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I need to gain some weight! Part 1 of 3

Robyn Openshaw - Dec 13, 2011 - This Post May Contain Affiliate Links

Dear GreenSmoothieGirl: I have a slight dilemma:  we have been working toward a whole foods lifestyle and I have 12 Steps to Whole Foods.  I have a supportive husband who is losing weight like me.  I’m ecstatic, him not so much. He is 6 ft and 165 lbs and would love to be 175.  He has been open to trying new things and scaling back on meat. He works as a County Attorney and is in court most days, which makes eating enough calories during lunch essential. Do you have any suggestions? How can I get more calories in him, in something that is portable? –Britni

Dear GreenSmoothieGirl: “I’m 34 and have always been super-skinny, but not because I want to be. I want to start lifting weights to put on some muscle, and I was wondering: how can I eat healthy and put on weight? – Rachel

Answer: So you know everyone ELSE who reads this blog hates you now, right? (Over 70% of America wants to be thinner.)

Believe it or not, I get this question often. (Most of the inquiries are about weight loss, of course, but it’s still an issue for some.) Rachel and Britni, when your body absorbs minerals appropriately, AND you are eating good nutrition, you tend to find your healthy weight, whether that’s up or down. Getting enough minerals isn’t always the problem—usually gut imbalances and degenerative problems are in the way of utilizing the minerals you DO eat.

I can’t prove it, but my observation from talking to thousands of people–and hundreds of underweight people—is that they are flip sides of the same coin. (I believe Dr. Robert O. Young also writes about this.) The same thing that makes some people too fat, makes other people too skinny.

You know what I’m talking about, because all of us know some thin people who eat tons of junk. “It’s not fair,” their friends say.

Of the 5-10% of Americans who are underweight, some of them aren’t actually underweight. Our weight charts have trended up, up, up in recent decades based on averages. Check out my report about that and Dr. McDougall’s weight charts HERE.

That page is the one that infuriates people on my site. Oh, and also this page—once I got a profanity-laced email from a lady who just flunked my nutrition quiz you can find HERE.

They find the low weights shocking. So I say, when people write in, hey, it’s not my weight chart. I’m not even promoting it. (My own weight is 7 lbs. over the “ideal” for my weight, in his chart, BTW.) It’s based on averages of indigenous peoples who eat only whole foods. There’s ONE purpose the U.S. weight chart serves, and that is to help us feel better about being overweight.

I put it that alternate weight chart up to show another perspective. To show that the weight charts currently being promoted are just based on averages of people who eat a processed diet, so don’t treat it like the Bible and bet the farm on it. They aren’t the averages themselves–they are set by bureaucrats, and INFLUENCED by averages. The original section of Fenway Park I visited last year? Most Americans wouldn’t even fit in the chairs. Back in the 40’s, virtually everyone did.

I wish we could mentally inoculate naturally thin people against this idea that there is something wrong with them. Men especially–they think they have to be bulked up, when some men are naturally lean. (I personally think super-lean men are ATTRACTIVE. Big, muscular guys are, too, but I think skinny is awesome. Do any of the women here want to agree with me?) Extreme thinness is the #1 factor associated with longevity. Skinny people live to be very old.

See what I’m doing here? I wish Britni’s husband would get stoked about being 165 lbs. I’m a huge fan of spending our energy learning to love our body, instead of spending that energy trying to change it. If we have a healthy body and we have healthy habits, that is. (It’s always good to change bad habits, adopt new ones.

Posted in: 12 Steps To Whole Food, Green Smoothies, Healthy Weight, Whole Food

14 thoughts on “I need to gain some weight! Part 1 of 3”

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  1. I was recently reading about the three doshas and learned that basically, Kapha-predominant dosha people have the easiest time gaining weight, Vatas have the easiest time losing weight, and Pittas can easily lose weight or gain weight if they choose. I think if people realized that their constitution might be different than others then they wouldn’t judge themselves so harshly (or other people!).

