1. EmbarrassedElephant
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    EmbarrassedElephant New Member

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    How long does it take to gain weight after being emaciated?

    Discussion in 'Research' started by EmbarrassedElephant, Aug 23, 2016.

    I have a character who isn't complete skin and bones, but you can see the ribs, hip bones, spine is somewhat visible, etc. Any idea how long it would take to gain enough body weight to be considered slightly underweight or at a normal body weight? The character now has access to food, so he can eat the normal three meals a day or more if deemed necessary.
    The character is six foot tall, male, and in his early twenties.
    Thanks!
     
  2. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    Now this IS one for @GingerCoffee

    I don't want to misinform with what is essentially a guess, but I'm going to say about four weeks.

    Let's see how close I get :)
     
  3. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think that depends on the reasons why he's emaciated, and his metabolism. I mean, you can be underweight for a number of reasons (medical conditions, medication, metabolism, eating disorders, starvation etc) And if he wants to gain weight at all. I mean, if it's a conscious choice to gain weight there are choices you can make of certain foods to eat that could make it easier.
     
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  4. EmbarrassedElephant
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    EmbarrassedElephant New Member

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    Well he has several people taking care of him, and they would all be adjusting his diet to help. While hedoesn't really want to stay emaciated, he is also reluctant to gain weight, so he might skip a meal or so every couple days out of spite. Does that help?
    Thanks for the reply :)
     
  5. matwoolf
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    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    Twenty-five years, and then maybe a heart attack, a bicycle, the return to former dimension.
    ...
    Short-term - your challenge appears impossible. My son eats four steak slices per day, eats three chicken burgers per day and drinks like a pig. He is completely skin & bones with a little pot belly, very cute. I did not tell you this..
     
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  6. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Did he used to be a healthy weight, or overweight?

    If so, I'd expect him to get back to his "regular" weight more quickly.

    But if he's always been really skinny, his body may sort of expect that weight.

    In more general terms, he'll probably gain 5-10lbs quite quickly, mostly as a result of re-hydrating and restoring glycogen stores. (This is the same 5-10lbs that people quickly lose when they begin a restrictive diet).

    After that, again, the same formula as losing weight, but in reverse - about 500 calories a day over maintenance levels adds up to about a pound a week of weight gain. If your character's maintenance levels are 1K calories a day and he eats 2K calories of food, that'd be 2 pounds a week.

    After the quick 5-10 lbs I'd think your character would be too-skinny-but-healthy-looking within a month or so, with continued improvement beyond that.

    (This all assumes there wasn't organ damage or significant digestive issues as a result of the starvation).
     
  7. EmbarrassedElephant
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    EmbarrassedElephant New Member

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    Alright, I didn't hear it from you ;) I figured it would be pretty difficult, hoping I could find some info supporting the idea of it taking a month to half a year or so, so I don't have to ask readers to suspend belief. Thanks for the reply!
     
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  8. EmbarrassedElephant
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    EmbarrassedElephant New Member

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    He used to be a healthy weight and was very active. Thank you for this information! It'll help me a lot. Did you find this on a website? If so, do you remember where? I'd love to look into it more.
     
  9. matwoolf
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    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    @BayView gave you a nice answer.

    Write with authority:

    In one month his sallow cheeks became more porcine and ruddy. After two months, he broke the bed. A year later, the same bed, winched from the window, became [rep] a television news phenomenon...

    Then consult resources, see if you can get away with it - if that matters. Sometimes it doesn't matter :)
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2016
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  10. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I did some of my own research for a similar topic a few years ago. Can't remember the websites, though... sorry.
     
  11. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    :rofl:
     
  12. Sifunkle
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    Sifunkle Dis Member

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    I don't think I can put exact figures to it, particularly because you haven't answered @Tesoro 's implied question as to why he was emaciated/how functional his metabolism is (and also if we're dealing in calories, pounds, etc :().

    A few comments though:
    • (Assuming starvation/reduced feed intake,) his digestive system will need time to readjust, so progress might be slow initially, then speed up. His stomach won't be as expansive as it once was, which will limit feed intake; his gut microbiota will be 'out of whack', so he might not be able to digest things (particularly carbs) well and may get diarrhoea; possibly he won't be able to absorb nutrients well if he's got villus atrophy going on (I've read conflicting reports on whether that happens during starvation).
    • He'll probably put on relatively more fat than muscle to start with, just because the body has much greater capacity to build fat than muscle. With that in mind, he'll want a calorie-dense diet to get his bones padded quickly (but not protein-restricted; he'll still want to build what muscle he can).
    • Depending on why he's emaciated, there's the possibility of assisted feeding (stomach tubes, etc), but if his alimentary tract (from mouth to anus) works, it's best avoided ('use it or lose it').
    • Be careful of Refeeding syndrome, which killed a fair number of unfortunate concentration camp survivors at the end of WWII when their well-meaning rescuers gave them chocolate bars and such.
    Happy to try and help further, although I'm a bit out of practice with this stuff. Good luck!
     
  13. obsidian_cicatrix
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    obsidian_cicatrix I ink, therefore I am. Contributor

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    One of my more drastic Bi Polar symptoms is weight gain and loss. I have to actively maintain a healthy weight otherwise I become obese, or seriously underweight with a B.M.I. lower than a snakes belly. Without mindfulness, I feast, or I starve.

    When I go seriously under, it takes me approximately three months before any weight I've tried to put on starts to become noticeable, and a good six months before I'm back to and maintaining a healthy weight again, and that's with the best will in the world. It doesn't automatically show. In the meantime friends are constantly telling me I need to put on weight, even though I'm doing absolutely everything I can to make sure I do. It's bloody frustrating.
     
  14. theamorset
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    theamorset Contributing Member

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    I had a homeless person living at my house. He was very tall, maybe 6'3'' or more. He was like a skeleton when he arrived. It took him about a month to gain 55 lbs. which took him from 'skeletal' and 'about to die' to 'thin'. But he was eating like crazy all the time.
     
  15. matwoolf
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    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    Marauding round your gaff, and the cereal tumbled from his face.

    Terrifying, this parable of yours, a metaphor of modern charity.

    My dilemma back in '98 - surrounded my new set of sparkling new patio doors, and the bloodied sparrow with its broken wing caught on the frame. Literally, while he flapped, visitors were en route. I rang police to take the bird away - to the pet shop, or something. The cops were cops, worse than useless. The bird, suspended, would not take a peanut from my hand, I had them all prepared, and I watched him die before the guests arrived, it was awful for me. If I could have found the broom handle it might have been a different story. Same thing, I suppose with cops and this escaped lunatic fellow you mention, all the best.
     
  16. theamorset
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    theamorset Contributing Member

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    Is this directed at me in regards to homeless person?
     
  17. matwoolf
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    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    no, no..

    'Writing Forum.'

    It's only a nonsense arrangement of words, nothing.
     
  18. big soft moose
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    big soft moose Active Member

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    You can think yourself lucky the cops didnt respond to your dillema with a hail of gun fire, you'd have needed new patio doors for sure , and the stink of cordite might have ruined your lime sorbet entree.
     
  19. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    2 lbs per day weight gain is actually worryingly fast (not as bad as 2 lbs per day LOSS) and he'd have needed somewhere around 10,000 calories a day to do it - that would be somewhere around 150 oz of steak. (3 of these beauties...http://www.rubessteaks.com/Belly_Buster_Top_Sirloin_Steak_3_pounds_p/bbts52.htm )
    [​IMG]
     

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