Whole30 portion sizes for a teenager to gain weight


Allia

Recommended Posts

I am a teenager who is interested in eating a healthier diet. However I am concerned about the weight loss that often accompanies Whole30. That's why I've been thinking of eating more carb-dense vegetables to prevent this. I see many people on this diet just eating a piece of meat and some leafy green vegetables: that seems like it wouldn't be enough to maintain one's weight! How do people transition to maintenance without losing too much?

I'm a bit confused about the "no weighing" part; it seems to me that monitoring my weight might be helpful actually, to ensure that I am not losing any weight. Would this defeat the point of the diet?

Also, on portion sizes: one palm (for me) of meat, plus a thumb of fat and some vegetables... If it is lean meat I am concerned it will not be enough food. What is recommended for maintenance/gain?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Lots of veggies, especially carb-dense ones, and fat with your meals. Eat at the higher end of the template on all things. So closer to 2 palms of protein, 2 thumbs of fat, as many veggies as you can eat, etc. Do not go hungry. If you are legitimately hungry (would eat plain chicken/fish and plain steamed broccoli) then eat a small template-based meal and focus on eating more at meals. Since you are a teen, you might even want to add in a fourth template meal where appropriate, or if you're working out ensure you eat a proper pre-workout and post-workout meal.

 

The point of weighing is that it is only one metric to determine your progress. You say you want to gain weight, but what I think you probably mean is that you want to gain SIZE. As an ex-scrawny kid myself I get that...my spine still sticks out like a dinosaur even though I'm almost 30, though I have gained muscle and a bit of fluff under my skin (then again, 5'11" and 150 pounds is pretty low in weight for an almost 30 year old woman). But wouldn't you be able to judge how you're doing by the way your clothes fit? Whether you still need to use that extra hole you punched in your belt or if you're up a size on that? How your muscles may be standing out more?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for the suggestions. May I ask, what about adults that just want to maintain? Would they just eat close to the lower end, and eating to the higher end would just be for teens?

However I don't care about gaining size. I have struggled with disordered eating and I would like to be healthier and start getting my periods again... I am not concerned with looking scrawny, it is not an appearance based reason. It is just very unhealthy for me to lose more weight as it is, as I have already been hospitalized for such a thing.

 

My clothes fit the same way because I've never been big enough to actually /have/ a size lol, even after I gained a significant amount of weight in inpatient, they were still as loose as they always were. I don't think it is as simple as a clothing issue because it is not my goal to gain so much weight that I cannot wear clothing in the same way, as I have never been large.

 

I apologize if I sound a bit rude, but I am trying to say that I don't want to gain weight so that I look bigger... It's more of a health concern for me, and an immediate one at that, so I think it may be important for me to weigh myself.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm an adult, maintaining my weight & eating to the high end of the template, and then some occasionally! I also train 6 days a week & include pre & postWO meals. A typical meal for me will have at least 2 palm sized pieces of protein, the rest of the plate is filled with my choice of veg, and then I'll add my fat on top of that - a half an avocado, a handful of olives, a good dollop of mayo, unless I know my veg have been cooked in a fatty sauce, or adequate oil, or I'm eating a fatty cut of meat.

The meal template is the minimum recommendation, and it's perfectly okay if you need to do so to keep you satiated for 4-5hrs. 

Take a look at this article about not losing weight on Whole30 and if you've any other questions just ask.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the help! I think that umm for me it may be different though... I don't really work out at the moment and I am probably at a lot lower weight (sorry if it sounds offensive) since I am shorter than most people. As for meat portions - how much would palm size in ounces be for you? I am a bit confused about the palm part because in the diagram, the meat is drawn as being more like 3/4ths of a hand! And everyone has different hands anyway o.o

 

What is your opinion on weighing for health purposes, seeing as I am in danger of consequences of a low weight (I'm not like trying to bulk up to be more muscular and just a few pounds can make me unhealthy or healthy, with functioning hormones)?

Link to post
Share on other sites

A palm sized portion would be the length, width & depth of your hand. And yes, your hand is different to everyone else's which is why it works - you're measuring your portions for you. Anyone else in your family would measure their portions against their palm.

If you don't work out then you've no need to add pre or post WO meals.

