Trouble Putting/Keeping Weight On

Hi everyone,

I'm about four and a half months into my j-pouch/ileostomy to k-pouch transition and so far I love my k-pouch more than I could've ever imagined. The degree of freedom I feel is unbelievable and I wouldn't go back to an ileostomy for anything. Except... I have one big problem. I'm a fairly small 22-year-old girl and my ideal body weight is around 118-120 pounds. However, ever since my surgery, I'm about five pounds under that and I'm feeling the effects of being underweight hard. If I even slack on eating for one day, the next day I'm out for the count physically and emotionally. Putting and keeping on weight has been extraordinarily difficult, and I don't want to keep climbing up just to fall back down again. Do any of you have any tips as to how you put weight back on after your surgery, and how to keep yourself there? I need all the help I can get.



Original Post

I was put on Ensure after my take down. I am a female and was 97 lbs and I am 5'8". It took me about a year or so to get back to my normal weight of 130-135 lbs. It definitely takes time to start eating normal again and to eat as much as you use to after not being able to eat for so long. It also takes time for your body to heal, any surgery puts your body in a state of shock, it also needs to recover. To heal you need good nutrition too so always make it a point to eat. I liked six small meals/snacks throughout the day. It kept my strength up.

Good luck to you, my goal was always to be able to live my life again....and I am. 

hi--so great to hear the K has been successful and you have adjusted!!  very impressive.  sorry not to get back to you sooner.

as for the weight issue, how about nuts or nut butters?  i find that i can pulverize almonds (180 cal/1/4 cup) and macadamian (220 c/1/4 c), but not peanuts and walnuts for some reason.  you might be different re types of nuts.  I eat a tremendous amount of nuts--say 1/2 c daily--and also am addicted to dark choc, which has little sugar.  if you tolerate diary then cream and cheeses.

can you get your gi doc to recommend a dietitian?  sometimes one needs to pay out of pocket, but might be worth it so that you stay balanced.  a problem is that very few of them know about k pouches.

you didn't mention your height, but more importantly is your BMI normal, even if at the bottom range?  that is an important indicator. 

keep us posted please.  janet

Hi Casey

I am tempted to say, 'don't worry so much about it...The weight will come back on soon enough' but that would feel like I am belittling your concerns...and I am not.

I was chronically underweight at the time of my k pouch creation (38yrs ago) and wore a size somewhere around I am a 12 and trying hard to whittle myself down to my comfortable 8...nearly impossible lately.

I am a true believer in listening to your body and its needs, not the dictates of fashion. 

Are you feeling better, healthy, stronger? Are you warm enough or chronically cold? Do you sleep well at night? Is your hair falling out in clumps or shiny and strong?

All of the above are indicators of health...not fashion.

If you are cold, achy, your hair falling out (it is Fall so some of it will naturally shed but not in clumps), your skin color sallow then you need help with your nutrition, possibly blood work to help find out what is missing and some supplements. 

If you are feeling well and strong, full of optimism and sleep well then your body is probably in balance and the weight will come back naturally in time and maybe it is too soon to rush it.

Forcing yourself to gain weight so soon may disturb a delicate balance and add fat to your abdominal wall that is still healing.

You will put back on the lost weight over the next year, but slowly as your body adapts.

I would go for putting on more muscle mass, doing pilates and some light weights...muscle weighs more than fat and your body will attribute the calories to muscles and bulk up a tiny bit. Useless calories will not help you so aim for proteins and healthy carbs.

Congratulations, enjoy your new pouch...this is a lifetime marathon not a sprint to the finish take your time and enjoy the view.


Casey I bottomed out to 118lbs after this recent surgery and I was at 145ish only 2 months ago. As somebody mentioned, Ensure shakes is a good supplement for weight gain and I also recommend Lenny & Larry Complete Cookie, you can get the bundle at Vitamin Shoppe. This is basically my meal on the run when I get stuck doing 16hr shifts sometimes. Dietitians recommend lots of carbs for weight gain, but it gives me the "eyetis" and makes me feel sluggish wanting to just clock out and lay in bed lol.

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