Saturday, August 17, 2013

Weight, weight don't tell me...

Lately, my health has been more of an issue than ever before in my life.  Two months ago, I had another bout of illness that caused me to lose more than 10 pounds.  I dropped all the way down to 121 pounds, which really had me worried.  After all, that's something like ten percent of my total weight, which is significant because I really don't have anything extra to lose.  That is, when I get down below say, 125, I think I am starting to lose muscle mass, and that in itself is dangerous because it's not something I can get back very easily.

So, I was very worried, but eventually my appetite came back and with it, my weight went up.  That makes it sound easy, but in fact, it's been a determined effort on my part to gain weight.  At first, I started drinking those nutritional shakes, like Ensure or Boost, but even though they pack a lot of calories into a small bottle, I didn't see any results.  I think it has to do with the kind of calorie intake, not just the number, obviously, so I decided to try something else.  That turns out to be whey powder,  which offers the calories but in a form that is bulkier, and seems to have really contributed to my recent weight gain.  I combine the whey powder with soy milk, bananas, frozen strawberries and peaches, chocolate syrup, yogurt and wheat germ, blend it all up and drink it down.  It's fast to make and easy to eat, though it's really drinking more than eating.  It's loaded with calories, and lots of material to help me bulk up a bit.

Here's how it breaks down:

Whey powder  480
Soy milk  150
Banana 100
Peaches 40
Strawberries 40
Chocolate syrup 20
Yogurt 40
Wheat germ 20
Ice cream 110
Egg 75

Total for one drink is 975 calories.  Total needed for the day: 2500.  I don't keep a count of the other stuff I eat during the day, and I should, if I want to get a sense of how much more I need to eat in order to gain weight, but I rely on eating more than I ever have, more frequently and in greater quantities.  The result, after now nearly a month of intensive calorie intake, is that I weight above 133, flirting with 135.  My near-term goal is just that, 135, but my longer term goal is to get up to 140.

I can't do that, however, without adding some muscle mass, so I have also been working out.  Well, that's a bit of an exaggeration, since it makes it sound like I go to the gym and do an exercise routine.  What I actually do, however, is to lift a small (10lb) weight to build up my arms while I am watching television before bed.  When I started, just over a month ago, I could do 30 repetitions with my right arm and 20 with my left.  Yesterday, I got up to 75 with the right arm and 50 with the left.  Today my right arm hurts a bit, but that's a good sign.  As long as I keep up my calorie intake and maintain a regular workout routine, I think I can reach my goal.  It might take me a year, but I think once I get there I can keep it.

No comments: