Dream Big

Dream Big

A Guide to weight gain for the anorexic and other

I am mainly going to discuss the situation of weight gain with anorexics, but others that need to gain weight for whatever reason can used the meal plan samples.

" Eating disorders are illnesses that affect all aspects of a child's or adolescent's life. Anorexia nervosa is one type of eating disorder that is very difficult for many people to understand. Anorexia nervosa is a serious, potentially life-threatening disorder characterized by self-starvation and excessive weight loss. This disorder often begins during adolescence, frequently around the time of puberty. Children and adolescents with anorexia nervosa have an overwhelming fear of being overweight and an extreme drive to be thin.This will lead them to behaviors that will cause weight loss, including cutting back on what they eat in a way that can lead to being underweight. The young person becomes obsessed with food and dieting. They may also become dangerously thin. No matter how thin they get, they think they are still fat or they may be they may be terrified of becoming fat."  Some other methods that the book mentions is that many will exercise excessively to burn off the calories, they may count calories or grams of fat, starve themselves, limit types of food they allow themselves to eat, purging/vomiting their food ( otherwise known as anorexia bulimia sub type), taking laxative,diet pills, avoiding to eat in front of people and making excuses such as " I'm not hungry", " my stomach hurts" and "I don't have time to".

- At least 1 in 10 people who develop eating disorders are boys
- Most children or adolescents get help for an eating disorder because their parents insist they get help...not because they want to get help
- 20 % of patients with eating disorders will die of their illness
- With treatment, about 75% to 80% of adolescents with an eating disorder will recover.

Boys with eating disorders are always gay...
Homosexual boys do have a higher risk of developing an eating disorder, but both straight and gay boys can have eating disorders.

Barbie and Ken represent ideal body shapes for females and males...
If barbie were a real human being, her proportions would cause her to fall over. Ken's neck would be 8 inches bigger than the average male's. The female models we see in fashion magazines do not represent any meaningful ideal for the majority of females. In face, only 1 in 10,000 females naturally (without dieting) meet model-thin dimensions.

All fat adolescents are unhealthy...
We were all made differently. There are many possible combinations of shapes and sizes that compose a person's body. It is possible for someone to naturally be dense boned, just as likely as it is for someone to naturally be model-thin. Someone could be eating a balanced diet, exercising moderately and still be fat, but they can still be healthy as well.

Yellow-orange tinged skin
Thinning of the hair or hair that breaks easily
Growth of downy hair on back, stomach, or the side of face
Major weight loss in a short period of time
Failure to gain weight or height normally
Delay on onset puberty
Loss of menstrual periods
Low body temperature
Counting calories and fat
Food rules
Eating alone
Increasing interest in all things to do with food
Disgust for previously favorite foods
Frequent weighing
Wearing baggy clothes
Distorted body image
Excessive exercise
Extreme concern with appearance
So much more.......

I like to think that eating and discussions are the cure to anorexia. Food is our medicine. If someone were to just discuss about their problems,but not eat, these eating disorder thoughts would stay with them and everything discussed would go in one ear and out the other. It's just not possible to recover without eating. Our bodies need glucose, without it our brains go a little funky and we can't think straight, we don't think rationally. Without having a clear mind and being able to think things through, we'd still be occupied with the same old thoughts of food, losing weight, and not trying to get fat. It is mandatory that an anorexic gains weight to be able to fully recovery. The more healthy your weight becomes the less chance of relapsing or lapsing. I read a book by Harriet Brown. It's called " Brave Girl Eating" it talks about her family struggles with having an anorexic child. Kitty, the ill child, would be eating around 3000 calories a day, just to gain a small amount. But, when Kitty was eating, even a little bit under 3000 calories, she would start to have the negative thoughts and refuse food,  anorexia would talk to her. So this just further proves that eating also helps to get rid of these negative ED thoughts.

Everybody is different and we all need different amounts of food. For example an average 13 year old would probably consume between 1600 and 2500 calories a day.It all depends on age, height, gender, activity level and genes. So when an anorexic child loses a vast quantity of weight, it is expected for them to gain it back. But, the amount of food needed, varies according to how far along they are with their eating disorder. Some one who is at the point of death knocking at their door would probably need a minimum 3000 calories, probably around 5000 to 6000 or so a day. But if you suddenly start feeding someone who has been starving themselves for a while, their body can go into shock; there can be electrolyte imbalances, extreme bloating and constipation, vomiting and the body's rejecting food and  heart attacks, which can all lead to death. This is why it's important to start off slowly and work your way up. But if you are at the point of dying, you would probably have to be feed through a tube. So I would say someone should start off with about 800 a day and every 2-3 days add an extra 100-300 calories a day until you reach around 2000. From there you can determine whether you need to increase or continue with 2000. While re-feeding it is important that the anorexic does not exercise. You cannot afford for them to lose more weight. So here are some sample meal plans, all with different amount of calories.


