Despite the climbing number of Americans who are overweight, there is also a segment of the population who are “underweight.” Pure envy is what I have for those who are trying to gain weight. Nevertheless, for those who struggle with gaining, their challenges are as real as those trying to lose weight.
Shocking as it may seem, this information is for those who want to gain weight.
First, make sure you do not have a medical problem that is preventing you from maintaining a healthy weight. Make an appointment with your doctor as well as scheduling a consultation with a nutritionist to discuss food choices. Certain health conditions can cause a person to be underweight which have nothing to do with skinniness. Vitamin and nutrient deficiencies can also contribute to being too thin.
“Weight gain requires eating calorie-rich but also nutrient-rich foods – not just high-calorie unhealthy foods with lots of fat, sugar, or empty calories”, says Alice Bender, RD, nutrition communications manager for the American Institute for Cancer Research. http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/how-to-gain-weight.
Don’t add calories by choosing fried foods, fast foods, sodas or candy. Even people who are underweight need to be conscious about sugar and fat intake.
The best advice I can offer to figure out why you are not gaining weight, is to log food and drink intake, as well as your activities. At the end of the week, check your calories. You may find out you are not eating enough and/or eating the wrong foods. A diary of what you are eating might be all the evidence you need to make changes.
Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Increase your calorie consumption by 500 calories each day. If you consume 2000 calories a day, increase to 2,500.
- Eat five or six small meals daily. Never go more than three hours without eating.
- If you feel too full in between meals to snack, eat a spoonful of peanut butter instead.
- For breakfast, eat higher calorie meals such as oatmeal with whole milk and bananas — whole grain pancakes or waffles with fruit toppings and meat.
- Add spreads on toast, crackers, pita bread, such as guacamole or cream cheese, nut butter.
- Include carbohydrates with every meal, for example, bread, potatoes, beans, whole grains, and pastas.
- Increase calories to your vegetables and starches by topping them with cheese, real butter, olive oil, and sauces. Fat is not a poison and is an essential part of your diet.
- For snacks, include trail mix. Nuts are a healthy snack that packs in calories.
- Drink shakes, milk, or juice instead of coffee, tea, or diet soda.
- Do not drink fluids with your meals. Drinking fluids makes you feel full causing you to eat less.
- Eat protein with every meal – seafood, poultry, red meat, lentils or tofu.
- Be consistent and consume the same number of calories each day. Tracking is so important.
Working out to conserve those calories is not an option. Exercise is extremely important to increasing your weight. Get stronger by lifting weights, this increases muscle size resulting in weight gain. Many times you lose weight not because of fat but because of muscle loss that occurs as we age. Limit aerobic exercises such as Zumba, spinning, and running which are better for fat and weight loss.
Remember, your body weight is determined by your calorie intake, overall health and age. If you really want something in life, you’ve got to work at it! “Hard work doesn’t guarantee success, but it improves our chances.”