10 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Gaining

I feel like I don’t often talk about my own personal experience with gaining on here, except for when it inspires one of my stories.  But in addition to being a weight gain writer, I am also a gainer. And there are probably a lot of gainers and aspiring gainers in my audience as well.  So being that I’ve been actively gaining for years, and been watching people gain for a lot longer, I want to share some of the things I’ve learned along the way.  Whether you’re already gaining or considering going for it, I hope this is helpful.

1. Eating to gain doesn’t have to mean eating garbage
In the gaining community, we have this image of gainers shoving down burgers and other fast food to put on weight.  And sure, that can be a cheap (and hot) way to do it. But if you want your gaining to be sustainable, you’re better off eating healthy.  Eat good foods, just eat a lot of them. Eat whole grains whenever possible. Eat lots of fruits and veggies. Cut down on trans and saturated fats and eat lots of healthy mono/polyunsaturated fats.  Keep your sugar intake low. Eat lots of protein, which will help you regulate blood sugar (according to my doctor) and help you build muscle (see next point). If you don’t get a lot of protein in your diet, protein powder can help, and it’s not nearly as unpleasant to taste as its reputation suggests.  Research foods for healthy weight gain, and eat plenty of those.

2. Work out
I know, this one seems even more antithetical to gaining than #1.  Especially because we have this idea in our culture that working out is done primarily to lose weight.  But working out and gaining weight don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Mild-to-moderate cardio for 30 minutes shouldn’t burn much fat, but will keep you healthier and more mobile.  Lifting weights and building muscle will give you the strength to carry your new weight, tighten your frame if you’re into that look, and improve your overall health greatly. Either one will be good for you, so pick the one you enjoy more (or at least hate less) and do it.  If you’re going to build muscle, make sure you’re targeting your abs, back, and legs. Keeping those strong is essential to carrying your new weight.

3. Slow and steady does win the race
I’ve been in the online gaining community for over a decade, and I’ve seen a lot of gainers come and go.  What I’ve observed consistently is that the ones who gained more gradually were much more likely to be able to stick with it.  Gaining quickly can be hot in theory, but your body needs time to adjust to those changes. Without that time, the health consequences can be a lot worse.  If you want to be able to keep gaining long term, and be around long enough to enjoy your gains, be in it for the long haul.

4. Grazing > Binging
On a similar note, you’re better off snacking all day to gain, rather than trying to get a bunch of calories at once by eating a giant meal.  Especially for aspiring gainers who feel like they don’t have the stomach capacity to gain, this is key. For one, there’s only so many calories the body can absorb at once, so all those calories you stuffed yourself with might not even stick!  For another, you’ll be able to get way more calories in over the day if you spread them out. Keep snacks nearby at work and at home. (Again, try for healthy ones: Google “snacks for healthy weight gain” for ideas.) Make it as easy as possible for yourself to eat mindlessly.  You’ll be surprised how quickly the calories add up.

5. Get tested for sleep apnea
Sleep apnea is a disorder where your airway closes when you sleep.  It reduces your quality of sleep, which leads to a whole host of other problems.  It can happen to people of any weight, and is thought to be really underdiagnosed, but it’s especially common in fat people.  So if you were already fat when you decided to start gaining, or you want to gain more than 10-20 pounds, it’s going to come with the territory.

I harp on this a lot because I was in denial for a long time about having sleep apnea.  Mine got so bad that I was falling asleep at my desk at work, in meetings, and even in traffic.  I’m really lucky that it never got me into a car accident, and that my boss was understanding about it and didn’t just fire me.  But I don’t want you to go through what I went through.

If you’re told you snore.  If you wake up in the middle of the night, especially if you wake up several times.  If you’re tired during the day, even after seven-eight hours of sleep. And especially if you’re having trouble staying awake during the day.  Talk to your doctor and get tested. CPAP masks can seem intimidating at first, but they are seriously life-changing if you need them. And once you get used to them (which took me about a month), you won’t even notice them as you’re falling asleep.

6. Be honest with your doctor about your intentions
This is a hard one, and it took me a long time to work up the courage to be honest with my doctor about wanting to gain.  There’s so much shame in our society surrounding being fat that to want to stay fat, let alone be fatter, is hard to talk about.  But if you’re going to talk about it with anyone, it should be your doctor. Your doctor’s job is to help you stay healthy on your terms.  For example, if someone does extreme sports, the best thing for their health would probably be for them to stop. But if they don’t want to stop, it’s a doctor’s job to tell them “Wear a helmet and work with safety experts,” not keep insisting they stop doing extreme sports.  It’s the same with weight (at least, it should be).

Your doctor might not initially understand the desire to gain (mine certainly didn’t), so be ready to explain yourself.  This is where it helps to have done the necessary introspection before you go in, because you can’t explain yourself to someone else if you don’t understand yourself.  But it will make a world of difference. Once your doctor knows you don’t want to lose weight, they’ll stop wasting your time with suggestions to help you lose weight, and help you figure out ways to address your health problems that work for you.

And if they don’t, dump them and find a doctor who will.  Your doctor isn’t one of your parents; you don’t have to listen to everything they say, or else.  Find a doctor who will work with you rather than stubbornly insisting on one method of treatment.

7. Don’t wait for an encourager to help you
Every time I go on the Grommr news feed, I see tons of posts from people saying “I need an encourager!”  And I really hope they’re being hyperbolic. Because if not, they’re going to be in for a bad time. Even if you find an encourager to help you gain, they could break up with you.  They could be forced to leave you for reasons outside of their control. They could die. And then you’re only left with yourself, and your own will to gain (or lack thereof).

