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Can anyone recommend healthy weight gaining products for a skinny teenager?


Lisa O`Brien
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My 19 year old son is around 6 feet one inches tall. He`s just weighed himself and he weighs 9 stones and half a pound. He`s always been naturally very slim,and he eats well but very slowly ,so by eating slowly [and he`s tried eating faster but he just can`t] he gets filled up relatively quickly. For example if he has a cheese sandwich on wholemeal bread he can only eat two slices as he is full afterwards. Whereas I can eat four slices of wholemeal bread and cheese before feeling full as I eat so much more faster than him. A lot of his friends are starting to get their first girlfriends, and I think he's feeling a bit left out . I've noticed the past few months he has started to take more pride in his appearance [about time!] and has really started to eat healthily,which i'm delighted about. I just suggested to him maybe to go to our local Holland and Barrett shop and get some advice from the fantastic ,very knowledgeable staff they have in there, about some sort of Protein build up thingy. Obviously in an ideal scenario he would just eat more. But he's never had a brilliant appetite and I can't see that improving in the short term. Can anyone recommend something healthy and safe [EG no steroids,obviously] that he could take to supplement his meals? Thanks.

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My son is the same height and grew so fast he was like a very thin beanpole for a while. We got a protein powder from Holland & Barrett and he could just mix a spoonful of it in with a fruit smoothie or a milkshake. It was just a small tub and it lasted a while. It meant he could exercise without losing weight. In actual fact though, it was not long before his appetite grew to suit his new height.

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Perhaps he also feels fuller faster with certain foods, whatever speed he eats. I have heard advice about eating less and chewing more, to give the digestive system time to do its thing and also as a dietary aid. Personally, I find foods such as cheese sandwiches and anything relatively heavy/stodgy hard work and can take ages to get through one. I am no sylph by any stretch or flattering light :wacko:  and I have always been a slow eater but a fast guzzler of cold,soft drinks. 

He may be one of those people who suddenly fill out almost overnight, or who stay naturally slim but healthy. His weight is under the official ideal but there is so much argument now about ideal weight, BMI and so on, unless it is extreme I don't set too much store by it. By all means try a protein powder but unless he is actually suffering from something specifically related to his weight, I would just let him be. Does he do any particular exercise, swim or go to the gym for example?

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Pork pies? I'm only being slightly facetious: "eating healthy" often seems to translate into eating low calorie density foods suitable for middle aged, sedentary office workers.

 

I wouldn't worry about it too much, to be honest. I'm not that tall and I'm built broad, but I certainly grew up first and then out (and then out and out, but that's another matter, and later!) when I was that age. Make sure he's getting suitable exercise - which can get hard with all the changes to life at that critical age - and it'll sort itself out.

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I wouldn't necessarily look for something he can take rather look at what he can eat, increasing his protein will really help. I have a male family member who was very slim and he has started eating a high protein diet and working out and he has really filled out now and looks very good! Things like avocado, cod, turkey, coconut, flaxseed, oats, eggs, milk, natural yoghurt etc all offer high protein and natural fats which are very good for you. Also have you heard of Joe Wicks aka The Body Coach? His is a bit of an Internet sensation, he's a personal trainer/lifestyle coach and his Facebook and Instagram sites are a wealth of knowledge for eating right and training properly, and yes a lot of people use his knowledge to help them loose weight but his information can also be used to help gain weight as he promotes eating food to feed your body to enable you to build muscle, so might be worth your son checking him out, just search "The body Coach" Good luck x

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Thanks folks. He never exercises,other than walking to college when he gets off the bus and sometimes around town for a couple of hours when college has finished. Him and some of his friends a few weeks ago were going to go to the local sports centre,where there is a discount for students. They were just going to try out various things,weights,etc. In the end they changed their mind and spent the whole afternoon in one of their houses on the X Box.[Typical!] I bought him a set of dumb bells a few years ago as he said he wanted to build up his arm muscles. I think he used them once. 

