Healthy Ways To Gain Weight

Statistically, about two thirds of the people who reside in the US are obese. This is a huge concern because obesity leads to many dangerous diseases that can become life threatening, like diabetes.

But there are also quite a few people who are on the opposite side of this problem. Being underweight can lead to some serious issues just like being obese can. One of the greatest dangers of being underweight is a hindered immune system.

This is why gaining weight and getting to your optimal weight level is extremely important.

Besides the people who are clinically underweight, there are also those who are simply seeking some extra muscle weight and are having a hard time getting to their goal.

The good news is that the principles of gaining weight in a healthy way don’t change, so it doesn’t matter if you are clinically underweight or just have a really hard time gaining muscle, the steps you need to take to get there will be the same for both.

Our purpose is to show you the healthiest and best strategy to gain weight quickly without compromising your health. So, let’s dive right in!

The Meaning Of “Underweight”

Before we can talk about how to gain weight the right way and how to do it quickly, we need to make sure you know exactly what underweight means.

By definition, being underweight is determined by your body mass index, known as BMI. If your BMI is lower than 18.5, you are considered to be underweight. The BMI index of 18.5 is estimated to be the absolute minimum body mass needed to sustain proper and optimal health.

On the flip side, if your BMI is over 25 then you are overweight and if it’s over 30 then you are obese. Although BMI is estimated according to your height and current weight, it is a very good and often right on point guideline for your body mass.

There are many BMI calculators that you can use to determine what your BMI number is. Alternatively, your doctor can also let you know what your BMI is.

One small issue with the BMI scale is that it doesn’t take your muscle mass into calculation. This means that you can be considered overweight according to BMI but if your muscle mass is high enough you can still be completely healthy. The same can be said for someone who is underweight.

Some people are naturally overweight and some people are naturally skinny, just because your BMI determines you are underweight or overweight, it doesn’t mean you aren’t healthy. But it is still a good guideline.

More often than not, your BMI number can predict possible oncoming health problems due to your weight. This is why it is important to keep a close eye on your BMI number and still strive to be between the underweight and the overweight margin.

In the United States, being underweight is nearly three times as common amongst women as it is in men. It is estimated that 1% of men in the US who are over the age of 20 are underweight. This number is 2.4% for women.

What Are The Risks That Come Along With Being Underweight?

It’s pretty obvious that obesity is one of the biggest problems in the US. It leads to huge health problems which can quickly become fatal if not treated properly.

At the same time, being underweight is extremely dangerous to your health as well. It can also cause potentially fatal health problems or issues that can become terminal and hinder your lifestyle permanently.

Being underweight is associated with 140% greater risk of an early death in men and 100% increased risk of early death in women.

The same study which gave us these statistics also determined that obesity was associated with only 50% increased risk of an early death, which means that being underweight might be more detrimental to your health than being overweight.

Other research showed that being underweight increased the risk of early death in men but not in women, meaning that being underweight is more dangerous for men.

Being underweight can lead to some serious problems. Amongst these issues, your immune system is the most sensitive and is usually affected first. Hormonal complications often surface amongst those who are underweight, which is usually due to the increased amount of stress that your body endures because of being underweight.

Ultimately, nutritional deficiency can be a direct cause of being underweight and this can lead to even bigger problems such as Celiac Disease. Osteoporosis, frequent fractures, fertility problems, and increased risk of infection can all occur due to being underweight.

Lastly, those who are underweight are also at a greater risk of developing sarcopenia, loss of muscle tissue as a natural part of the aging process, and dementia at a later age.

What Can Cause Someone To Become Underweight?

Besides lack of eating and general malnutrition, there are a few medical conditions that can lead to becoming underweight. Here are a few of them:

Diabetes

Although it is commonly associated with being overweight, uncontrolled diabetes can lead to severe weight loss.

Celiac Disease

A disease where your small intestine is hypersensitive to gluten can make it difficult to digest food which can result in becoming underweight.

Eating Disorders

Serious conditions like anorexia and bulimia can all lead to sever problems with weight control and cause the person to become underweight and often malnourished.

Infections

Severe infection can cause some people to become severely underweight. Most common infections that do this are tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS.

Thyroid Problems

Hyperthyroidism is a condition which is a result of an overactive thyroid. This condition often boosts metabolism greatly resulting in unhealthy weight loss.

Cancer

Cancerous tumors have been known to burn a large number of calories, which in turn causes quick and unhealthy weight loss.

We strongly suggest seeing a medical professional to rule out any potentially dangerous conditions that you might have which are causing you to lose weight and become underweight.

Make sure that you see your doctor, especially if you have no reason for why you have started losing weight.

The Healthy Way To Gain Weight

If you decide to gain weight, you have to do it the right way. You can’t simply sit on the couch and eat doughnuts all day long while drinking two liter sodas. While this might get your weight up, it will also ruin your health in the long run.

The best way to get your weight up is by balancing your muscle mass with subcutaneous fat, rather than just gaining a huge amount of belly fat.

You don’t have to be severely overweight or obese to develop type two diabetes, heart disease, or other issues which are related with obesity.

There are plenty of average weight people who have these conditions. So, avoiding bad fat and sticking to a carefully crafted diet is still vital.

You have to focus on eating healthy foods and still limit the fast foods and other unhealthy items. Not doing this will result in poor health and an increased risk of developing many diseases and conditions. Just because you are trying to gain weight, by no means does this give you the opportunity to eat whatever you want. You will need to control your diet.

1. Eat More Than Your Burn

Hands down the most important aspect of gaining weight is consuming more calories than you burn throughout the day. These additional calories are needed as a form of energy to produce extra muscle mass or other types of mass. Without it, gaining weight will be simply impossible.

