For those of you who haven’t seen my other topic, I’m 17, I’m currently 6’2 and I weigh 134-137 pounds depending on the time of day I weigh myself. I used to think I have a fast metabolism, but lately I think I’m just malnourished. Can I expect to gain weight after Soylent? If so, how much? Enough that I would have to buy a new wardrobe? (Or, new pants at the very least)
Even if you only have light exercise you would need 2366 calories a day just to maintain your current weight. Soylent comes in at 2200. Crap, another site says you need just 1712 to maintain your weight.
I think the first number is closer to correct.
The first number is closer to correct, I am 6’3" and 157 pounds and I require 2452 calories and I exercise moderately (I walk everywhere). That is to maintain weight. My current DIY recipe has 2551 calories and I wouldn’t mind gaining some weight.
According to this new article, the male version will have 2400 calories. That means us tall skinny guys who want to gain weight can eat the entire bag each day and simply add a real meal to the day and boom, we’re gaining weight.
I don’t really WANT to gain weight though. Sure, I wouldn’t mind a few pounds to look a little healthier, but I like being thin. I guess I’m just afraid of getting fat… Or is that not possible on Soylent? XD
Just do some push ups, pull ups, and squats and the weight you gain will be very healthy weight.
But since I will have a proper diet, wouldn’t it be healthy weight anyway? I’m starting to think there is more to this than I understand…
I’ve thought about starting to run on our treadmill. Would cardio work fine?
the best answer to this question is self-experimentation. proceed with soylent, record your weight over a period of time, and adjust your intake/activity accordingly.
I suppose that is my best bet. I’m just afraid of having to buy a new wardrobe
Unfortunately we can’t answer if you are going to gain weight because we don’t know how many calories you burn. If you have the money, ask Santa for a FitBit or use one of the many websites to estimate it for you. Gaining or losing weight is very simply calories in (soylent or any other food) minus calories burned. One pound is approximately 3,500 calories. So if you want to gain one pound per week, consume an excess of 500 calories per day than you burn (500 x 7 days = 3,500 calories). If you want to lose a pound per week consume a deficit of 500 per day.
I want to lose a little weight so I consume a deficit between 500-750 per day, I don’t exercise at all (I know I should) and having been shedding pounds in the last 6 weeks. Once I get to my ideal weight I will bump up my soylent intake to maintain.
Losing weight, and I suppose gaining weight, is much easier for me since I prepare 500 kcal bags of soylent, one for each meal. I don’t have to use any of those meal calculators nor meal plans.
When I know I am having a big dinner, like Thanksgiving or attending a party, I don’t drink my 500 kcal soylent dinner and will only consume 250 kcal for breakfast the next day to help balance my intake.
I have also noticed when I do eat that I eat much smaller portions, I was speaking with a doc friend who suggested my stomach has gotten smaller since soylent is only about 100 grams per 500 kcal and I feel fuller faster.
Sadly, weight gain and loss are not NOT NOT SIMPLY CALORIES IN MINUS CALORIES BURNED - it’s a chaotic system, with dozens of known inputs, and you will mess yourself up if you try to treat it as something this simple. IT IS true to an extent, though, so don’t ignore calories entirely. Some factors in addition to calories:
Recent discovery of different behavior of different gut microbiota (yes, like termites, your bacterial partners living in your gut help you to digest your food) shows that some of us are “blessed” with highly efficient gut bacteria that can digest fats much more effectively, giving more energy from the food you eat and giving you much more of the kinds of fat that your body will store.
Fat cells are not the passive envelopes people used to think they are; they’re an organ in and of themselves and pump out messenger chemicals that change your body’s functioning, and if they get to be too prevalent, this messes up your entire function. (They act like a benign tumor, demanding more and more for themselves to the detriment of the rest of you.)
And there are viruses that damage the pancreas (one vector for type 2 diabetes) and viruses which appear to cause insulin insensitivity (another cause for type 2 and for unexpected weight gain.) The diabetic virus was discovered in Australia in the 1980s, as a co-factor; the one that changes insulin sensitivity is more recent and what it does and how it works is still being discovered.