BREAKFAST: 1/2 cup of oatmeal cooked in water
SNACK: an ensure regular or plus calories OR a fruit smoothie
LUNCH: a bowl of rice with chicken or some other form of protein such as beans, ham or beef
SNACK: ensure regular, plus calories or a fruit smoothie
DINNER: 1/2 cup of rice, a small amount of chicken, and some steamed vegetables or a bowl of vegetable based soup

Once the body is ready to move onto solids you can move on to this plan

Breakfast: one slice of bread with one tbsp of peanut butter and jam
Snack: ensure plus calories
Lunch: 1/2 a ham and cheese sandwich
Snack: 1/2 of a 6 inch tortilla with hummus and grates carrots
Dinner: 1/2 cup of rice with 3oz of chicken, and steamed veggies, plus some milk OR spaghetti and meatballs with a side ceasar salad and some milk
Snack: ensure plus OR fruit smoothie

Once you become more comfortable eating a variety of foods and a larger quantity....

Breakfast: 2 slices of bread with butter, one egg and juice or a fruit salad OR 1 cup of oatmeal cooked with vanilla ensure and 1/4 cup of raisins
Snack: something you love, but would never let yourself eat..."naughty foods" ex. Cookies and milk, Ice cream and fruit, Cheese and crackers, chips, etc.
Lunch: a ham,chicken,tuna,meat,egg or turkey sandwich with either carrot sticks and an apple or a juice box.
Snack: another small quantity of a "naughty food" muffins and milk, but be sure to also include some nutritious foods like frutis and dairy.
Dinner: 1 cup of rice, 1/2 large chicken breast, 1/2 cup of steamed veggies, a side salad and milk or shredded cheese.
Snack: Green smoothie or fruit juice (something light)


Breakfast: 2/3 cup of yogurt, 1/2cup of granola, 1/2 cup of fruit
Snack: a granola bar and fruit or smoothie
Lunch:  a large bagel with 2-4 Tbsp of peanut butter and banana, an apple, chips or cookies and milk
Snack: veggies and hummus
Dinner: whole wheat pasta with tomato sauce and chicken, or meat sauce or cheese sauce, a side salad with dressing, a slice of garlic bread and a glass of milk (you can also substitude with any other milk alternative)
Snack: cereal and milk OR fruit and nuts

I'M ON THE RIGHT TRACK TO GAINING WEIGHT: 3000-3500 CALORIE ( this is the stage I'm at currently)

Breakfast: 1 cup granola, 1.3 cups of yogurt and  3/4 cup of fruit
Snack: energy bar and milk
Lunch: 2 slices of homemade or store bought vegetable pizza with a side of carrot sticks and fruit (you can sub with juice if you feel too full)
Snack: ensure plus and a muffin or cookies
Dinner: baked sweet potato (tastes really good if you add honey, cinnamon, yogurt and nuts), chicken, steamed vegetables and salad (with dressing)
Snack: Dessert of your choice: my favourite is a large piece of pumpkin pie with a bowl of fruit and some milk


Breakfast: 2 large pancakes with maple syrup, berries, whipped cream or ice cream, and a glass of milk or juice
Snack: 2 cups of Haagen Dazs ice cream, 1/2 cup of whole milk ( blend into a milkshake)
Lunch: 2 large, thick slices of bread with meatballs, cheese and red sauce inside, a side of mango, a glass of  milk and fries
Snack: one large bagel with peanut butter and banana with a glass of milk
Dinner: full fat mac and cheese made with full fat cheese, cream or whole milk, served with juice, a side of grapes and carrot sticks
Snack: an ensure plus and a large cookie or other pastry or if you go on the maudsley parents program website they have a recipe sheet with very high calorie desserts.

Breakfast: oatmeal (1 cup cooked in milk of choice), a mashed banana, 2 Tbsp of almondbutter, raisins or dates,
Snack: large green smoothie ( 2 bananas, 5 dates, 1/2 cup of berries, handful of spinach greens, spirulina powder, 1 Tbsp of chia seeds blend in liquid of choice: almond milk, juic, etc.)
Lunch: 1.5 cups of quinoa, 1-2 cups of steamed vegetables, 5oz grilled marinated tofu, 1 whole avocado, lemon juice
Snack: 2 slices of toast, 1 banana, handful of  dark chocolate chunks, 2 tbsp peanut butter (grill sandwich), 1.5 cups of  2% milk
Dinner: 1-2 cups of Roasted vegetables (brussel sprouts, potatoes, gren beans and a bit of oil or butter and seasoning), 5oz steak, 1.5-2 cups of rice, a side smoothie (2 bananas, dates, almond butter, milk, cinnamon)
Dessert: large portion of whatever you want

So I hope this helped some of you and if you have anymore questions please contact me at glitterbaby92@hotmail.com.


