“and what about those that need to add weight?”
Those were the words of a former schoolmate of mine after seeing my tweet about how to achieve weight loss for the umpteenth time.
I have written articles on how to lose weight, how to stay committed to your weight loss plans and other related topics. Even though the topic of gaining HEALTHY weight is quite frankly not half as popular as that of losing weight, it is just as important.
Being underweight could be just as harmful to one’s health as being overweight. If you’re underweight, you may be at risk for hair loss, osteoporosis, fertility issues (in women), delayed growth (in children) etc.
There are other motivations for gaining weight aside health reasons. Even while you might not be underweight (according to what your B.M.I. says), you may want to pack on more muscle just to look better.
But how do you gain weight?…
It all still comes down to calories. Whether you gain or lose weight depends on whether you consistently end up with a caloric deficit or surplus. A caloric deficit is what is needed to lose weight. This is achieved by eating less calories than your body needs to function. To gain weight, you need to do the opposite and consistently achieve a caloric surplus i.e. eat more than your body needs to function and to perform all daily activities.
So, for people who need to gain weight, it’s simple; eat so much more than your body needs for its activities. This is not an excuse to eat just anything in order to have a caloric surplus. It is true that eating a lot of junks can cause weight gain but they do not supply the nutrition the body needs. Even if consuming them may not always result in weight gain, it could cause harm to your body. There are healthier ways to gain weight, like packing on some muscle and subcutaneous fat instead of unhealthy visceral fat.
I’ll be giving a few weight-gain tips to help you gain weight in a healthy manner. Let’s jump right in.
• Eat plenty of protein – protein helps to build muscle. It is what muscles are mostly made of. Increase in muscle mass is definitely a healthy way to add weight. Even when you eat more calories that your body needs, a high protein diet causes many of the extra calories to be converted into muscle.
With protein, it could be tricky because it is also a recommendation for weight loss due to its capability to reduce appetite and be filling, making it harder for you to eat as many calories as you would otherwise eat.
Protein supplements could also be used to get more protein into your diet. Example is the whey protein. You can get this in the gyms as it’s something bodybuilders make use of.
• Eat plenty of carbs and fat – contrary to what some people believe, carbs are not the enemy. Fat also has a reputation for causing people to be overweight. However, fat is not bad. There are healthy fat and the body needs them.
Fat helps to store energy that the body can rely on during periods of strenuous activities or fast. It also contributes to you having a healthy hair and skin. Foods with a lot of fat in them e.g. nuts, high fat diary, chocolates, meat, fats and oil help to gain weight due to the fact that they are usually calories dense.
• Lift heavy – you gain weight by building muscle. Weightlifting works by helping to signal the body for the need for bigger muscle mass. By building muscle, you get to add weight without necessarily increasing your body fat. Doing much of aerobic exercises will not help in this regard as they would cause you to burn a lot of calories.
• Don’t drink water at least 45 mins before eating– the idea behind this is to try and leave space for consumption of more food. Water has no calories and if you’re trying to gain weight, it’d be better to leave the water intake till later after you must have consumed enough calories from your food.
• Don’t get hungry before you eat– very important that you always stay fueled up if you’re trying to gain weight. Don’t only eat when you’re hungry. You can choose to eat small meals at frequent intervals especially if you’re uncomfortable with eating large quantity of food.
• Don’t lift weights when in a fasted state– when in a fasted state, the body starts to feed on stored fat to power through the workout. If you lift weight during a state of fat, you tend to lose weight.
• Good sleep– getting good sleep is important for muscle building and for a good health in general. At least 8 hours of sleep is recommended.
• Quit smoking– smoker tend to find it hard to gain weight. This is due to a number of things; smoking speeds up your rate of metabolism meaning that your body burns calories faster. Smoking can also suppress your appetite. You may not necessarily gain weight just by quitting smoking, but it definitely makes it easier.
It is not very uncommon to hear people talk about trying to gain some weight. This note highlights tips you can use to gain weight, while also emphasizing that any weight gain should be done in a healthy manner.
Sometimes, being underweight may be due to an underlying health problem and this won’t be corrected by diet changes. You will need to see a doctor to help with cases like this.
Its important to be patient and consistent with your efforts to gain weight. This is because just as it is with losing weight, gaining weight is not uncomplicated as the body regulates our hunger levels and metabolic rates. When you eat more calories and gain weight, the body responds to that by lowering your appetite and increasing your metabolism.
While gaining weight, ensure that you do not put on too much weight than is good for your health. It is important to always stay within the healthy weight range of 18.5-24.9 using the BMI as a method of assessment.