At the end of the day, you’re the one who’s going to have to live with the extra weight you’ve put on, both the good parts and the bad.  If you can’t motivate yourself to gain, you need to seriously evaluate why before you try. The joy of gaining, of growing fatter, should be its own reward, and its own motivation.  Believe me, I understand how fun it is to have someone along for that journey. But if you can’t make the journey on your own, you’re not ready to make it.

8. Don’t depend on others to fund your gains
Patreon, OnlyFans, and begging for money in general are hot-button topics in the gaining community.  If you follow me on Grommr, you know I’ve made no secret of how I feel about it. So I’ll be just as upfront here.  If you can’t fund your own gains, maybe now is not the time for you to be gaining. Maybe you’ll get lucky enough to find a sugar daddy to fund your gains, or have a successful Patreon or OnlyFans.  But the odds are against you there, especially if you aren’t already really fat. And other people’s funds are just as unreliable as they are.

It is possible to gain on a budget.  Buy from the grocery store instead of fast food chains.  Fast food is cheap, but you’re still paying for someone to make it for you, which is money that could go to more food.  Add canola oil to the things you cook: it’s cheap and high in healthy unsaturated fats. Peanut butter, whole-grain pasta, and brown rice are also good healthy gaining foods that won’t break the bank.  Buy in bulk. Favor vegetarian options; buying meat means paying for the food that fed that animal, as well as its care and upbringing. Eat before bed so the calories stick better. All of this will go way farther to help you gain than asking strangers online for money.

9. You don’t have to stop gaining at the first sign of bad health
I’m a strong proponent of body positivity, and dismantling the idea that fat is inherently unhealthy.  But if you try to get to a weight that’s higher than the weight your body wants to naturally be at, there can be consequences:  high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, liver disease, etc. For some gainers, often called “death feedees”, the risk of these diseases is part of the thrill.  A lot more aspiring gainers stop gaining as soon as there’s any indication of any of these problems.

But you don’t have to do that.  Yes, weight loss is often suggested as a way to treat these diseases.  But there are other ways of treating them and reducing your risk of them, including some of my tips in this list.  This is one reason why being honest with your doctor about your intentions is so important, as they’ll be able to help you focus on ways of managing these issues other than losing weight.  These could include medication, diet changes, lifestyle changes, etc., and they won’t all necessarily be fun. But they will help you life a longer and better life at your desired weight.

I know from experience that it can be very stressful when you find out that your numbers are high.  But if you see your doctor regularly and get tested for these things regularly, you can catch them early enough to address them before they become major problems.  Knowledge really is power, and it includes the power to address these issues as you gain, rather than having to stop gaining because you let one of these problems get out of control until it was too late.  But with that said…

10. You will have to decide how you balance gaining and health
We’re getting into the heavy stuff here, and I’m not talking about your weight or mine.

I think something we all have in common is that we want to get the most out of life that we can.  Gaining applies to that in a very direct way. Intentionally gaining weight does put you at a greater risk of diseases and conditions that can shorten your life, or reduce your quality of life.  Even if you do everything you can to gain healthily, it can still happen. Family history and genetics have as much to do with it as lifestyle.

If you choose to intentionally gain weight, especially a lot of weight, you’re going to be faced with deciding how much you prioritize length and quality of life, and how much you prioritize getting fat.

I know, it’s not fun to think about stuff this morbid.  But I think not thinking about it is a big reason why so many gainers chose to lose weight at the first sign of any negative health effect.  They face their mortality, something they’re not used to, and get immediately spooked. Conversely, I think if you really give this some thought, you’ll be better equipped to make that decision, and handle the consequences and responsibilities that come with gaining long-term.

A lot of people see this kind of thing in a very binary way.  You can either live as healthily as possible, staying thin and eating for living instead of living to eat, seeking as much length and quality of life as possible.  Or you can go full death feedist and embrace the unhealthiness, living as unhealthily as possible as you get as fat as possible, all while your health and wellness plummet and you become immobile.

But those are just the extremes of a spectrum.  And I think most of us are happiest somewhere in the middle.  We all have to decide what risks we’re willing to take for the joys we want out of life.  Just leaving your house and getting in a car to go somewhere is a risk–you could get in an accident.  But is avoiding that risk worth missing out on all the things you enjoy in the world? The same way of thinking applies to gaining.

As you gain, you’ll have to think about how you’ll balance health and gaining.  Maybe you’re okay with outgrowing clothes, but not furniture. Maybe you’re okay with getting out-of-breath more easily, as long as you can still do all the things you enjoy.  Maybe you’re okay with treating health conditions with medication and lifestyle changes, but when that isn’t enough to keep them from getting worse, you’ll stop gaining. Maybe you’re okay with living with those conditions if their prognosis is measured in decades, but not if it’s measured in years.  They’re all different points on that spectrum, and it’s up to you to figure out where you’re happiest.

To some, this may seem like lunacy.  A lot of people see health as the ultimate goal, and think we should be willing to sacrifice everything else to it.  I don’t agree. Why give up all the things you enjoy in life that are the least bit unhealthy? So you can live longer and spend even more time not enjoying them?  No thanks. But at the same time, if you go too extreme, you might not be able to enjoy them for very long. The question is, how much do you prioritize one vs. the other so you get the most enjoyment out of your life?

To be clear, this is not an easy question to answer.  We’re talking about your mortality here, possibly the hardest question any of us will ever grapple with.  And your answer will probably change as you gain that first-hand experience. Maybe you’ll find the joy of being fat to be worth a possibly shorter life.  Maybe you’ll find gaining doesn’t bring you enough joy to be worth that risk. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer I can give you. But I hope I’ve at least convinced you to think about it.  It’ll make your gaining experience that much better.

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