Speak to your nutritionist or doctor to determine how many calories per day you should be consuming to stay healthy. Then if you are interested in gaining weight slowly and steadily, increase your calorie intake by about 300-500 calories over your suggested daily limit.

We strongly recommend taking it slow and letting your body adapt to that increased calorie consumption. This will reduce the risks of things spiraling out of control and causing more harm than good.

If you are confident in your ability to do everything the right way and feel like gaining weight quickly, then you can increase your recommended intake by 700-1000 calories per day.

Just keep in mind that the more calories you take on over your recommended amount the closer and more diligent you have to be with the food you eat and the exercises you do at the gym.

This additional calorie intake doesn’t mean that you have to count every single calorie for the rest of your life. It just means that you need to do it for a few weeks to get the hang of it. Once you know the type of food and how much of it you should eat to gain those additional calories, just keep up with it and continue doing so until you reach your desired weight.

2. Protein Is Number One

There are a ton of different nutrients that you should be consuming while trying to gain weight, but by far the most important one is protein. Our muscles grow due to our protein intake. Without it all the extra calories will turn into stored fat, and that is exactly what you want to avoid.

There are hundreds of different studies that point to muscle development during extra consumption of protein when attempting to gain weight by increasing calorie intake.

The problem with protein is that it’s a double-edged sword. Yes, it directly affects your muscle development, but at the same time protein is extremely filling. This means that you will feel full quicker when eating protein rather than other nutrients.

This can make it difficult to eat more food to get those extra calories, so be aware and cautious not to overdo your protein consumption.

Aim for about 1 gram of protein per every pound of weight you are looking to gain. If you think you can handle it, feel free to go above that number but remember that it will make you less hungry quicker.

The best source of this protein is from meats, fish, dairy products, legumes, nuts, and other high in protein foods.

Alternatively, you can also partake in whey protein, which is usually used by bodybuilders to increase their muscle mass and can be a great choice for those looking to gain weight to ensure they consume enough protein.

3. Carbs And Fat, Three Times Per Day

The biggest mistake that most people who try to gain weight do is try to focus only on carbs or on fat, and this is a bad idea.

It limits the number of calories your body can intake and makes it difficult for you to consume enough food to get those extra calories. Do not restrict yourself to just carbs or just fat, eat a combination of both.

If your priority is weight gain, then eat high-fat, high-carb, and high-protein foods. This is the best mix of nutrients that should produce the best results while also making sure you stay healthy.

Fasting in any shape or form is a bad idea, too. Do not load up on fat, carbs, and protein one day and then skip it the next. This won’t work and will cause the opposite effect. Eat at least three times per day with all three types of food during each meal.

4. Consume Energy Dense Foods

Whole, single ingredient foods are generally the best idea when it comes to trying to gain weight. The problem with consuming these high-energy foods is that they usually fill you up pretty quickly, so you will end up forcing yourself to eat.

One way to help this situation is to use plenty of spices and condiments to keep you munching as much as possible. The better it tastes, the more of it you will be able to eat.

Another solution is to ensure that the foods you are eating have a high number of calories in them compared to their relative weight. We call these foods high-energy foods.

  • High-Fat Dairy: like whole milk, cheese, or fat full yogurt.
  • Grains: brown rice, oats, and other whole grain foods.
  • Tubers: sweet potatoes, yams, and regular potatoes.
  • Dried Fruit: dates, prunes, raisins, plums, apricots, and others.
  • Nuts: almonds, walnuts, peanuts, macadamia nuts, and others.
  • Oils: virgin olive oil and avocado oil.
  • Meat: beef, pork, chicken, lamb. Focus on fatty cuts.
  • Others: Dark chocolate, avocados, coconut milk, granola, peanut butter.

All of these foods will most likely fill you pretty quickly and it’s not unlikely that you will find yourself forcing yourself to continue eating in order to get all the extra calories you need.

While vegetables do contain a huge number of vital nutrients and minerals, it might be a good idea to put them aside for the duration of your weight gaining regime. Instead, start taking multivitamins to compensate for the nutrients you won’t be consuming.

5. Lift Weights And Improve Strength

Here is where it gets difficult. Eating the right food and adding in extra amounts of it is fine, but going to the gym and lifting weights to turn all those extra calories into muscle, that is the hard part.

You don’t have to go every day, but you should go at least 2 to 4 times a week. The less you go the more you should work out. Try to lift heavy weights and increase the amount you lift slowly over time to make sure that your muscles are continuously growing and using up all those extra calories.

If your totally new to going to the gym or haven’t been there for a while, it might be a good idea to hire a certified trainer to help you do the right exercises to gain as much muscle as possible.

It also might be a good idea to see your doctor and ensure you are in good condition to be able to handle all the strenuous activity your body will be going through, especially checking for any skeletal problems or medical issues.

Cardio exercises are ok, as long as you keep it light and only do them to improve your overall health and well-being. Otherwise, stick with muscle building exercises.

The idea is to target your muscles individually and stay away from workouts which force you to lose weight quickly. Running, cardio, and swimming are all examples that will work your whole body rather than individual muscles and chances are you will start losing weight rather than gaining muscle mass.

Healthy Ways To Gain Weight Conclusion

Gaining weight when it is a challenge for you isn’t impossible, but you do have to dedicate yourself to a specific exercise routine and the right type of a diet. As long as you maintain the right calorie consumption with the right types of food while converting all extra calories into muscle weight, you will succeed.

As always, we strongly suggest that you talk to your doctor before changing your diet and increasing your calorie consumption. Ensure that you are eating the right vitamins as well as being very careful with your health overall, because your body will be going through some major changes.

 

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