The important aspect to understand when gaining weight is to consume more energy (calories) than burning fat. As with weight loss gaining a healthy weight requires some time and patient to achieved it. Healthy weight gain of 1-2 pounds per week can be expected when there is an increased amount of energy intake. The goal is to add an appropriate amount of muscle mass not only fat. Resistance exercise is also important to increase muscle mass, eating excess calories or protein alone will not increase muscle strength or size. The important thing is to make sure all your calorie choices are nutrient -rich and calories dense, you need the nutrient power of all the food groups that you will need to gain the weight you want.
Being too thin comes with its own set of health risk especially when it is as a result of under-eating. Most underweight people may have weaker immune system which make them the more prone to illness, lower muscle mass and strength hormonal disruption which affects menstrual cycles and bone health also a greater likelihood of nutrient deficiencies like anemia. Every individual is different and a body weight for one might not be appropriate for another. It is important to consult with your dietician to determine the safest and effective way to gain weight.
Some medical condition that can lead to weight loss
- Infection: certain types of infection can make a person become underweight. This includes parasites, tuberculosis and HIV.
- Diabetes: especially type 1 if not properly manage can result to weight loss.
- Thyroid problem: an over active thyroid (hyperthyroidism) can boost metabolism and cause unhealthy loss.
- Eating disorder: this may be anorexia nervosa, a serious mental health condition.
Some tips on how to gain weight effectively
Eat always throughout the day
- Set a timer to remind you to eat
- Eat any time you feel hungry
- Eat at least 5 -6 small meals or snack a day
- Eat 2-3 hours even if you do not feel hungry.
Increase your protein intake
- Chose food high in protein such as beans, meat, eggs, nuts, tofu and fish.
- Eat protein rich food first when having a small meal especially if you tend to fee full quickly.
At home or not always have something to eat
- Keep snacks like peanut butter crackers, cheese, nuts, granular bar with you, so you can eat when you feel like it.
- Keep your snack in a close location at home to help you remember to eat and stimulate your appetite.
Increase your calorie intake
- Use oil, mayonnaise, butter, sour cream and dried fruit
- Use oil and butter when cooking your food
- Add peanut butter or cream cheese to your meal or snacks
Avoid drinking large amount of liquid before eating
- When you take too much liquid before you eat, this makes your stomach full and make you less hungry.
- Drink as you eat or in between when you eat.
Gaining weight requires a gradual process, adding the right amount of calories and nutrient-rich food that can nourish your body. It is very important to avoid being overweight the wrong way. Talk to your dietician on how to gain weight safely and effectively.