In today’s world, where so many people are battling being overweight, it may seem odd that someone would purposefully want to gain weight. But the fact is that being underweight can be as damaging as being overweight. People need a certain amount of fat in the body in order for their body to work correctly and being underweight can lead to brittle bones, a weakened immune system, anemia, fertility issues and hair loss.
Whether you’re underweight due to genetics, your lifestyle or an illness, there are things you can do to add back some of those pounds in a healthy manner. In the end, your body should semi-lean and toned with a healthy glow.
1. Mentally Prepare Yourself
It’s been said that the effective weight loss begins when the mind is ready to conquer the challenge. This is also true when you are trying to gain weight. You must be ready to start the journey as it will require dietary and lifestyle changes.
2. Set your Goal
A good weight gain plan should have you gaining no more than .5kg per week. This amount makes sure you work the “slow and steady” method of weight gain, which is more successful than plans requiring quick gains.
3. Plan your Meals and Stick to your Plan
It’s not only important to figure out ahead of time what you will be eating, but it’s also important to set up an eating schedule that you can stick with long-term.
4. Stay away from junk foods
Although junk foods, such as snacks, cookies, cakes and crisps may help you gain weight, they are not healthy foods and could contribute to diseases such as heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.
5. Understand your body
Due to genetics, some people simply are on the skinnier side than others. The important point is that you are of a healthy weight so that your body can function properly. If you are unsure of what your minimum ideal weight should be, see your general practitioner.
6. Sleep well!
Sleeping well not only aids in weight loss for someone who is overweight, strangely enough it also helps someone who is underweight add on good pounds. One benefits of getting a good night’s sleep is that it helps reduce stress and anxiety. If you are one of those people who have trouble eating when you are stressed, make sure to focus on sleep.
7. Track your calories and exercise
It’s important to know exactly how many calories you are eating and how many you are expending. Keeping track of the little things can help you target the areas where you need to make changes.
8. Treat yourself
As you start on your weight gain journey and as especially as you meet your goals, it’s important to do the things which make you feel happy about the changes. Purchase some new clothes or treat yourself to a pedicure. Celebrate!
9. Seek treatment
If you are severely underweight and are really having trouble gaining weight, it’s important to seek proper treatment. You should get a good physical exam as well as a mental exam to help uncover those things which might be sabotaging your weight gain
10. Reduce cardio and focus on muscle building workouts
For an extreme athlete, it’s easy to burn a thousand calories in one cardio-based activity session, but if your weight is too low because of it, it may be time to take a cardio break. Focus on building muscles instead.
11. Muscle building exercises should focus on adding weights instead of doing lots of reps
Doing lots of reps with small weights helps to tone the muscles, but using heavier weights with low reps will actually build the muscle. But don’t fear – you will not suddenly bulk up into a body builder simply by adding more weight.
12. Don’t go to the gym every day
You need to give your body plenty of rest between workouts. Going three times per week is plenty if you’re in weight gain mode.
13. Take a little walk before eating
Adding in just a tiny bit of activity before sitting down for your meal can help stimulate your appetite. Short bits of exercise can make you feel hungrier without burning too many necessary calories.
14. Eat 200 – 300 more calories than you burn daily
This allows you to meet your goal of .5kg per week of weight gain. Even a small snack or extra helping can meet this goal.
15. Drink a glass of red wine before eating
Studies show that one small glass of red wine before dinner can help you enjoy your meal more. It may even lead you to eat more if you are one of those people who have trouble eating when you are stressed out.
16. Add extra protein to your plate
This is a super healthy way of easily getting your 200 calories per day without completely changing your lifestyle. Extra servings of lean protein, so long as you’re not replacing other foods on your plate, not only help you to gain weight, but it also helps you to gain muscle.
17. Add good healthy carbs
Carbs are the weight-gainer’s secret weapon. In fact, they work so well for weight gain that many military organizations often use carbs only when bulking up their troops. Add in some healthy, simple carbs, such as white potatoes, white rice, and pastas at each meal.
18. Eat regular meals three times a day
It’s important to schedule three meals every single day. If you’re someone who regularly skips meals, you will need to make this a priority. You don’t have to eat a lot at each meal, but making sure to get consistent calories over time is important.
19. Snack between meals
You want to add in at least two or three mini-meals per day. Make sure to pick high-calorie, nutrient-dense foods. These can be smoothies, some cheese, a small bowl of granola with yogurt, or a handful of nuts.
20. Drink your calories
Pick some delicious smoothies or small meal replacement shakes and sip on these during the day.
21. Add whey protein to milk, juices or teas
Whey protein powder added to whatever you’re drinking not only helps ramp up the calorie level, it also adds needed protein that helps you build muscle.
22. Drink water, but only after eating
You need to make sure you fill your daily water needs, but drinking too close to mealtime can make you feel full. Quit drinking water 30-45 minutes prior to eating.
23. Never skip breakfast
Make breakfast your biggest meal. This not only gives you a healthy dose of calories to get your day started right, it also make sure that even if you do skimp on meals later in the day, you’ve already consumed a decent amount of food.
24. Nut butters are a must
Peanut butters, almond butters and even walnut butters are excellent choices for a snack food. They are high in calories, but are also high in protein. Add some to a banana, a smoothie, or simply get a nice spoonful once in awhile.
25. Add fatty fish
Fatty fishes such as salmon, tuna, sardines and trout provide a nutritious meal that is also full of health Omega-3 fats. These fats can help you increase healthy fat levels in the body without adding dangerous visceral fat.