The kind and amount of exercise you get is much more important than the amount of calories you burn, but the major point is to avoid becoming sedentary - walk at least two miles a day, try not to spend more than an hour at a time sitting without moving, do your basic calisthenics - pushups, planks, and “burpees” of some type. That’ll keep you going even if you are somewhat sedentary; I knew a guy in college who was built, but didn’t do anything else.
If you want to stay “thin” and keep your clothes fitting - start a weight training program. You will get more muscle, but unless you are a genetic freak (and you would know because you’d look like a gymnast naturally without exercising hard) you won’t get “huge” or even outside normal unless you push yourself to actually gain, and eat and rest with that in mind.
You’ll probably like how it looks and feels - being stronger is just amazing even if you don’t get bigger, and muscle just looks better than skinny-but-smooth, when you take your shirt off.
The nutrition side is straightforward, but not simple.
First off you need to balance the macronutrients, which Soylent does, but if you’re doing a DIY you should balance it for your own needs, based on lean body mass, your percent bodyfat and your target body weight. Normally, males adults should have a bodyfat percentage between 8 and 12 percent. Below 4 percent indicates starvation and will hurt you, above 15 percent is probably too high, in the long term, and above 20 percent is believed to increase risk of long-term chronic illnesses.
Adult males, full-grown, want something in the range of 0.5 to 0.8 grams of protein per pound of lean body mass DAILY. The more active you are the more you need; if you are sedentary you want less because you aren’t using it up. So figure your activity: sedentary: 0.5, moderate: 0.6, active: 0.7, athlete in training: 0.8.
You’re 17 so you may still be growing, so add .2g to this until you hit about age 22. Bodybuilders and strength athletes in training, and some other high-intensity sport athletes, also need to add .1 to .2 grams, depending on their workload and the amount of steroid support they’re using to recover. (No, steroids won’t make you super huge without working out hard. If they did we’d have lots more ex-fat people. They make you recover faster.)
Figure your lean body mass - get help measuring it if you don’t have a scale that does this. It doesn’t need to be super-precise, it’s just a guideline. Multiply that by your protein number and that will give you your grams protein requirement. If you aren’t getting that much from Soylent, then you may want to add other protein with an occasional “muggle meal” or by adding the missing amount from a pure-protein powder. If you’re doing DIY, adjust as you wish.
Once you have your protein requirement figured out, you need to determine what else you need. The “Food Pyramid” scam has made people think that Fat Is Bad, and Carbs Are Good, but that’s bullshit. Fat is food. Carbs is food. Overdoing or underdoing what your body wants to burn is bad.
You know about how many calories you need. Subtract the calories of protein. That’s 4 x grams of protein because protein has about four calories per gram. What’s left is your fat-and-carb allowance. If you’re doing standard Soylent, you don’t have to worry about this number. You will be getting what you need. If you’re doing a DIY, you do care.
I personally prefer to get much of my total calories from fats because I have metabolic syndrome - type 2 diabetes, in other words - and carbs don’t help me much. I prefer to use medium-chain triglycerides - basically coconut oil and olive oil - because they are close to what the body wants to use for fuel normally. Normal fats are 9 calories per gram, MCTs are 8.3 calories per gram. I set up for 50% of my total calorie intake as MCT, then the rest is from carb sources. I try to get these from palatinose or from maltodextrose, which are “slow” sugars that provide a steady but not spikey carbohydrate feed.
Determine how many calories of fat you need as a percent of your entire intake. My choice of 50% is high and some people will be gasping and wetting themselves in outrage at that number. Good for them. Take your percentage of total calories that you want as fat, and divide by 9, if you’re using regular fats, or 8.3 if you’re using exclusively MCTs. That’ll be the number of grams of fat to use.
The rest is carbohydrates. Divide the number of calories remaining by 4 to get the grams.
Note that alcohol is 7 calories per gram, and you do not want to get much of your intake in that form because it will interfere with metabolizing carbs and fats correctly, which may cause them to be stored in the liver instead.
Don’t forget that your DIY source needs to have about 32 grams of soluble and insoluble fiber, which keep you regular. Some sources are partially digestible, and should be considered part of your carbs, but while they do burn, and thus show up as calories to lab tests, most of them are not digestible, so look for how much of them you do have to count. It depends on the source.
