This article outlines a simple strategy to quickly gain weight in the healthy way.
About two thirds of people in the world are either overweight or obese .
However, there are also many people with the opposite problem of being too skinny or underweight.
This is a concern, as being underweight can be just as bad for your health as being obese.
Also, some individuals who are not clinically underweight still need to increase some muscle.
Whether you’re clinically underweight or simply struggling to gain muscle weight, the main principles are the same.
What is the meaning of being underweight?
Being underweight is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) below 18.5. This is estimated to be less than the body mass needed to sustain optimal health.
Conversely, over 25 is considered overweight and over 30 is considered obese.
Use this calculator to see your ideal weight as well as your BMI .
However, keep in mind that there are many problems with the BMI scale, which only looks at weight and height. It does not take muscle mass into account.
Some people are naturally very skinny but still healthy. Being underweight according to this scale does not necessarily mean that you have a health problem.
Being underweight is about 2–3 times more common among girls and women, compared to men. In the US, 1% of men and 2.4% of women 20 years and older are underweight .
Problems that cause someone being Underweight
There are several medical conditions that can cause unhealthy weight loss, including:
- Eating disorders: This includes anorexia nervosa, a serious mental disorder.
- Thyroid problems: Having an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) can boost metabolism and cause unhealthy weight loss.
- Celiac disease: The most severe form of gluten intolerance. Most people with celiac disease don’t know that they have it .
- Diabetes: Having uncontrolled diabetes (mainly type 1) can lead to severe weight loss.
- Cancer: Cancerous tumors often burn large amounts of calories and can cause someone to lose a lot of weight.
5 Simple Tips to Gain Weight In a Healthy Way
Most of the people I meet ask for my advice about how to lose weight, but some of my clients are actually trying to pack on pounds, and it’s not as simple as it may seem.
1. Don’t let yourself Starve for more than three hours
Your body needs a continuous supply of energy since it’s like an engine that’s always turned on (your heart is always beating, blood is circulating, your brain and muscles are working). So when you skip meals, you deprive your body of the fuel it needs to keep going. The best way to prevent your body from losing any important tissue is to eat regular meals, spaced about three to five hours apart. If you’re trying to gain new muscle tissue, meal timing is especially critical. Sometimes my clients tell me they “eat all the time,” but when they actually start keeping a food journal they realize just how erratic their patterns are.
2. Eat several foods at once.
Always aim for at least three food groups. Instead of just a banana or a handful of nuts, top a few slices of whole-grain toast with peanut butter and banana slices , along with a glass of organic skim milk or a milk substitute. A wider variety provides your body with a broader spectrum of nutrients to work with throughout the day.
3. Eat healthy, but dense foods.
The best way to rack up extra nutrition without having to eat huge quantities of food or resort to junk is to choose nutrient-rich foods that pack a lot of carbohydrates, protein, or fat into a small serving. Dried fruit is a great example. With the water removed, the portion shrinks by about 75 percent, so a cup of grapes turns into a quarter cup of raisins. Just be sure to look for dried fruits with no added sugar or preservatives. For another nourishing, power-packed snack, fold rolled oats, dark chocolate chips, and minced dried fruit into almond butter. Spoon out portions about the diameter of a quarter, roll them into little balls, wrap in waxed paper, and snack on them throughout the day.
4. Drink your food.
Liquids aren’t as filling as solid food, so when you’re trying to gain some healthy weight, they can add nutrition without making you feel stuffed or bloated. Good choices include 100 percent fruit juice, organic skim milk or milk alternatives (such as organic soy, or hemp), and smoothies. Smoothies are ideal (over milkshakes) because you can bolster them with all kinds of good stuff, like wheat germ, nut butter, carrot juice, and protein powder.
5. Eat right before bed.
Most of the essential processes in our body like regeneration, growth,muscle repair, etc occur in our body while sleeping . It’s like rush hour for building muscle and lean tissue, so eating a healthy snack right before bed ensures a fresh supply of nutrients that are available to “go to work” inside the body. A great option that won’t leave you feeling stuffed might be a small bowl of pasta salad made with 100 percent whole-grain pasta (wheat or a gluten-free alternative), vinaigrette made with extra-virgin olive oil, chopped or shredded veggies, and a lean protein such as beans, chopped chicken breast, or an organic crumbled cheese.