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How am I gaining weight while not eating enough?

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How am I gaining weight while not eating enough?

I realize I need to eat ~2000 calories everyday because that is what my body burns, correct?

Well, I have been eating less than that, mainly because I do not find time to eat very much. I have been drinking lots of protein shakes, getting ~150 g of protein as well as some fat that protein shakes have. Additionally, I will try to eat a bowl of fruit if I am still feeling hungry. I would say that I drink about ~1000 calories from protein shakes and get an additional 200-900 calories with random food that I eat.

I also workout everyday for ~30 minutes, doing some lifting. I am getting stronger, but I am also getting fatter. My belly seems to get larger and flabbier every single day.

How am I able to gain so much fat while I am eating less than I should and my muscles are growing (because I am getting stronger)?


Last edited by Obafemi : 09-23-2009 at . Reason: feel free to move this to the Bodybuilding/Fitness forum if it should be there

Do some physical work. Sometimes stress will have you backed up, and you’ll blow out in your gut.

In the end you will be doing a consistent amount of physical work as well as eating a little bit more food.

Right now its sounding like your metabolism slowed down as a result on cutting back on food. If you do physical work, it will raise up your metabolism and you will burn calories. The new thing is eating only slightly less than whats needed for your size, but raising up the amount of physical work.

Your body thinks it is starving, so it is saving calories. You should try eating small meals several times through out the day, to increase your metabolism. You also might want to add in some cardio to your weight lifting routine. Hope this helps.

Originally Posted by brace
Your body thinks it is starving, so it is saving calories. You should try eating small meals several times through out the day, to increase your metabolism. You also might want to add in some cardio to your weight lifting routine. Hope this helps.

Yes what brace said. It’s a metabolism issue.

I highly recommend you take a look at this website http://www.scoobysworkshop.com/nutrition.htm.


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It could be a metabolism issue, but it could be something else. The best way to know, is to measure the body fat percentage with calipers. That will tell you if you are gaining or losing fat. Weight gaining, could come from muscle weight; if you just started working out, getting strong, yor muscles are growing, while the fat brning process is slower; the gut, could be just bloatness from all the protein shakes and fruit.

The other two options is as mentioned before, metbolism, or in worst case, hormonal issue. Stress and other mental disorders can cause hormonal imbalances. In men, the firs hormonal problem is low testosterone and high estrogen; that will make you gain fat fast, specially in areas like the mid section.


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Drinking protein shakes all day is not the solution. Your body needs a lot more than just protein. I recently lost 40 lbs in the last 5 months, and I’m at a point right now where I can eat whatever I want, and not gain wait. The reason for this is because I sped up my metabolism.

I used to eat 3 large meals a day, and that was on top of the food I ate at work (I do construction so I eat a lot during my work day). I started hitting the gym after work, and decided to start eating more smaller meals throughout the day (I’m talking a handful of food, an apple, half a sandwich, a banana, anything like that). Since I started doing that, I’ve found that my body burns it off a lot faster. I have also gained a lot of muscle mass as well. I went from 200lbs to 165lbs, I look lean and cut now.

I can tell you right now, if size from the gym is what you want, protein shakes aren’t the solution. Don’t get me wrong, they can help, but it’s a lot better to get the nutrients you need from natural foods. Get your protein from chicken or fish. Your muscles also need certain carbs after a workout, apples are excellent for this.

I know you said you can’t find time to eat a lot throughout the day but here’s my suggestion.

1. Eat a big breakfast with lots of carbs. Carbs are excellent in the morning since that’s what you need to kick start your day. It also stops you from craving carbs later in the day which is a big no no.
2. Try to eat something every few hours. If you can keep protein shakes with you, than you can bring fruit with you as well.
3. Never, ever, ever let yourself starve! Whenever you are hungry, eat something. I mean it. Have a fruit to fill your stomach then get back to work.
4. Don’t eat anything past 7pm. If you are absolutely starving, than this would be the time to drink a protein shake.
5. And finally, drinks LOTS of water. I’m talking at least 8 glasses a day. Water is also good to keep your stomach full so you don’t get as hungry.

