throw a lot of food away. sometimes the texture of the food is just wrong and I start gagging. I have a very poor appetite and it's become a huge problem, the biggest hindrance when it comes to my health. I really want to eat more.

I'm afraid of exercising because I'm scared it'll just make me lose more weight.

Hello, I am almost 20, and my bmi is so low, it's not even on any weight charts I've seen. I've been trying to search for advice on how to gain fat on search engines, but all I get are results about how to gain muscle. I know how to gain muscle. I also have trouble eating. I take a long time to eat, and after a while, I just start gagging. adding various ingredients has helped, but on some days I just don't have the energy for that, and I end up having to throw a lot of food away. sometimes the texture of the food is just wrong and I start gagging. I have a very poor appetite and it's become a huge problem, the biggest hindrance when it comes to my health. I really want to eat more. I'm afraid of exercising because I'm scared it'll just make me lose more weight.

36 comments

[–] Amareldys 3 points Edited

I think you need to see a doctor.

In the mean time I find I am hungrier when I am cold. Would swimming in cold water help?

Are there high calorie foods you like? Avocado? Cream? Cheese? Olive oil? Nuts?

Also mint and hot peppers can trigger appetite

I have cold urticaria, so swimming in the cold really won't be pleasant for me at best. I break out in hives when I touch cold water, my fingers and lips swell up when i drink something cold.

I do love cheese, so I'll get some cheese.

I did see a doctor, and all tests came back normal.

I think you should push it with your primary care doctor. Sometimes ya gotta nag.

Is it possible that you have an underlying medical issue that's causing loss of appetite and inability to gain weight? Have you gotten that checked out?

I wouldn't stay away from exercise out of fear. Getting your body moving might actually stimulate your appetite. And at least in my experience, moderate exercise alone doesn't make you lose weight. Maybe start with walking or yoga...something light.

Have you tried eating small, nutrient dense snacks throughout the day, like nuts or trail mix? Please be sure to drink enough water too!

I will try eating calorie dense foods, and also drinking juices. I can try to ride my bike everyday too.

I did get it checked out by a doctor, but every test came back normal. nothing wrong with my thyroid, nothing wrong with anything, even my iron levels were good. I don't know.

[–] whenthepawn 2 points Edited

I know you might be scared to try exercising, but I think some strength training (even bodyweight push ups, squats) will help trigger your appetite because your body will need nutrients to repair your muscles.

I suspect I have ADHD (although for me, my food issues are more around planning/execution/hyperfocus than sensory), and am usually very active. I'm also short/small, and the weeks that I'm more sedentary, I notice myself not being as hungry. Recently I've been eating a couple spoonfuls of peanut butter if I'm in that weird hungry/nauseous state and nothing sounds good to eat.

Could you try using more oil/butter as you cook? Or adding sauces/dressings? I like others' suggestions of adding dairy and nuts as well and trying to increase the amount of food your stomach can hold.

I also suspect I have adhd, and I have trouble with the planning/execution as well.

there is no gym in my town, but I can try lifting my own weight on a doorframe or something. I see men do it at least, haha

I second this. Weight lifting will get you eating for sure. I'll usually eat twice what I burned after a workout.

First things first, I am sorry you are going through this, sister :(

Okay, when and why this issue(s) -- including poor appetite, trouble eating certain foods, limited in amounts, etc. -- started is paramount in order to help build a timeline in accordance with the cause(s). You may want to gain weight hastily but this is not the way to go about it as gaining weight quickly has risks.

Second, you should compile a list of your issues in detail. For example, "I have trouble eating x [food] because the y texture [what kind of texture? (example of a reason though you should list all reasons)] makes me gag [(makes you feel/do what? List all feelings and reactions)]". Also, what are you able to eat? Do you have any allergies (drink, food, medicine, other)? What ingredients help you eat certain foods? Can you drink water fine? What do you like to eat? How much do you eat? What issues have you found your diet has caused in terms of your health? Do you have difficulty with mobility or have other such restrictions including mental? Any underlying health conditions? I do not expect you to answer these questions on here if you wish to keep certain aspects of your difficulty private. I know this seems like a lot but it is important to have this detailed for your own personal timeline and to be able to present it to a doctor, especially a clinical dietitian. You need to know what you are capable of, you do not want to cause injury. If you cannot access one or find that they have not addressed your concerns, I can try to find information and/or resources for you depending on what your difficulty(ies) are.