I'm not a fan of the scale. I think people fixate too much on the number & it introduces unnecessary stress. But then I come from a background of disordered eating where in my teens I weighed myself multiple times throughout the day.

I'd say weigh yourself before you start. Follow the recommendations above with regard to maintaining/gaining weight, eat to the high end of the template for every macro-nutrient, and see how you go. If you're at all concerned ask the question again and we'll take it from there.

Link to post
Share on other sites

What is your opinion on weighing for health purposes, seeing as I am in danger of consequences of a low weight (I'm not like trying to bulk up to be more muscular and just a few pounds can make me unhealthy or healthy, with functioning hormones)?

 

The nice thing about eating whole30 is that it takes away the distraction of engineered foods completely. You body can recognize and use the food you are providing and will respond with appropriate hunger/satiety signals. This means, after a bit of an adjustment period, you can start to trust your hunger to mean your body needs nutrition. As long as you respond to that hunger by eating nutrient dense food you will be fine (Make sure you don't ignore tiredness or moody-ness, as sometimes some people don't realize this can also be hunger).

 

Learning to listen--really listen--to the signals you get from your body is way more accurate than the scale. give it a try. Oh an do keep eating the template amounts as a minimum. Let your hunger signals let you know when you need more than the template or more meals.

Link to post
Share on other sites

As someone who spent her teenage years and early twenties struggling with eating disorders and who has counselled people with eating disorders as a psychologist my advice would be to eat the 3 meals of proper food a day at least, 4 if you need them, with plenty of food...let your body and relationship with food start to heal.

Your body will not automatically become healthy or start menstruating at x number of pounds, it is not that simple, so weighing yourself daily will not necessarily tell you what you really want to know.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks everyone who responded for all the suggestions! I feel that this is truly a very helpful community.

I don't think my weight will tell me very much about my current health, but I am just scared of losing MORE weight... Is there a ways I could tell which direction I'm going to go in? I can't really base of off of hunger because some people repor feeling very satisfied and still end up losing!

Listening to my body may be hard at first because I read that some people have messed up hunger signals that don't properly tell them when they should eat. Are there any ways to mitigate this?

Link to post
Share on other sites

How much weight people lose depends very much on what weight they were to start with, and what their previous diet was like.

You're saying that you're already slim, so by giving your body proper nourishment, rather than restricting calories, you should blossom...

If it helps I'm slim too and I didn't lose a single pound - my body composition changed though so I traded body fat for lean muscle.

Start with the template, and take one day at a time.

Link to post
Share on other sites

By eating whole30 you are giving your body what it needs, what it has evolved to eat, and it will know what to do with it. After fighting it you need to start trusting it and giving it time to heal...and I don't say that lightly, I know how hard that is to do.

Ask yourself what are daily weighing sessions going to actually do? What will they really tell you? What would you do if you do lose weight bearing in mind the way you are eating right now isn't working?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks! jmcbn, that was reassuring to know that not everyone loses weight. Thank you both for understanding my situation. My weighing sessions... I think that if I were to lose weight during Whole30 and I noticed, I'd try to definitely eat more. I don't think I am at the level where seeing my weight go up is enough to stress me out.

jmcbn: I have a question about your Whole30. Seeing as you didn't lose a single pound, did you eat more than minimum or eat lots of carb-dense vegetables while you were doing Whole30? I saw your post on how you eat now, though; do you eat carb-dense vegetables now for maintenance? I see some peoples logs and they look like they would cause me to lose weight because some meals are just lean proteins and not-very-carby vegetables. And just to be curious, how tall are you and how much do you weigh now? I am not sure if I am slim haha; it seems a strange adjective to apply to a short person for some reason. I am, at last weigh, 78 lbs at 4'11". You really don't have to answer: I'm just getting a picture of how easy it will be for me to gain weight during Whole30.

Link to post
Share on other sites

From day one of my first Whole30 (& to this day) I ate to the top end of the recommendation and sometimes a little bit more because that what it takes to satiate me for 4-5hrs - that is, 2 palm sized pieces of protein, 3 cups of veg (probably more), and usually half an avocado or some olives or a huge dollop of mayo on top of whatever fat I'm using for cooking in, even when I'm eating fattier cuts of meat like brisket for instance.