Do this and I guarantee you’ll start losing weight.


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Originally Posted by man-of-10
Yes what brace said. It’s a metabolism issue.

I concur.

To the OP, if you eat two big meals throughout the day (for example), even if the total calorie amount is below your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate), the body will go into starvation mode. If your meals are inconsistent, the body doesn’t know the next time it will get food and will store the food as fat for survival.

There are a lot of women that I know who work on their feet all day, eat very little, and complain about not losing weight. If they actually ate more (sometimes TWICE of what they are currently eating) and had 5-6 meals a day, their metabolism will speed up and they will lose the weight. Same goes for men.

A great diet tracker that I use is fitday.com. There are other ones, but this is the one I found that I like. Spend a full week measuring out your foods. Once you get the hang of it, you can eyeball your food. If you have the willpower, measure your foot as much as possible. If you don’t have the greatest of genetics, your margin of error when it comes to calories will be minimal and you will need to account for even the smallest amounts of calories.

If you are a terrible at eyeballing your food, you could probably add anywhere from 20-100 calories per meal to your food unintentionally. Five meals a day times 100 and you’re at 500 calories in excess per day. Do that 7 days a week and you are at 3500 calories (1 pound).


Last edited by ShyMplsMale : 09-25-2009 at .

You may be putting on water weight, hence your belly swelling. If you are taking supplements there is a good chance you are putting on water weight, creatine monohydrate (as an example) is infamous for putting on water.

What is your body weight and fat percentage ?

That is a starting point, you mention needing 2000 calories a day, and taking in 150 grams of protein, which is a lot, by the way, how did you determine your daily caloric need ?

As has been stated by others already, more, smaller meals is better, about every three hours works best, if you can swing it .

Watch those protein shakes, though, some are really high calorie affairs, and often over-emphasise protein over real nutrition .

"Good Calories Bad Calories” by Gary Taubes— starch, insulin …


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Originally Posted by Muscular_Beaver
What is your body weight and fat percentage ?

That is a starting point, you mention needing 2000 calories a day, and taking in 150 grams of protein, which is a lot, by the way, how did you determine your daily caloric need ?

As has been stated by others already, more, smaller meals is better, about every three hours works best, if you can swing it .

Watch those protein shakes, though, some are really high calorie affairs, and often over-emphasise protein over real nutrition .

I am ~<190 pounds and my fat % is < 19%. I am 6’1”. I estimated my daily caloric need with a BMR device that measured how many calories a 190 pound person would burn.

So, you are a few points above average body fat, but not too much .

Boosting your metabolism through cardio sessions, done on an empty stomach if you can manage, and preceded with a metabolic booster like green tea, hoodia, mate~ or the like, should burn that extra fat .

Increasing your muscle mass will help also, I would stick with basic, heavy, compound movements like squats, dead-lifts, and bench press .

Be cautious of over-training, don’t work the same muscles every day, give them a day off to recover and grow.

Also, drink as much water as you can, if you can do a gallon a day, do it, if not, at least two or three quarts.

Try and cut down on your sodium intake as well, you could be retaining a lot of water .

Good luck, and remember, endeavor to persevere !

If you are gaining fat and muscle, then you ARE eating enough (actually more than enough), period. I suspect you’re ingesting more calories than you realize, or that your BMR is lower than typical for for your size. Eat less and exercise more. Simple as that.

Are you experiencing any other symptoms associated with an abnormally slow metabolic rate? These may include fatigue, cold intolerance, water retention, among others. It wouldn’t hurt to have your doctor check your TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) levels next time you are in for a general physical. Hypothyroidism can often go undetected for an extended period of time and can result in weight gain despite a low daily calorie intake. It affects about 3 percent of the population and is treatable with one pill (levothyroxine) per day. It is unlikely that this is the cause, but if you’ve never had a full blood panel, it wouldn’t hurt to know your TSH for comparisons later in life.

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