Funny title, right? Especially when everyone else is desperately looking for ways to lose weight!
Just as being overweight is a problem, being underweight is no fun at all. Ask anyone who is skinny – no matter what they do, they just can’t seem to add those pounds. But – nothing is impossible – and with some planning and focus on proper nutrition, it is possible to gain weight.
Being thin carries the risk of weaker immune systems which means inviting infections and slower recovery when you’re sick. Muscle mass is low and often, being thin can also affect hair, skin and teeth. Women have their own set of typical problems.
Am I the right weight?
BMI or body mass index is the popularly used system to assess a person’s height and weight and tell whether he/she’s the right weight. A BMI range of:
18.5-24.9 = normal body weight
Below 18.5 is underweight
25 to 29.9 is overweight
30 and higher is obese
Why am I thin?
There are several reasons why one finds it hard to gain weight. Some of these are genetics, environment, nutrition, the individual’s personality, an overactive metabolism that burns more calories than it should, a general loss of appetite, illnesses such as diabetes, chronic pain, medication side effects, depression, stress, etc.
So if you envy someone who is able to eat without the guilt of putting on weight – think again. Even thin people have to worry about consuming too much sugar or fat and stay healthy. So it is not about the ability to eat – but nutrient-rich foods and adequate exercise that help. To gain weight, you’ll need to gain weight in the form of muscle – not fat, so some aerobic exercise combined with strength training will help. Also, you need patience as it takes time and effort to adopt good habits!
So – how to gain weight?
Here are some suggestions:
- Make sure your meals are well-balanced with the right amount of proteins, carbohydrates and the right fats – unsaturated/monosaturated fats, nuts such a almonds, walnuts etc. Talk to a dietician to get a meal plan. A generally accepted ratio is 60%-70% carbohydrates, 10%-15% protein, and a little fat.
- Include high calorie foods with vitamins and minerals rather than high fat, high sugar
- Get more nutritious calories with each serving. Examples are: cooked eggs and mashed potatoes, ground chicken to soups and gravies, cheese in casseroles, eggs, and soups, and nonfat dried milk in soups, shakes, milk, and mashed potatoes.
- Feel full too quickly? Add high calorie foods to your meals. So that means raisins versus grapes, mango slices vs. full mango and so on.
- Avoid drinking beverages at least half an hour before and after your meals
- Go for mixed juices to get more calories.
- Stimulate your appetite with a little alcohol before a meal. But check with your doctor first especially if you are on any medication.
- Add good fats in moderation – for example, nuts, avocado, olives, and fatty fish (salmon and mackerel). • Snack in between meals – Good options are: nuts, dried fruits, and yogurt.
- Before you go to bed, have a healthy snack such as a peanut butter sandwich.
- Eat wisely. Go in for three small meals and three large ones each day, maintaining a space of three hours between each meal to help you digest them properly.
- You need to exercise. Resistance training exercises help you gain muscle and increase your metabolism. Talk to a trainer and begin weight gaining exercises. And after each workout, remember to eat protein rich foods such as fish, low fat dairy, milk, meats, almonds, sesame and sunflower seeds
- Avoid junk foods and fatty foods. A dietician can tell you about high protein, high carb foods and healthy fats to include in your diet. By the way, don’t assume beer can help you put on weight. Beer bellies are not sexy.
- Begin your day with a healthy breakfast that includes a glass of milk, a banana or banana milkshake, whole grain toast, fruits and nuts.
- Opt for fruits rather than fruit juices.
- Go for whole grain bread, green green leafy vegetables, paneer, a chicken or fish dish, rice lentils, for lunch. Eat dinner comprising of the same things at least two hours before bed time.
Try these tips.
And remember – you have to be patient when it comes to gaining weight, just as with losing it. Maintain a diet chart to makesure that your calorie intake is more than the calories you burn.