Starchy veg wise I eat/ate at least a half a dinner plates worth at one meal per day, sometimes more (ie. I might serve ONLY starchy veg, or I might serve roast veg alongside some mixed greens in one meal, but then I might have some boiled beets chopped up into a salad at another meal that day).

I've been eating this way since February and I'd say I've probably gained weight (I dunno, I only weighed myself once), but my body composition continues to change so I'm continuing to trade body fat for lean muscle - I'm losing fat around my lower back & developing a defined waist which I never really had.

I'm 5'2" and weigh (approx!) 125lbs.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Moderators

One note to add... The most frequent comment I make to people on the Whole30 forum is to say, "You are not eating enough." People come here with ideas shaped by every diet program they have ever encountered and they superimpose ideas from those programs onto the Whole30. Some do this on purpose because they think they can improve their results by "combining" programs and some do it unconsciously without being aware of how they are restricting how much they eat under the influence of their ideas of how best to lose weight. Even when we explain how much to eat with our meal planning template, many people scatter a few salad leaves over a plate and call that FILLED with veggies. However, when you eat one or two palm-size portions of protein and fill your plate with cooked veggies - roasted potatoes, green beans, wilted spinach, carrots, cauliflower, etc... your body will thrive. 

 

One more note: Your food should taste good. Fat is a great resource for making food taste good, so you should use it liberally. It is okay to use several sources of fat in a meal. Thin people really don't need to think twice about doubling up on fat to make their food taste better.

Link to post
Share on other sites

No wonder! That makes lots of sense Tom! Are you referring to habits of cutting out fat? I am not sure how exactly to add fat! I've read that nuts and seeds are discouraged, but sadly they are one of the few sources of fat I like. I was thinking of adding some sesame seeds on top of my food, so not in a snack-addiction-way. Is this a bad plan?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Nuts are not an ideal fat source - they tend to have more omega 6 fatty acids rather omega 3, and they cause stomach and digestive discomfort for many. 

 

You can add avocado to any meal, or make a compliant curry sauce with coconut milk, or a make a salad dressing with olive oil, macadamia nut oil, avocado oil whatever.  You can even make homemade mayonnaise and make salad dressings/dips out of it. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Moderators

Allia - 

 

You have been given fantastic advice here about how to manage your eating plan to improve your health, so I won't add anything else to what these amazing people have said.

 

What I DO want to say is that I am VERY proud of you! I think it's laudable and admirable and fantastic that you have found your way here and are working the very best you can to use the program to make yourself healthier. It really is the best way... whole foods in generous quantities are going to give you the best results in improving your health.

 

I suggest that if you want help as you go, which we are all thrilled to provide, that you start a food log here. That way we can have a look at your intake and help you tweek it.  I would also suggest for you, that you include your mood, any non scale victories, fluid intake, stress and any other comments on how you're feeling about the program as you go along so that we can help you.

Congratulations for coming here and being open to help and suggestions!  I think you'll find that with the recommendations here and the program in general, you'll flourish!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Nuts are not an ideal fat source - they tend to have more omega 6 fatty acids rather omega 3, and they cause stomach and digestive discomfort for many. 

 

You can add avocado to any meal, or make a compliant curry sauce with coconut milk, or a make a salad dressing with olive oil, macadamia nut oil, avocado oil whatever.  You can even make homemade mayonnaise and make salad dressings/dips out of it. 

Yes, I have heard that about nuts before. Do you know any other ways to add fats to a meal? My family does not really eat salads or make sauces much.

 

Allia - 

 

You have been given fantastic advice here about how to manage your eating plan to improve your health, so I won't add anything else to what these amazing people have said.

 

What I DO want to say is that I am VERY proud of you! I think it's laudable and admirable and fantastic that you have found your way here and are working the very best you can to use the program to make yourself healthier. It really is the best way... whole foods in generous quantities are going to give you the best results in improving your health.

 

I suggest that if you want help as you go, which we are all thrilled to provide, that you start a food log here. That way we can have a look at your intake and help you tweek it.  I would also suggest for you, that you include your mood, any non scale victories, fluid intake, stress and any other comments on how you're feeling about the program as you go along so that we can help you.

Congratulations for coming here and being open to help and suggestions!  I think you'll find that with the recommendations here and the program in general, you'll flourish!