(By the way, avoid artificial sweeteners unless you are also taking in carbohydrates. Your taste-nerves DO interact with your endocrine system and tasting sweet without carbs to digest, trains your body to ignore sugar cues, which is part of insulin resistance.)
With macronutrients figured out you need to balance the micronutrients to your needs. Soylent will do that, but the DIY side of it is harder, unless you can find good sources. There’s lots of support on this forum.
Realize that you will need to keep track of the “muggle food” you eat - fast food, snack food, sodas, etc. all provide much more macronutrient and much less micronutrient than you expect, and they WILL throw off your counts unless you track them. (I know this from my own experience, but once you start, do it for a month, and it will become so very much easier to manage.) While you’re on regular Soylent do NOT take vitamin supplements without checking the dosages against what’s already in the Soylent. If you do a DIY, you will choose your own supplement.
When you are eating your full day’s supply of Soylent, or a DIY that provides your full day, do NOT eat muggle food. You will be taking in more food than you can use, and since the rest of your diet is balanced, the Calories In = Calories Out rule DOES apply. If you want muggle food, or there’s a surprise celebration or meal, by all means partake, but do not do it more than once a week without lowering your Soylent or DIY ration ahead of time.
Finally, this is pretty well known but… eat more in the mornings (after fasting), less at night. Avoid a high carb meal at night. Go for at least seven and up to ten hours without food at night, because it trains your body in how to handle that state; some people like to do a “limited fast” where they eat nothing, or maybe 400-500 calories in one day, once a week or so. That’s also supposed to help your body learn to manage its sugars and proteins, and like any other kind of training, that’s important.
You’re in an ideal situation; age 17 is when the “final growth push” tends to happen, so if you do your workouts, eat good stuff, and sleep at least 8 hours a day (doesn’t have to be all at once) you will grow stronger, feel better, and set yourself up for a longer, more healthy life.
And remember to reassess how this is working, every month or so. KEEP TRACK of what you’re eating, how much you exercise, and what your body fat appears to be doing, so you can tell how it’s affecting you.
(ETA: Fixed incomplete sentence, added body comp info.)
(ETA2: I forgot to explicitly state calories from protein. )
Besides calories in, what are the inputs? Are there none, other than the food you eat? I suppose even the input side is nontrivial because of different amounts of fiber in the food and different amounts of absorption of each nutrient by the intestine.
In response to OP:
Track your weight on Soylent. If you appear to be gaining weight, decrease the amount of Soylent you consume daily (deviate from the printed instructions). If you appear to be losing weight, increase the amount of Soylent.
Your daily energy usage naturally varies wildly. Weighing yourself periodically will allow you to judge whether you’re consuming enough energy to match your consumption and maintain body weight.
Short answer: Don’t worry about your weight on soylent. You can much more easily control it than with normal food.
Long answer: If you want to gain weight, eat more. If you want to lose weight, eat less. The good thing about soylent is that you don’t have to worry about guessing calories. You have a base, known caloric amount and you can adjust accordingly. With Soylent, start with the 2200, for DIY start with an educated guess, and then use a scale daily to keep track of what happens with your weight. Eat more or less based on what you’re seeing and keep in mind you will fluctuate ±1kg from day to day - so pay attention to the long term trend.
I’ve lost 7kg since starting soylent with an 1800 calorie budget. If I had gone with 2200, I would likely have not changed, and with 2400 I would have gained weight. But that’s me, you’ll be different. With all due respect to Foom, it really is all about calories in vs calories out. Everybody has a different BMR, though, which makes it different for everyone.
Keep in mind, exercise is great for you, but it’s not really effective in and of itself for controlling weight. Running an entire marathon would only cost you 2000 calories or so, so as great as it would be for you, your base metabolic rate is much more important factor in determining how many calories you burn. Pumping iron will help you gain muscle, but only if you have a surplus of energy available to put to the task.
This sums it up pretty well. I’m unfortunately that weird personality type that gets super restless/fidgity on days where I don’t run at least 5 miles. The good news is that until you generate a caloric deficit that is too big to make up for, you kinda self-adjust as long as you eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re not.
I sympathize with the OP on undereating though. I tend to get sucked into whatever I’m focusing on and forget to eat and sleep.