Your subsequent actions will be based on the answers to the previous questions. Hopefully this serves you as a possible start!

Thank you! I'll make a list today, and see a dietician when I can.

Yay, I hope the dietician can help you and soon! Meanwhile, definitely focus on proper hydration and eating foods you feel that you can eat without struggling to do so.

You have afrid? I'd suggest drinking a high cal drink out of something with a sippy straw and try to remain as full as possible continuously (so your stomach expands) and you can eat more solid foods at once and not feel sick. It might be positive to eat some sugary things/high GI which are mildly addictive to try and increase appetite.

Recommended fatty foods that don't trigger sensory issues with texture:

  • mashed potatoes with extra butter, potatoes in general with fatty toppings like bacon, sour cream, eggs etc.
  • malaysian butter chicken stew or other meat stews like stroganoff (can preserve in refrigerator so your appetite variation doesn't affect your food spoilage. Anything that has the tag 'hearty' in cookbooks will make you fat asf
  • ice-cream, energy bars, milkshake or plain milk
  • berries, grapes and nuts, canned fruits with syrup, sugary cereals

Things to avoid that are appetite and weight suppressants

  • smoking, weed or nicotine
  • coffee
  • exercising after eating or being completely sedentary (ok basically digesting takes a lot of energy so will reduce your energy thus appetite after eating so try to do like a little light puffy exercising before eating to get your metabolism up and gain weight)
  • being only focused on eating try to watch television or listen to a podcast
  • things that swell in your stomach or are thick going down. E.g. thick drinks, bread. They are tiring to eat and digest

thank you for all the tips! I'll keep this all in mind. I find that for me personally, brown bread with an egg is really easy to eat. or a tuna sandwich. I seem to have a huge issue with chunky, sticky, dry food.

I'm not sure if it's arfid, I've heard of it before. it could also be related to adhd (which I very likely might have).

It sounds like you may have some kind of eating disorder. (ED's aren't just limited to starving oneself or binging and purging) It can also result in having sensory issues around food, having an extremely limit diet among other things. Being on the autism spectrum i deal with having a very limited diet due to food textures and taste.

I would say talk to your doctor if this is a long standing issue, they can help you work out a meal plan and help slowly incorporate new foods and work out which ones work for you. (for example, if you hate mushy texture they can eliminate all foods that are mushy. If you prefer salty foods you can try out different salty foods.) Also maybe trying out regular small snacking throughout the day vs eating huge meals.

I hope you're able to try these things, you're not alone is dealing with this kind of stuff <3

I actually think I might have adhd because I match all the dsm criteria. I want to get tested but the healthcare here is so bad :(

the one psychiatrist in my city is... uninformed, to say the least. he said I don't have adhd because I hyperfocus on things (!!) and because I'm not very talkative and energetic now. dude seems to think adhd people are ultra energizer bunnies who get distracted by microbes in the air.

he also told me that I didn't reach my potential in school and didn't study well because I don't want to, despite me repeatedly saying no, I did really want to study and I still do.

and yes, we have only one psychiatrist in my city. lmaooo ;-; to go to the capital city and get an appointment there would be a hassle, and would also cost money. sure healthcare is free here, but... people die waiting to get plane tickets to go to proper hospitals. waiting out queues.

sorry, I went on a bit of an off topic rant.

I have this problem ! The thing I found that helped was eating the food I can eat without gagging . For me that’s curry for some reason , luckily curry comes in different forms so it’s easier to get a balanced diet . I wish I could be more helpful .

oh curry is great. I'm south asian, so trust me on that :DD

unfortunately, my dad can't eat curry for health reasons and we don't cook it here. there are other stuff I can make, though. curry-like stuff that doesn't require curry powder, like lentil stews.

you can try lentil, if you can get them, they're very rich in fibre as well. there should be Indian recipe videos on how to cook dhaal/lentil on youtube that you could follow.

