Weight Gain: My Story, My Struggle, My Size

Weight – No matter what age you are, this is something we ALL struggle with. Even saying the word weight has negative connotations with it. My struggle happens to be weight gain. It’s alien to me and always has been.

I’m one of those people who’s mantra when it comes to my weight is “I eat so much crap yet never seem to put any weight on” much to people’s envy this is sadly true.

For the most part of my life anyways.

Since the age of 14, I’ve always been under 9 stone or slightly above. My eating habits have never been right – I’m a big snacker. I could easily get through the day on cups of tea, biscuits, toast and tea (dinner for those who call it dinner). Through high school I almost never had breakfast and I was lucky if I ever bought myself lunch. I was just never hungry or so I was telling myself I wasn’t. Instead I’d opt for a flapjack or I’d ‘treat’ myself to ‘Chicken Burger Friday’ – that was a requirement.

Now though, I realise the error in my ways. I physically and mentally just cannot survive on that routine anymore. I’ve been depriving myself for years, even if I didn’t know it at the time. I think for a part of my life I had some form of eating disorder subconsciously. All of that has to STOP.

My weight last year

After travelling SE Asia, I came back home a stone lighter than what I originally was. This freaked me out. I started in September with the mindset to get fit, healthy and stronger and this included a much overdue weight gain. To achieve this, it meant that I had to put myself on a calorie surplus diet.

So what is a calorie surplus???

Often hitting 3000 calories as a target a day. Some days this just wasnt possible and I was naughty by not sticking to my plan. I joined the gym and started seeing improvements, however, by the end of October I had manage to get closer to the 10 stone mark and keep the weight on – a FIRST ever!!!

Throughout November I was involved in a touring project Seussical and sadly I wasn’t looking after myself as well as I should have. Meaning that I had lost a few pounds in the process. I felt deflated however I was still above 9 stone so that was the main thing.

My weight in 2018

I’m setting myself a challenge: By the end of 2018 I will be 11 stone. That is my ideal weight.

As part of my resolutions I’m going to be prioritising my meals a lot more and making sure I’m getting the right types of food. I will be gymming more and with the addition of my flat mate, Brendan, on the same journey as me I’m sure I’ll be a lot more motivated to actually make this happen.

I believe in myself.

Weight-jan-2018

Weight will be a series of progress pics and posts on my journey to a stronger and healthier George in 2018.

Jennifer Burk

What is a Calorie Surplus?

In essence a calorie surplus is a way of effectively consuming more calories than you naturally burn. Thus leading to weight gain in the form of muscle or body fat. A calorie surplus is required if you ant to gain weight. To gain muscle you must be training equally as rigorous.

What is a calorie surplus? – The maths

As stated above, a calorie surplus is a way of consuming more calories than you normally would burn. If you eat 3,000 calories each day and burn 2,500, you’ve created a surplus of 500 calories each day. This is then transferred into muscle or body fat depending on your exercise routine.

Gaining weight requires a consistent weight surplus. It’s through consistency that you see results.

What is body fat?

Everybody has it. Our body stores energy as body fat. Especially when you’re on an excessive calorie surplus. Muscle growth is limited to approximately 10-15 pounds a year so anything over this gets stored by the body as fat. If you’re gaining fat as opposed to muscle then you’re probably eating too much. Keeping your surplus at a moderate level (500 excess calories above how much you burn eg. 3000 calories for every 2500 burnt) will help resolve this issue.

Healthy ways to create a calorie surplus

While it remains true that a larger calorie surplus leads to faster weight gain, that doesn’t mean you should be eating anything and everything you can get your hands on. Be smart about it and make the right choices.

You should be eating foods that are high in complex carbs, lean proteins and unsaturated fats: 100% whole wheat bread/pasta, brown rice, chicken, turkey, vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, low fat/fat free dairy products and vegetable oils (particularly extra virgin olive oil).

You should be avoiding foods high in simple carbs, sugars and saturated/trans fats: fruit juice, soda, doughnuts, muffins, candy, potato chips and white bread (refined flour).