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He drinks two litres of full fat milk every day and has done for over a year now. For his breakfast he will either have Bran Flakes with whole milk or two bananas.Or Weetabix. But if he has Weetabix he can only eat one. Kellogg`s Nutri Grain Bars for a snack while at college. Often cheese or ham sandwiches for lunch and quite a large dinner. He loves fish.Has two pieces at a time on his plate. We both love vegetables, so almost every night with either the fish or chicken and spuds we have broccolli,carrotts and cauliflower. They are frozen but i'm told they are just as healthy as the fresh ones. TBH we get through so many vegetables each week we wouldn't be able to afford the fresh ones all the time. He likes pasta and sauce too sometimes.Then often for his supper, literally 20 minutes before he goes to bed, he will have either four or sometimes five slices of full fat Cheddar cheese on toast with spread as well. The main difference between me and him is he rarely has anything sweet after his main meal,whereas no matter how full I am, I HAVE to have a sugar fix. If he does have something sweet,like chocolate digestive biscuits,the entire packet will last him nearly a fortnight. He also like me,loves Mr.Kipling Bakewell Tarts,the big ones. For years we couldn't get them over here,only the small Cherry Bakewells. Now both Tesco and Sainsbury's sell them. When I order the fortnightly shop I order two large Bakewell Tarts,one for me and one for Sean. Mine is devoured in two days. His is often thrown out as,although he likes it too,he can have sweet treats in so long they have gone stale. How i'd give anything to be like that !!  He used to absolutely love swimming and I used to take him and used to go as well,until a recurring theme at the pool of me swallowing so much water I couldn't breathe, and the lifeguard came over to check I was alright,not once,but actually on three seperate occasions at the pool that it put me off for life ever going back. But he should get more exercise,but seems to think he gets enough.I disagree.

Edited by Lisa O`Brien
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Honestly get him to take a look at the Body Coach, he does a thing called Lean in 15 and it's based on 15 minute at home workouts, no gym required and his recipes are brilliant too!! And if you take a look at Joe Wicks he's a great advertisement for what he does, very very good shape :D

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On his website you can pay to have a tailor made plan done for you and I know a few people who have done this and swear by him, but you absolutely don't need to go to that extreme if you don't want to as he puts so much stuff on social media from recipes on Instagram to workout videos on YouTube that you can piece together the info that your interested in without having to pay for a full on plan. I've made a few of his recipes and have really enjoyed them, hope it helps :)

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On his website you can pay to have a tailor made plan done for you and I know a few people who have done this and swear by him, but you absolutely don't need to go to that extreme if you don't want to as he puts so much stuff on social media from recipes on Instagram to workout videos on YouTube that you can piece together the info that your interested in without having to pay for a full on plan. I've made a few of his recipes and have really enjoyed them, hope it helps :)

Would it not be more for people who wanted to lose weight and be leaner though? Trust me,he's lean enough !!

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Some young men remain very lean well into their twenties when they begin to fill out. My husband, who is just 6 foot, was nine stone when he went to university at 18. It's better to be too lean (within reason) than overweight; there are plenty of overweight young people around. Men like my husband and your son probably need to alter their diet quite significantly and go to the gym if they want to fill out ahead of their natural trajectory. Be careful that your helpful suggestions are not fuelling any anxieties which he has about his appearance.

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Would it not be more for people who wanted to lose weight and be leaner though? Trust me,he's lean enough !!

I think from an advertising point of view yes it is aimed at people loosing weight, but if you are looking at weight gain then the food he uses is nutritionally aimed at providing your body with enough energy to sustain you through work outs and muscle growth, so if your not doing the same level of workouts and not burning off as many calories then the healthy high protein high natural fat diet will help you to healthily gain weight and increase energy, and as you said your son doesn't do a high level of exercise so he wouldn't burn off all the calories. Also there is the option of weight gain from building up your muscles and becoming more lean as in muscled rather than slight as in "skinny" (not suggesting your son is skinny but more referring to my relative who was skinny and is not very muscled and looks a lot bigger but through muscle not weight just fat weight gain) hoping all this makes sense?! I know of people who have used him for all sorts of reasons weight gain, weight loss, general healthier living etc so I just thought it may be worth a look :)

Edited by Lema
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Some young men remain very lean well into their twenties when they begin to fill out. My husband, who is just 6 foot, was nine stone when he went to university at 18. It's better to be too lean (within reason) than overweight; there are plenty of overweight young people around. Men like my husband and your son probably need to alter their diet quite significantly and go to the gym if they want to fill out ahead of their natural trajectory. Be careful that your helpful suggestions are not fuelling any anxieties which he has about his appearance.

I totally agree with Aileen here about being careful about fuelling anxieties as it can quickly become an issue with young men that are naturally very slim developing complexes about their size!

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Thanks for clearing that up Lema about building up muscle. He isn`t muscly at all . And I know what you mean about possibly fueling anxieties about his body. I don't normally say anything to him,but I did comment when he stepped on the scales and I just happened to be standing behind him and saw what he weighed that I thought he ought to weigh more than that for his height. I then went on the NHS`s online Healthy Weight Calculator,which said for a male of his height he should ideally weigh between 10 Stones and 13 stones 6 pounds. It said in bold letters YOU [meaning him] ARE UNDERWEIGHT and advised to go and see your GP as there may be an underlying reason for this such as overactive Thyroid. It alarmed me a little bit as it said being underweight carries health issues such as a weakened immune system,fragile bones and a lack of energy. So I then did a symptom check of Overactive Thyroid and from what both of us can ascertain,it doesn't seem like he has even one of the symptoms listed. However,his weight indicates his BMI is 16.7 .It is supposed to be between 18.5 and 25. I suggested this morning that it might not do any harm to make an appointment to see the GP ,just to get himself checked over,and mention to the GP that he appears to be about a stone underweight,but explain to him his healthy diet,etc. I said it wouldn't do any harm, and like most males I suspect,he hardly ever visits the GP. I know I would feel a lot more reassured if the GP told him he's perfectly fine and being a stone underweight is nothing to worry about.

Edited by Lisa O`Brien
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BMI is a really bad measure of anything for an individual, especially an adolescent.

 

He quite possibly won't fill out properly for another couple of years - as Aileen says of her husband, I was at least 21 before I did. Possibly older - I was much older before I realised how broad my shoulders had become. I was probably too busy to notice in my 20s. 

 

Relax, unless he's got some symptoms of illness. 

 

(Also, first girlfriends at 19, up North? I thought they'd all found their prospective spouse by 16, or is that a Fermanagh thing?)

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I understand your concerns Lisa as I have always been classes as severely underweight and I know the battle with weight gain, however I have put on a stone over the last year due to some changes to my diet and I feel great for it!! I have always been a very healthy eater and don't really do processed foods at all so I couldn't see how I was going to put weight on, but by adding a couple of avocados, more nuts, olive oil salad dressings, lots more sweet potatoe and fish I've made some healthy weight gain and like I say I've used the body coach recipes as they include a lot of These ingredients and so although I'm not saying my success was down to him I would defiantly say I'm grateful for some new and different recipes and I love his approach to a healthier lifestyle :)

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BMI is a really bad measure of anything for an individual, especially an adolescent.

 

He quite possibly won't fill out properly for another couple of years - as Aileen says of her husband, I was at least 21 before I did. Possibly older - I was much older before I realised how broad my shoulders had become. I was probably too busy to notice in my 20s. 

 

Relax, unless he's got some symptoms of illness. 

 

(Also, first girlfriends at 19, up North? I thought they'd all found their prospective spouse by 16, or is that a Fermanagh thing?)

Thanks for the reassurance,Colman. He has no symptoms of being ill. In fact luckily,he is very rarely ill. As for the girlfriend or lack of,his group of close friends,about five or six of them,some have had girlfriends for a few years now. I think he is the last. Ironically he is surrounded by girls all day at college,as there is only him and one other male in his forties in the class. I know he isn't interested in any of them though, as i've asked him. Can't be said about the girls. They all like to take it in turns to sit behind him and play with his hair. His form teacher at Primary School when Sean was just 10 took me to one side and asked to speak to me in private away from Sean at a parents evening. I went into a mad panic wondering what on earth he was going to say about him that he didn't want Sean to hear. He told me that every single girl in the class bats their eyelashes at him and that he has each and every one of them eating out of the palm of his hands. The teacher said,"I just thought you ought to be aware". Within about four hours of us moving to this house, there were two girls a few years older than Sean who had spotted him, and were knocking on the door wanting to hang out with him. He and his friends sometimes now go out to nightclubs, and because I know he isn't interested in any girls in our area or at college, maybe he's hoping to meet someone on a night out. Oh and I think all his former friends from primary school and Facebook friends are all "with" someone as well. Doesn't help that he's shy,of course.

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What sort of size frame has he....I know he is tall....but has he got fairly smallish bones or wide bones!

 

There is a sort of figure I see in both men and women where there is just that very natural thinness tallish but small boned as well ....usually the sort who never put on weight whatever they eat!!

 

If he's in this category he's probably okay at the mo ....still young and technically an adolescent.

Unless he's complaining of feeling unwell and having no energy etc I'm sure he's okay ...he appears to be getting enough nutrition.

 

Obviously if you CAN persuade him to go to GP that would be great just to make sure but usually adolescent boys are not that keen to go to a Doctor if feeling okay!!!

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He has quite a smallish-frame. But he wears adult male Medium sized T-shirts, track suit bottoms,boxer shorts,etc. He isn't very broad shouldered but he has broadened out in the last few years,obviously. He isn't as narrow shouldered as my dad was when he was a young man in his thirties,from photos i've seen of him. But Sean's legs are very long and stick thin without trousers.

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