Katzman, D., & Pinhas, L. (2005). Help for eating disorders: A parents' guide to symptoms, causes & treatments. Toronto: R. Rose.


  1. Please use exact measurements. I have had anorexia for 27 years. I do not know how to eat right. We need to know the portion amount lke 3oz of fish. I think it would be helpful for most anorexia to know that when they get to their proposed weight, a diet that will maintain their weight. That is what freaks us out. The whole process of gaining weight is hard beacuase we can feel each pound and feel the food in our stomach. If we know a diet that will help maintain that weight, it will eliminate some of the fear we feel about never stopping gaining weight. I am in the process right now and it is the hardest thing for me to do. I can't look in the mirrior because I will see this enormous person. We need a healthy diet. It helps though if you can find a high colorie food that does not make you feel full. Peanut M&M are my favorite and I have "allowed" myself to eat them. Though they are expensive, the frozen meals provide at least a balance meal with the exact calories. Thanks for your blog.

    1. hey, if you wanted to know exact measurements, i used canada's food guide so for ex. one portion of meat or chicken is the size of your palm, a portion of veggies is two cupped hands and a portion of rice is like a fist full...etc. they have a website that shows you how to be healthy and a maintenance plan. and some foods that are high in calorie low in volume are ensures plus, nutbutters, dried fruits, juices and milkshakes, and junk foods, energy bars, stuff along those lines. I truely hope you get better and i know how tough it can be but remember that you can do this and that you have my total support. even though i dont know you i bet youre beautiful, so stay strong and if you need help or support or somethinf feel free to e-mail me @ glitterbaby92@hotmail.com

    2. If you want to know exact portion sizes etc then perhaps see an actual dietitian. You say you don't know how to eat right, then reading this isn't going to help much at all. You need to learn about nutrition. It isn't all about calories it's about feeding your body with very nutritious foods - foods that are dense in vitamins, minerals, protein, fat and complex carbs. Not over loading it with sugar filled shit which is purely empty calories.

    3. Thank you very much for your opinion, this was written a long time ago when i was like half way through my recovery. I am now fully recovered and enjoy living a healthy lifestyle. I'm going to update the meal plan to be more healthier. I have read SEVERAL pieces on health and nutrition and all of that stuff, I have another website about health and stuff if you are interested, but this website was built for developing a healthy relationship with food. Yes, sugary crap food isn't good for you, but that shouldn't mean you can't include it in your diet. I encourage people to get over their fear of eating unhealthy foods, and it also convenient that they are high in calories, but yes the quantities should be moderated. Once again I thank you for the input and I will update this post soon :)

  2. Thanks Emma. And remember that lots of vegetables or at least vegetable juices in the early stages are also badly needed by the body,

    1. Yes, definitely agree :) I'm going to update this post and include some more healthier options.

  3. Does it actually take more than 1400 to gain? my bmi is under 15 (trigger warning) and I'm convinced i'll gain heaps on that amount. Does it actually take a lot to gain weight?

    1. Well you may naturally gain a bit of weight with the 1400 calories, but very very slowly because your body isn't used to the food. Usually gaining weight is very important and sometimes it's important that you gain weight quickly due to the fact you might die. But, it really depends on the person. Some people need thousands and thousands of calories to gain weight, while others will gain weight on 2000 calories. I can't tell you how much weight you will gain or how much you should be eating because that all depends on you. You probably don't even feel comfortable eating this amount let alone eating more. It's suggested you eat more, but if you wanna take it slowly and start off with 1400 that is totally fine.. I wish you the best and good luck :)

  4. I want to know from where I can get preworkout supplement as soon as possible for gaining my weight. Please give some valuable recommendations.

    1. hey,I would recommend ensure plus calories. They come in different flavors such as vanilla, strawberry and chocolate. They're about 350 calories a bottle. If you're looking for more calories you can make a fruit smoothie with them and add other things such as peanut butter, ice cream, yogurt, etc (whoever you're comfortable with). It's all liquid so,it should be easy to digest before your workout. They also provide a good amount of carbs, protein and fats. Hope this helped :)

  5. Hi there, just wondering if you ever reached the 5000-6000 calorie plan? Thanks for sharing these examples.

    1. np ^_^ and I would do it like occasionally. I kind of went through a self recovery type thing. But usually I would eat 3000-4000 calories for most of the week and maybe 5000-6000 like 1-2 days a week. But, I gained the weight quickly when I was eating that much, so I only did that (super high calories) for maybe 2-3 months. I gained like 15 pounds eating around 2000 at the beginning of my recovery and then the rest with the 3000-6000 calories. Hoped that helped ^_^

