There seems to be so much attention given towards weight loss. We can point to obesity statistics, what being overweight does to your health and even the lifestyle diseases associated with it. But do you know that there are people who actually struggle to gain weight?
The 2007 to 2010 NHANES – National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey revealed that 1.7% of adults in the United States are actually underweight. Well, being underweight comes with its own set of problems, ranging from an impaired immune function, osteoporosis, fractures, infertility and even a greater risk of death.
If you are underweight, some weight gain is absolutely necessary. However, even people who are not necessarily underweight may be looking to add a few pounds. Sometimes after going through dental surgery, a stressful period, or an illness, healthy weight gain is vital.
While the easiest way to gain weight is to pile on fat, carbohydrates and sugar, healthy weight gain, just like healthy weight loss is more of a strategy. Below we look at how to gain weight fast and safely:
As aforementioned, weight gain is a strategy. A food journal becomes a handy tool here. It helps you monitor your meal times, and how healthy and balanced your diet actually is. It also helps to monitor your calorie intake too. Go for small snacks, to ensure that you will be able to eat, come your meal time. If your snack is a smoothie, for instance, do not go for 12 or 16 ounces, which is what is available at smoothie shops.
Calorie-dense foods have a lot of calories but are also awash with nutrition. These include nuts, seeds (sunflower and pumpkin), dried fruit, fresh dense fruits (mangos and avocados), nut butter (peanut and almonds), starchy vegetables (corn, peas, and potatoes), healthy oils and fats (olive oil). Using spices, condiments and sauces make the food tasty, so you intake more of it.
When eating aim at eating at least 3 food groups at the same time. For instance, instead of eating just a banana or nuts, you can add banana slices and almond butter to a whole grain toast. A glass of organic milk or milk substitute is also a great addition here. Eating different food groups ensures that the body gets enough nutrients.
While we sleep, our bodies are busy healing, regenerating, and repairing both lean and muscle tissue. Eating before bedtime supplies your body with the necessary nutrition to carry out the above functions. A bowl of pasta salad (whole grain pasta), vinaigrette (made with extra-virgin oil), a lean protein (beans, organic crumbled cheese) and chopped or shredded veggies is a good meal to eat before bed. It will not leave you feeling uncomfortably full.
Liquids are less filling when compared to solid food. You can gain more nutrition without feeling stuffed. Some healthy options include organic skim milk, milk alternatives (for instance organic soy), and smoothies – with nut butter, protein powder, wheat germ or carrot juice.
If drinking fluids before meals decrease your appetite, you may need to sip higher calorie beverages along with your meals or snacks. You may also opt to drink fluids 30 minutes after meals.
Strength training helps in building muscles and stimulates your appetite. You require even more calories for endurance as you train and as you build muscle. You can strength train 2 to 4 times a week. You may want to consider a gym membership. If you have any medical problems, you may also need to consult with your doctor. Don’t do so much cardio, as it will burn the calories that you so much need to put on weight.
You need to know your BMR Basic Metabolic Rate – the number of calories the body burns while at rest. This way, you get to know how many calories you need to add to your diet. You then gradually need to increase your calorie intake and monitor your response.
Weight gain is determined by factors like health status. Your physician or nutritionist will help you to set achievable goals.
Healthy fats like canola oil, coconut oil, and olive oil is a smart way to add calories to your diet without feeling excessively full. You can add them to your salads, grains or smoothies.
Raising your weight is simply a matter of eating. You need to start eating more calories than your body burns. Otherwise, you will not see any visible results. But you should not just eat anything and expect to gain muscle. This is because not all calories are created equal. Some calories will help you gain muscle much faster and others that will take very long or cause more harm than good to your body.
For example, eating a lot of potato chips per day can result in a lot of calories. But are they going to help you gain weight? Not really. Most of the weight that you will gain when you eat a lot of potato chips would be fat. This is because potato chips contain empty and totally nutritionless calories like it is usually the case with most junk food. They are not going to give you the right nutrient breakdown that is required to gain weight.
The center point of your meals if you are to gain weight should be high-quality proteins that are broken down by the body into amino acids. Exercising regularly and intensely leads to an increased demand for amino acids in the body. The amino acids are crucial for the muscle growth and repair. So if you are going to the gym to gain muscle, make sure that you eat at least one protein per pound of your body weight. For instance, if you weigh 100 pounds, you should try your best to eat at least 100 grams of every day. In every meal you take, you must make sure that proteins are included.
Carbohydrates and fats may not be necessary for every meal if you are trying to gain muscle, but proteins are a must. The right or best proteins, in this case, are the high-quality ones that are derived from animal sources. Tofu, soy protein, and bean curd are very important in the body, but when it comes to gaining weight, your primary focus should be animal proteins that are found in eggs, whey, cottage cheese, poultry, beef, and fish.
Proteins are responsible for building muscle, so there is no way they cannot be part of your diet if you are trying to lose weight. This is something that you probably know from basic science. You need to make sure that high-quality complete sources of protein are included in every meal that you take. The excellent sources of protein that you should consider include dairy products, whey, beef, fish eggs and chicken.
The best times to take proteins are in the morning during breakfast, before going to bed and pre and post workout. It is recommended to eat a minimum of one gram per pound of your weight if you want to be successful on your weight gain mission. You need to make sure that proteins are the main component of your diet. Better miss carbohydrates and fats in your meals but make sure that there is a high supply of proteins.
While it is critical to eat lots of proteins, you also need to make sure that you are eating a balanced diet. The protein that you consume should be weighed against eating the right amounts of grains, vegetables, and fruits. They may not be very useful when it comes to building muscle, but they will prove very helpful in the digestion of the food you eat and make sure that your body is kept in tip top shape.
If you are trying to gain weight, restricting the amount of carbohydrates and fats that you take will not be a good idea because it will make it hard for your body to get enough calories. You need to ensure that high carb and high fatty foods are plentiful in your diet. You need to make sure that your meals have plenty of proteins, fats, and carbs.
Intermittent fasting is also not a good idea if you are trying to gain muscle because it can also make it hard for you to get enough calories. You need to eat at least three meals every day. You can try adding in energy-dense snacks whenever you can to increase a number of calories that you consume every day.