Thank you very much for the encouragement. I will start soon on this plan and definitely try a food log. I have decided that *if* I start, I will weigh before and after, but not during. I do hope I will flourish, as you said! :)

 

I do have one question, though. I am currently reading ISWF and it says

 

"If you’re big, try two palms. If you’re small, try one palm. (If you don’t know whether you’re big or small, we can’t help you.)"

 

... That... does not make sense to me. I thought if you were big, your palm would be big too so it wouldn't matter (?) Anyone want to explain? Thanks XD

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Moderators

Allia - 

 

I'm glad that you're going to embrace the program whole heartedly and not weigh during.  It's time for you to learn to listen to your body's signals as it relates to hunger and nutrition and the quickest way to start doing that is to turn the noise of the scale off.  Your meals should get you 4-5 hours between.  If you're not able to get this duration of time initially while you figure out your serving sizes, then have a mini meal of protein/veg/fat between meals and focus on trying to eat more at meals.  I suspect, as you come from a place of restriction, that once your body feels comfortable that you're feeding it nutritious food on a regular basis, that it's going to start asking for more.  Feed it!

 

I remember that line from the book but I'm not sure what the rest of the context of that statement is... but don't worry about it.  Eat to the high end of the template using your own palm for reference and start listening to your body... you'll find a balance that is perfect for you.

Link to post
Share on other sites

You could slice up an avocado put it over your meal, or smush it up with a little salt and pepper and use it as a sauce.

 

if you drink tea or coffee you could add coconut milk to that

 

you could drizzle oil over your vegetables after they have been cooked.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Allia - 

 

I'm glad that you're going to embrace the program whole heartedly and not weigh during.  It's time for you to learn to listen to your body's signals as it relates to hunger and nutrition and the quickest way to start doing that is to turn the noise of the scale off.  Your meals should get you 4-5 hours between.  If you're not able to get this duration of time initially while you figure out your serving sizes, then have a mini meal of protein/veg/fat between meals and focus on trying to eat more at meals.  I suspect, as you come from a place of restriction, that once your body feels comfortable that you're feeding it nutritious food on a regular basis, that it's going to start asking for more.  Feed it!

 

I remember that line from the book but I'm not sure what the rest of the context of that statement is... but don't worry about it.  Eat to the high end of the template using your own palm for reference and start listening to your body... you'll find a balance that is perfect for you.

Thanks! The line comes from the place where the portion sizes are discussed. Right before the line, the question of whether one is a one- or two-palm person is raised. To me it doesn't really make sense to base it on size... It would make more sense to say "If you need to lose weight, eat the smaller amounts" or something.

 

By the way, what is the stance on bacon's portion sizes? Isn't bacon mainly fat and sort of sliced in a way that's hard to compare to a hand?

 

You could slice up an avocado put it over your meal, or smush it up with a little salt and pepper and use it as a sauce.

 

if you drink tea or coffee you could add coconut milk to that

 

you could drizzle oil over your vegetables after they have been cooked.

 

Thanks for the suggestions! I thought that Whole30 did not like liquid food though...

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Moderators

Thanks! The line comes from the place where the portion sizes are discussed. Right before the line, the question of whether one is a one- or two-palm person is raised. To me it doesn't really make sense to base it on size... It would make more sense to say "If you need to lose weight, eat the smaller amounts" or something.

 

By the way, what is the stance on bacon's portion sizes? Isn't bacon mainly fat and sort of sliced in a way that's hard to compare to a hand?

 
 

Thanks for the suggestions! I thought that Whole30 did not like liquid food though...

Bacon is considered a fat, not protein so you'd be adding it to meals as more of a fatty condiment than a palm sized serving of protein... it's not the best fat source but definitely allowed (assuming no off plan ingredients). 

 

As far as liquid food, you're right but coffee/tea with coconut milk is more of a beverage and wouldn't replace a chewed meal like a smoothie might.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Moderators

Thanks! Actually do you know the equivalent of a thumb of fat in bacon slices and in creamy sauces like dressings? Thanks!

 

We don't want you to be concerned about matching up a thumb's worth of bacon or creamy sauce. Use enough to make the meal taste good. I would probably never cook less than two slices of bacon regardless of how it related to a thumb's worth of fat. :)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.