  2. Anonymous says:

    My husband is over 6 feet tall and had the same problem of feeling like he was wasting away on mostly plant foods. He works out at a gym, is physically active on his days off, and hikes a lot. His weight hovers around 170-175. He was the “skinny” kid growing up and hated it. I know that life long image plays a big part for his mental image now. We are 12 Steppers, and it has been a long and wonderful process. We have come to learn that the best calorie increase comes from grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. My husband now begins his day with the daily smoothie, then sprouted whole grains which we change up through the week. After listening to Dr. John McDougall about the barley eating Gladiators, we understood the carbohydrate world much clearer. My husband is now building “real” muscle, the kind Robyn talks about. He feels better about himself than when he was young. He loves to say that he will live longer than most Americans. it’s all in the food. Increase healthy calories, and your body does it for you.

  3. I personally don’t find super skinny men attractive. Having said that, myself and my husband do need to lose weight. However, I would be mortified if he lost more then I did and was skinnier then me. I have hypothyroidism and losing weight is not easy for me.

  4. Anonymous says:

    My husband used to be told all the time that he was too skinny…. he gains a little in the winter but come summer he loses any he has gained, because he physically works in the dirt. But I don’t worry about his dad is thin, his was thin… and I would assume so it goes back the line…..

    So if it is a mineral absorption thing how can it be corrected….. and if you are eating correctly will that correct it on its own eventually? And how do you know for sure without expensive testing?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Robyn, I couldn’t get the links to work but it could just be me.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Hey Robyn,

    My husband and I have this debate all the time about eating healthy because he too has always been slender. He’s 6 foot and weighs 150ish. Would this make put him in a nutrition deficit? What you would recommend?

  7. Anonymous says:

    Hi! My uncle and aunt came to one of your classes last week, and has signed me up for on in January in Sandy Utah! They own a water store in Utah and are going to start caring some of the products you use and share this wonderful lifestyle change on our customers! My question for you is this… We want to start blogging about or journey following your 12 step plan. Would you be ok with this and with us referencing Green Smoothie Girl so our customers can check you out as well?? Please let me know! My email is I look forward to speaking with you!


    1. Robyn Openshaw says:

      Kim, of course. And if you want to hold 12 Steps group here locally as others do around the U.S., let me know and I’ll publicize it for you. Make sure to post your blog link here or remind me to do so. 🙂 Have fun!!

  8. Anonymous says:


    My husband is quite lean–he works out daily, running, cycling and lifting weights. He looks great. I don’t personally know of any men his age (56) who are in the shape he’s in. Actually, we’re both quite lean–I’m the family raw foodist/nutrition geek, I have a serious yoga practice going, and do workouts by Tony Horton (P90X, etc.).

    Some people are just naturally lean. It’s perfectly possible to be lean yet very strong–look at distance runners and competitive cyclists–and one can add muscle by doing resistance training using challenging weights. My husband will never look like a heavyweight boxer, but he has a lot of upper body strength to go along with his endurance, because of his workout regimen.

    Thanks very much for your site and your educational work.


  9. Anonymous says:

    I do like lean men! Andrew Lincoln on the new AMC show the Walking Dead, for instance.

    I think you are absolutely right Robyn–the weight charts have trended up.. Watch a movie made even in the 70s–people were simply much leaner. Go back another generation and people worshipped Marilyn Monroe inpart because up until that time in history, no one could AFFORD to look like that.

  10. Robyn Openshaw says:

    Sheryl, weight alone doesn’t tell you whether someone has a ‘nutrition deficiency.’ If he digests food well, without gas, constipation, pain, loose stool, he doesn’t likely have major degenerative gut issues—which is usually at the root of extreme thinness when that thinness is not healthy. If he WANTS to gain weight, try the granola in Step 11, and add some pumpkin or sunflower seeds, soaked overnight if you’re using the baked (rather than raw, live) recipe.

  11. Oh, amen! Weight is just a number! Guys don’t need to be bulky or “ripped” in my book. Lean & HEALTHY is the new sexy!!!

  12. Anonymous says:

    neither links work

  13. Hi Robyn,

    This is such a great topic and I have finally figured out how to gain weight on a plant based diet. I am the Mom who won your “Junk Food Dude” book in Thousand Oaks, Ca. By the way, my kids love your book! It is one of our favorite books to read for bedtime. I met Lou Corona, a Raw Vegan for over 36 years,(a super healthy & kind person) and he taught me how to make cultured nut yogurts and I was able to gain about 3 pounds in one week. I have a blog with a link to the recipe. I hope that this nutritious plant based recipe can help some of your readers who are trying to normalize their weight on a plant based diet. Blessings and much love, Ester Perez

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