Healthy Ways To Gain Weight & Love Yourself
“Don't you eat?”
“Careful, you’ll fly away in the wind.”
If you’re a skinny girl, chances are you’ve heard one (or all!) of these multiple times in your life. Let’s face it - Skinny shaming is as real a problem as fat shaming. For every woman who gets to hear condescending statements for being overweight, there is a woman getting the same for being underweight.
So you see, there is no pleasing society. No matter what we do, we are never going to be good enough for everyone. While this thought is a little depressing, it is also rather liberating. Because it means that we can stop trying.
Whether you choose to love your body exactly as it is or change something about it, it is entirely your call. You have entire ownership of your body and nobody should tell you otherwise.
But the body weight not being at its optimal can pose health risks for some individuals.
So if you would like to put on some weight in a healthy and safe manner, this guide is for you.
What Does It Really Mean to be Underweight?
Underweight means that the body has less mass than it needs to stay in optimal health. A body mass index or BMI below 18.5 is defined as being underweight.
The problem with the BMI scale, however, is that it only looks at weight and height. It does not take muscle mass into account. Some people, athletes, for example, are quite skinny but still healthy. So the smart thing to do is talk to a nutritionist and understand if you’re underweight or not.
You can use this calculator to check your BMI.
Are there any Health Consequences of being Underweight?
Just like being overweight poses health risks, so does being underweight.
Studies have found that being underweight can impair your immune system, makes you more susceptible to infections, more prone to fractures, cause fertility problems and even put you at a greater risk of dementia.
What are the Causes of being Underweight?
Some people are naturally underweight. Others, however, can find themselves suddenly losing a lot of weight without even trying. If that is the case it could be a medical condition. Many medical conditions that can cause unhealthy weight loss, including:
#1. Eating disorders:
Diseases like anorexia, bulimia or mental health issues can provoke serious weight loss
Hyperthyroidism boosts metabolism and can be a reason for unhealthy weight loss.
#3. Celiac disease:
Celiac disease is an extremely severe form of gluten intolerance and most people suffering from it have no idea they have it. It can be a reason for severe weight loss.
Diabetes is a major reason for severe weight loss.
Malignant tumours burn large amounts of calories in the body and can cause patients to lose a lot of weight very fast.
Infections such as viral infection, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS has a way of depleting the body of its energy stops and can cause people to lose weight
If you’re someone who has lost a large amount of weight, you should consider visiting a doctor to rule out any health problems.
How to Gain Weight? (In a healthy way ofcourse!)
It’s easy to gain weight but doing it right, not so much. Binging on junk food and desserts may help you put on kilos but will destroy your health.
The real objective is to gain a balanced amount of muscle mass and subcutaneous fat and not a lot of unhealthy belly fat which puts you at risk for diseases like diabetes, heart disease, etc.
The body has a certain weight at which it feels comfortable.
When you try to go over or under that weight, the body resists those changes by regulating your hunger levels and rate of metabolism.
For example, if you try to reduce your calorie intake, your body goes into fasting mode and conserves the fat reserves.
On the other hand, if you eat more calories to gain weight, the body responds by reducing your appetite and boosting your metabolism.
So gaining weight requires some adaptation on the part of the body which happens with time. It’s imperative to eat healthy foods and live an overall healthy lifestyle to gain weight without ruining your health.
Here are some things you should do:
#1. Consume More Calories Than Your Body Burns
In order to maintain the current body weight, men generally must intake 1500 calories per day and women, 2000. To gain weight you need to create a calorie surplus. That is you need to consume more calories than your body needs.
Based on your body type and level of activity, a nutritionist may be able to suggest a diet plan that will help you consume more calories. In order to gain weight slowly and steadily, you should aim for 300–500 calories more than you burn each day. In order to gain weight fast, aim for around 700–1,000 calories above your maintenance level.
#2. Eat More Protein
Protein is the single most important nutrient for gaining healthy weight. It is called the ‘building block’ of the body because muscles are made of protein. Without it, all those extra calories you consume only end up as body fat. A high-protein diet, on the other hand, causes many of the extra calories to be turned into muscle.
Foods such as meats, fish, eggs, many dairy products, legumes, nuts and others are rich in proteins. If you struggle to get proteins in your diet, you can also consider taking supplements such as whey.
However, keep in mind that protein has its cons. It’s extremely filling and may reduce your appetite significantly, making it harder to eat more calories.
#3. Consume Carbs and Fat
People trying to lose weight are advised to reduce their carbohydrate and fat intake. The opposite is true in your case. It is best to eat plenty of protein, fat and carbs at each meal in order to gain weight. However, try to keep away from processed junk food and too much sugar as they can lead to unhealthy saturated fats being accumulated in your body.
#4. Eat at least 3 full meals per day
It is counterproductive to skip meals if you’re trying to gain weight. You must eat 3 full, heavy meals per day and add energy-dense snacks in between. It is also a bad idea to do intermittent fasting because can make it much harder to eat enough calories to gain weight.
#5. Use Sauces, Spices and Condiments
Whole food is much more filling than processed junk food which makes it difficult to consume more calories. A way out is using plenty of spices, sauces and condiments. The tastier the food, the easier it is to eat a lot of it.
#6. Eat Energy-Dense Foods
Energy-dense foods are foods that contain many calories relative to their weight. Some common food in this category is nuts like almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts, peanuts, etc, dried fruit such as raisins, dates, prunes, high-fat dairy like cheese, cream, butter, whole milk, full-fat yogurt, olive and avocado oil, whole grains like oats and brown rice, meats and poultry, potatoes, sweet potatoes, dark chocolate, peanut butter, granola and coconut milk.
You can also eat whole fruits but pick fruits like bananas that don’t require too much chewing.
#7. Go to the gym
Go to a gym and lift 2–4 times per week is crucial to gain weight. Lifting weights make sure that the excess calories help you build muscles and not fat.
If you’re new to training, consider hiring a qualified personal trainer to help you get started.
Also, don’t do much cardio right now. It improves fitness and well-being but too much cardio will cause you to end up burning all the additional calories you’re eating.
#8. Don’t drink water before meals
Water fills up your stomach and makes you feel full. Drinking a lot of water before meals make it difficult to get in more calories. Avoid avoid avoid.
#9. Eat often
Snack on nuts or have a glass of milk when you get thirsty. These foods are carb-dense and rich in proteins which will help you put on weight quickly. If you can’t eat a lot in one go, break it down into smaller but more frequent meals.
#10. Use bigger plates
People trying to lose weight are advised to eat in smaller plates because you tend to eat little from a small plate. If you’re trying to gain weight, do the opposite, Eat from a bigger plate to trick your brain.
#11. Quit smoking
Smokers tend to weigh less than non-smokers. So if you’re a smoker but are trying to gain weight, you should think about quitting.
It may seem like losing weight is the real challenge and gaining weight is easy peasy..
But that is far from the truth. The weight gained easily from pigging out on junk food is a terrible idea and can cause a lot of medical complications.
Gaining healthy weight is a long process and consistency is key. So don't lose heart if you don’t see a lot of changes immediately, keep at it and you will succeed in the long run.
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S*****Doing the opposite do we lose weight?(I want to lose weight)
L*****Bibi, do ask this question in the Health Community?
B*****Hii mam I am 17 year college girl I have belly fat in front of my stomach how to reduce this belly...
N*****I am also too lean, now i face pregnancy problems also,definitely i try this
N*****This is very good suggestions. I will definitely try this