If you’re underweight that means you have a BMI (body mass index) below 18.5, which is estimated to be smaller than the body mass that is needed to sustain optimal health.
According to a study, about two-thirds of the people living in the United States are either obese or overweight. On the other hand, there are also numerous people with the opposite problem of being too lean, skinny or emaciated. This is a big problem, as being underweight can be just as dangerous for your health as being obese.
This article summaries a simple strategy to quickly gain weight in a healthy way.
Some people are very skinny from birth but still healthy. On the other hand, being underweight according to this measure does not necessarily mean that you have a health problem.
Nevertheless, being underweight may be very bad for your health. According to research being underweight was linked to a 140% greater risk of premature death in men, and 100% in women, so in comparison, obesity was connected with a 50% bigger risk of early death, therefore indicating that being underweight may be worse for your health.
Several Things Can Cause Someone to Become Underweight
There are numerous medical conditions that can lead to unhealthy weight loss, including:
Celiac disease: This is a severe form of gluten intolerance. Most people with this celiac disease don’t even know that they have it.
Eating disorders: which include anorexia nervosa which is a severe mental disorder.
Thyroid problems: Having an overactive thyroid which is hyperthyroidism can increase metabolism and cause an unhealthy weight loss.
Diabetes: Having uncontrolled type 1 diabetes can lead to severe weight loss.
Cancer: Cancerous tumors frequently burn large amounts of calories and can cause someone to lose plenty of weight.
Infections: Certain infections can be the basis for someone to become severely underweight. These infections could be parasites, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS.
If you’re underweight, you may want to see a doctor to exclude any serious medical conditions. This would be very important if you notice that recently you started losing large amounts of weight without even trying.
If you want to gain weight, it’s very vital to do it right. Indulging on soda and donuts may help you gain weight, but it can also destroy your health at the same time.
If you’re underweight, it is better you gain a balanced amount of muscle mass and subcutaneous fat rather than plenty of unhealthy belly fat. There are a lot of people with normal-weight who have type 2 diabetes or heart disease and probably other health problems often associated with obesity. Hence, it’s unquestionably essential to eat healthy foods and live a completely healthy lifestyle.
What You Can Do To Gain Weight
1. Eat More Calories Than Your Body Burns
The most vital thing you can do to gain weight is to create a calorie surplus which means that you have to eat more calories than your body needs. You can also be able to determine your calorie needs using this calorie calculator.
If you want to gain weight slowly and steadily, target 300–500 calories more than you burn each day according to the calculator. If you want to gain weight fast, the target should be 700–1,000 calories above your conservation level.
2. Eat Plenty of Protein
Protein is the single most vital nutrient for gaining healthy weight. The muscle is made of protein and without it, most of those extra calories may end up as fat in the body. Researches show that during times of overfeeding, a high-protein diet causes many of the extra calories to be turned into muscle
Protein forms the building blocks of your muscles. Consuming enough protein is needed to add muscle weight instead of just fat.
High-protein foods include fish, eggs, meats, many dairy products, nuts legumes, etc. Protein supplements like whey protein can also be useful if you fight to get enough protein in your diet
3. Consume Plenty of Carbs and Fat and Eat at Least 3 Times per Day
Consume plenty of high-carb and high-fat foods if weight gain is the main concern for you. It’s a bad idea to do intermittent fasting. Ensure you consume at least three meals in a day and also add in energy-dense snacks when possible.
Consume Energy-Dense Foods and Use Sauces, Spices, and Condiments. Once more, it’s very vital to eat mostly whole, single-ingredient foods. These single-ingredient foods tend to be more filling than processed junk foods, therefore making it harder to get in enough calories.
Also Note that Using plenty of spices, condiments can help because the tastier your food, the easier it is to consume lots of it.
Energy-dense foods that are perfect for gaining weight includes:
- Fats and oils: Avocado oil and Extra virgin olive oil.
- Nuts: Almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts, peanuts, etc.
- Dried fruit: Raisins, dates, prunes, and others.
- High-fat dairy: Whole milk, full-fat yogurt, cheese, cream.
- Tubers: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, and yams.
- Grains: Whole grains like oats and brown rice.
- Meat: Chicken, beef, pork, lamb, etc. Choose fattier cuts.
- Dark chocolate, peanut butter avocados, coconut milk, granola, trail mixes.
Note: avoid eating a ton of vegetables if gaining weight is the main concern for you. It just leaves less room for energy-dense foods. Consumption of whole fruit is fine, but try to give emphasis to fruit that doesn’t require too much chewing, such as bananas.
4. Go to a gym and lift like 3–4 times each week. Ensure you lift heavy weights and try to increase the weights and volume over time:
It’s very important to lift heavy weights and develop your strength which will assist you to gain muscle mass as an alternative of just adding fat.
If you’re completely out of shape then you can consider hiring a qualified personal trainer to help you get started. You can consult with a doctor if you have skeletal problems or other medical issues.
Note: It’s probably best to take it easy when it comes to cardio, for now, just focus more on the weights. Cardio is good but you will end up burning all the additional calories you’re eating. Relating a high-calorie intake with heavy strength training and workouts are the two most important elements.
Here are more tips to gain weight:
Drink milk: Drinking whole milk to satisfy thirst is a simple way to get in more high-quality protein and calories.
Try weight gainer shakes: If you’re really struggling to gain weight then you can try weight gainer shakes, they are very high in carbs, protein, and calories.
Get quality sleep: Sleeping properly is very vital for muscle growth.
Do not take water before meals: This can help fill your stomach and make it difficult to get in enough calories.
Eat more often: Try to squeeze in an extra meal or snack whenever you can, for instance before bed.
Use larger plates: Definitely use large plates if you’re trying to consume more and get in more calories.
Eat your protein first and vegetables last: If you have a mix of foods you want to eat, ensure you eat the calorie-dense and protein-rich foods first. Eat the vegetables last.
Don’t smoke: Quitting smoking often leads to weight gain, smokers tend to weigh less than non-smokers.
Gaining Weight Can Be kind of Difficult, but Consistency Is the Key to Long-Term Success. The body has a certain set point of weight where it feels comfortable that is why it can be very difficult for some people to gain weight. Even if you try to lose weight or gain weight, your body still resists the changes by regulating your hunger levels and metabolic rate.
When you consume more calories and gain weight, you can expect your body to respond by decreasing your appetite and boosting your metabolism.
This is largely mediated by your brain, as well as weight-regulating hormones like leptin. So you should expect a certain level of trouble. In some cases, you may need to force yourself to consume more calories despite feeling stuffed. At the end of the day, changing your weight is a lengthy, not just a sprint. It can be time-consuming, and you need to be constant and steady if you want to succeed in the long run.