    2. Thanks for your reply! Good to know it is common to reach 5000 calories. I am not there yet but since eating 3000 consistently i find i am often still hungry (compared to even 2500 where I would really struggle to get enough). I am following your examples for the healthier 5000-6000 plan and just eating a bit less but I will admit the smoothies freak me out a bit (with all the dates and sugar etc). I guess i just worry for some reason that eating those high sugar foods (even though healthy) will just go straight to my stomach or something. Silly right? I know i need to get over this but i do struggle at times. I try to tell myself that i need the calories so thats why I'm eating the dates.

    3. I'm proud of you :) and not to freak you out, but when you start gaining, most of it WILL go to your belly. But, it's natural and over time the fat will evenly distribute itself. So, dont' give up and keep going. But, who cares if you gain belly fat, i mean i don't even know you, but i'd still like you just as much if you gained a little bit of fat. The priority should be your health. This is a disease and in order to get over it, you need to accept yourself the way you are NOW in order to get better. I know I know, better said then done :p but everything happens for a reason and you're going to learn a lot of lessons throughout your recovery. So, stay strong and just remember that nobody ever wrote a song about a flat ass :p

    4. I have just discovered this site and have to admit the reason I have plateaued after 4 years is because of the fear of it going to my belly. I have always had a gut and even at a healthy weight I did so I think im fat when i eat as I bloat. I have plateaued after 4 years and needed help again. Im terrified but glad to have support on the internet and helpful eating plans. I just Ana would pee off!

    5. I am so sorry for replying so late. i haven't checked my blog in a while. Usually when you first eating again, naturally there will be bloating and water retention. There's a whole ton of articles online explaining why and how it occurs. But, eventually over time, as you continue eating, your body will start to adjust and function properly. Your weight will then be evenly distributed on your body. A lot of people revering tend to gain weight around their belly at first (me included) but over time that will go away. You have to stay strong and keep telling yourself that this is only temporary and part of recovery. You have to push through this little shitty stage in order to get to where you want to be. I believe you can do it and honestly it is so worth it. Once you start to let loose a bit and not worry about food and all of that ed stuff life gets so much better and less stressful. I wish you the best and if you ever want to email me I'll try my best to respond.

  6. Nice article. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences with us. Looking forward for the next!

  7. Your article had made me cry. I've found it so useful especially after being anorexic and suffering for so long, am finally starting recovery and beginning to put on weight but I cannot describe how uncomfortable I am about it and how I don't want to get a flabby stomach and blow up, knowing there are others going through this and supporting each other, and you even recovering fully and living a happy healthy life I a big motivation, thank you xx

    1. this made me so happy to hear. I hope everything is going well for you. As for the flabby stomach thing, as long as you're being relatively healthy the bloat will fade over time and your weight will redistribute. If you ever want to talk or need support feel free to email me :) best of luck.

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  9. I don't want to gain very fast but I know that I need to, I'm 5'8 and 101 pounds...resently I was in the hospital for my eating disorder and my weight was 130 pounds when I left 2 months ago...I relapsed and it's taken me to literally be on deaths door to realize its not worth it. But anyway back to what I was gonna ask...if I ate 2200 calories a day would I gain about a half pound a week? Or more

    1. I understand that these thoughts are consistently present in your life and getting better is a very scary thing.But, you kind of have to ask yourself the question.. does it really matter in the long run? does gaining half a pound or one pound a week on 2200 calories really matter? I know this is a late reply and I hope you're doing well, but you have to think about your health first. You said it yourself that it's taken you almost dying to realize things need to change. You just have to remember why you're doing this and why you don't want to go back there and why you want to move forward and actually want to live your life. Gaining any amount of weight as long as it's for your health both mentally and physically is okay and is a good thing. Instead of asking "will this make me gain weight?" ask "will this make me happier?" "will this give me more strength to be able to do everyday things?" I really do hope you're getting better and live a healthy happy life again and if you ever need support or want to talk you can always email me and I'll try to respond asap.

  10. Thank you for sharing such great information.It is informative, can you help me in finding out more detail on Diet Plan For Weight Gain
    ,i am interested and would like to know more about this field and wanted to understand the details about Diet Plan

    1. Hey, I got most of the information from the book i sourced at the bottom of the article. It basically explains everything a parent would need to know about eating disorders and how to help their child. The meal plans on the other hand, I came up with based off what I ate when I was in recovery with the help of some of the guidelines my nutritionist/therapist gave me. I hope this helped.

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