I have made a few lentil curries in the past but i will need a new bag of them ! I love all foods from South Asia honestly , I love getting new recipes to try . Thank you for the ideas lol

here's a recipe for a traditional curry from my country, it's really good unless you're vegan, you can try it :D

we don't have many vegan options unfortunately, since our culture pretty much revolves around fish. but here's something we call "bondibaiy" which is a kind of rice pudding. it's made for special occasions, most commonly naming a child.

if there are ingredients you don't know, this can help: the Maldivian food glossary or you can dm me. :)

here's another recipe I eat a lot! nearly every week lol, it's so good

I am chronically underweight, too.

Last year, I gained some weight which I think was due to doing physical work and eating more than usual (I usually ate my packed lunch, plus some calorie-dense, fatty snack I'd buy) So, I am seconding the suggestions for exercise. It makes you have more of an appetite, in my experience.

If you genuinely dislike the act of eating, finding foods that are small in volume but dense in calories might help. Stuff like protein bars/ shakes are my first instinct, but I understand if you’re touchy about textures in food those might not be very appealing.

Some light exercise is not likely to cause you to loose weight if you’re already eating at a caloric surplus; it’s wayyyy easier to consume calories than to burn them.

What is your bone structure? Are you very high on ectomorphy (stretched-out looking, with delicate bones)? What do your adult relatives look like? Are they high in ectomorphy? If you're an extreme ectomorph, you won't ever gain weight and are best off eating nutrient dense food, e.g. meat rather than salad, and not worrying about looking average. It's rare but a thing. (If you can find The Atlas of Men in a large library, it might be worth taking a look at the range of human body shapes.)

Otherwise I second dairy to gain fat and nibbling all day.

I guess I do look ectomorphic? I'm not sure, I'm kinda short (5'3" / 159 cm). other women in my family are also all on the skinnier side, pregnancy was what made them a bit plumper. my mom was also skinny when she was my age. most of my family is on the skinnier side, and two of my (female) cousins also struggle with gaining weight and they're underweight too.

I've been thin all my life as well, and have always struggled to gain weight and I lose weight very easily.

if it helps, i have a very narrow frame, my ribcage is small (about 28 inches circumference) and so are my shoulders. I'm the 2nd tallest woman in my family, (1st place goes to one of my aunts, who's like 3 cm taller than me). i do look kinda stretched out i guess. it's hard to accurately judge one's own self.

It sounds like genetics to me. If your relatives could still get pregnant while very skinny, then it's probably just annoying rather than unsafe.

If you ever get a chance to check out the Atlas of Men, take your photo, front, back, and side views, with camera waist-height, and scale them so you're 3" head to heel, so you can compare. It is really hard to tell just looking in the mirror. I was shocked at how big-boned I was when I finally did comparisons.

Hello. Sounds very distressing. Has the problem with eating been going on for a long while or did it begin more recently? Can you relate it to any specific events or situations in your life? Have you had a medical assessment to rule out a physical cause? Sorry for the barrage of questions, just trying to get a better understanding of what you are going through.

I'll try to answer them one by one:

  • the gagging only started about 2 years ago, definitely after covid began. at first it was the smell of raw eggs, now I gag whenever I brush my teeth, certain food tastes and textures, even saying some words makes me gag. it just gradually got worse and worse.

  • it probably relates to my depression which I'd had since 2018, but hit rock bottom in 2020. my appetite was terrible, I was hardly eating and dropped 6 kg in 4 months - and my bmi was already quite low. but I was diagnosed last year and got medication. my mental health has been better since, but my weight still isn't. I can't get back the eating schedule and daily routine I had before it happened. I also might have adhd (all the symptoms of inattention, some hyperactivity) so it really is a struggle.

  • I did get a medical assessment, all the tests came back normal.

[–] ghoul2 2 points Edited

I'm not a professional or anything but i had a phase in the past where I found it difficult to finish meals and would gag. I dealt with this by sort of taking a grazing approach and eating smaller but more times throughout the day. Sorry I can't offer more help

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