For some people, gaining weight is as difficult as losing for others. Most of the people are underweight due to low-calorie intake, poor lifestyle choices, and lack of exercise. However, in some cases, it is their body metabolism and underlying health conditions. Being underweight can represent as many health concerns as being overweight. It comes with many health risks including osteoporosis, anemia, hair fall, weakness, nutritional deficiency, etc.
It does not matter if you eat a lot. The calorie intake should be in surplus than your calorie expenditure to gain weight. Gaining weight becomes crucial in some cases where the body needs energy and calories to lift itself. There are hundreds of ways out there to gain weight. However, the best is to do it naturally, give it time, and go for healthy eating.
How to Gain Weight
The first step to gain weight is to rule out any medical conditions, which is stopping the weight gain. It is essential to consult a doctor or dietitian who will examine you thoroughly and suggest what to do. In most of the cases like hyperthyroid, medicines help more than diet, ruling out the weight gain struggle. In the case of no medical problems, one must opt for a healthy diet that includes weight gain foods. A healthy weight gain diet comprises healthy calories, not fats in surplus.
Weight Gain Diet
Next, I will discuss various foods that you should include in your weight gain diet.
Proteins help in building muscles and are calorie-rich. It is crucial to consume proteins in the right amount. After reaching a specific limit, protein may not help in increasing muscle mass. Instead, it will become upsetting for your stomach and increase the level of fat. Which we are not looking forward to at all. An approximate of 1g protein per pound of your body weight is more than enough.
- Fish (Salmon, mackerel, sardines preferably)
- Red meat
- Protein powders
- Yoghurt, cottage cheese, milk.
It is important to keep in mind not to deep fry the food for calorie explicit. As it will make the food unhealthy. Instead, go for frying the food (chicken/fish) in little (olive oil) or no oil (steam).
Cover up half of the calories from carbs to support strength, energy, calorie surplus, and performance. However, it is important to consume good carbs. As bad carbs would do you no favour other than some extra belly fat. Keep the consumption of added sugars as low as possible. Consume:
- Brown and wild rice
- Whole-grain loaves of bread
- Fruits and vegetables
- Sweet potato
- Dried fruits
Consume Liquids & Shakes
At some point, eating the same food may become dull, and that is where shakes kick in. Consuming shakes will give a boost in a calorie surplus and contribute to a healthy diet. You can make smoothies or shakes that will contain dairy products again helpful for weight gain. You can utilize shakes in extra meals in between the main meals. Avoid extra sugars like white or brown sugars. Instead add dates, or honey to be on the safer side. You can add banana, yoghurt date, and milk to your smoothie, making it rich in protein and calories.
Weight Gainer Shakes
- Protein shakes: add protein bars or protein powders to your shake.
- Carbs: add fruits like banana, apple, mango, strawberry or any of your choice
- Fats: nut butter, peanut butter, avocado oil
- Diary: milk, cream, yoghurt.
According to earlier research, protein bars can help in gaining weight. However, make sure that you are buying them from a reputable source.
Weight Lifting & Exercise
Some kinds of exercise will always be beneficial in weight gain. However, it is better to go for light exercises than intense. You can gain weight doing body weights 3-4 days a week, or you can walk for 20 minutes. Exercising will help your body in strength training and give you energy. It will also make you hungry, pushing you to consume more food than usual. You can always have a protein drink with you while working out.
Please avoid lifting heavy weights from the very start. You can damage your back and other muscles. Instead, work your way up. Start from the light weights. Once your body gets used to it, you can start to lift heavier weights.
It is essential to change your lifestyle to gain weight. Timely breakfast lunch and dinner will help you consume more meals. Untimely consumption of meals often leads to missing one. Other than that,:
- Do not drink water after or before eating, as it tends to reduce hunger.
- Eat-in bigger plates. It will help you consume more.
- Do weight training
- Consume more carbohydrates
- Add extra ingredients to your food, e.g. yoghurt, salad, some nuts, fruits topped with peanut butter, etc. This will help you consume double the calories than before.
- It would be best if you consumed fats as it is also vital for the body but in a minimum proportion. Do not overdose.
- Always maintain a diet plan.
One diet plan never works along the entire journey of weight gain. It is always required to change the diet plans after each month. As the body gets used to the change and does not make a demand. Consult a dietitian or doctor for this purpose.