Beautiful, slim, forever young… These are the slogans that appear in the media most frequently. Striving for a young look and a slim body is a priority nowadays. That’s why all the various different ways that should help us painlessly and miraculously burn fat are so popular. And all that of course in the blink of an eye! However, people whose aim is just the opposite are often forgotten. Those who actually want to gain weight. It might seem easy, but is it? Let’s see!
Why do we want to put on weight?
The reasons to gain weight can be different, depending on social groups. The most common reasons why people want to put on weight are:
- women: the will to have more feminine curves
- men: the will to have a muscular, athletic body
- athletes: achieving body weight for specific categories before sports competitions
- people who are undernourished or with huge damage to health caused by a serious disease (e.g. cancer): faster recovery, getting rid of persistent symptoms associated with malnutrition (e.g. weakness, cachexia), better life quality
How can I tell if my body weight is too low?
The best way is to determine your body fat percentage. For this purpose, a body composition analyzer available in diet rooms should be used. The guidelines vary depending on the age and sex of the subject. Averaging the results – women should not have a level lower than 20% of body fat, while in men the rate should not fall below 15%.
However, the most popular step should be determining the BMI (Body Mass Index):
BMI [kg/m2] = body weight [kg] : height2 [m]
If the result indicates a value lower than 18.5 kg/m2, then we can say that our body weight is too low.
Factors that increase your risk of low weight
Low body weight can be associated with the occurrence of certain diseases or taking certain medications. Below are the factors that may contribute to it:
- genetic predisposition
- celiac disease or malabsorption syndromes
- allergies, food intolerances
- some bacterial infections
- parasitic diseases
- digestive tract disorders
- patients chronically struggling with recurring nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting
- disorders of the endocrine system
- appetite-reducing diseases – cancer, diabetes, thyroid disease, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome
- mental illness, e.g. depression, schizophrenia
- taking certain medications – e.g. iron preparations – can cause stomach ache and nausea
- imbalance of intestinal microflora
How can too low body weight affect our health?
- Too low body weight can have a negative impact not only on our well-being but also on our health. The most common effects are:
- decrease in physical capacity
- weakening of immunity
- prolonged wound healing
- reduced mental performance
- difficulty concentrating and learning
- excessive tiredness
- unreasonable drowsiness
- frequent headaches
- increased risk of osteoporosis
- increased feeling of weakness, fatigue
- menstrual disorder, and even infertility in very advanced stages
How to increase body weight?
Dietary recommendations for weight gain are almost identical to those that apply when reducing weight. First of all, which I have already written many times, you should eat to gain weight! Balanced meals providing the right amount of macro- and micronutrients are the basis of success. The basic difference between a reduction diet and a “weight gain” diet is the energy value of the menu.
To gain 1 kg, you need to eat as much as 7000 kcal above your TMR (Total Metabolic Rate). Therefore, if you plan to gain 1 kg in 10 days, you should additionally eat 700 kcal each day (7000 kcal: 10 days). Remember, however, that for the care of your body, the energy supplement to your TMR should not be higher than 1000 kcal. Increasing diet calories should also be a gradual process, not a sudden event. Remember this especially if you want to gain a few kilos quickly.
What to eat to gain weight?
The easiest way would be to go to one of the popular fast food restaurants and deal with the problem with one small hamburger or drink about 8 tablespoons of oil. But we should look for solutions that will ensure that along with increasing body weight you will maintain good health and the right level of immunity and vitality.
The first addition that increases the caloric content of your dishes, which you can not forget, are healthy vegetable fats. They will provide you with a large amount of kcal in a small volume, because 1 g of fat contains as much as 9 kcal. Recommended sources of fat include, for example, olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, seeds and nuts.
Let’s make fruit number two. Their fructose, which is a simple sugar, will support weight gain. So what’s the difference between a banana and a candy bar if both products contain sugar? Well, fruit, in addition to fructose, also contain fiber and a wide range of micronutrients. Therefore, they will be perfect as “healthy calories” to support you in the fight to gain extra kilos. Remember that you can eat fresh fruit, dried, or sip juice and smoothies.
You can’t forget about complex carbohydrates. Dark bread, all kinds of coarse cereals and brown rice should still be your friends. And not only because they contain large amounts of fiber, but above all they are a source of energy that is released gradually. Fiber, vitamins and minerals contained in them also play an important role in controlling blood cholesterol levels.
The next aspect is protein. You should especially choose white meat and fish that will positively affect the growth of your muscle tissue. These products are especially recommended for people who care about having a muscular body. People eliminating dairy or meat products from their diet can go for natural protein preparations, e.g. pea, rice or hemp protein. They are great as an addition to cocktails or porridge.
How to eat all these products? First of all, regularly, ensuring even intervals between meals. Remember about breakfast, and eat subsequent meals every 2-3 hours so as not to overload the stomach too much. Small portions eaten more often will be much better in terms of taking care of the proper functioning of your digestive system. Do not forget about the post-workout meal – it will be the basis of a good building base for muscles.
Don’t forget about water as the rules for drinking it still apply. It is necessary for the proper functioning of the muscles and the activation of fiber. Under its influence, fiber swells and only in this form it can remove undigested food residue from your intestines. However, remember that when you gain weight, you should avoid drinking before eating so as not to fill your stomach. Try to drink between meals and afterwards. Of course, your diet may include juices and smoothies, especially freshly prepared. These types of drinks should also be consumed between meals or after their completion. Avoid carbonated drinks or nectars.
Remember to eat as few processed products as possible. The shorter the composition and the fewer technological processes the product has undergone – the more nutritional value for you!
If you care about a beautiful, muscular and athletic body, diet alone is not enough! An adequate level of physical activity is also needed. Regular exercise will positively affect not only your well-being and health, but also the appearance of your body. It doesn’t take much to build extra fat, but it does to have a beautiful, healthy body with proper muscle content.
How can I increase the caloric content of my dishes in an easy way?
The simple ways to increase the calorie content of meals without having to drastically increase the volume are:
- adding good quality fats to dishes: coconut oil, clarified butter, olive oil or other types of unrefined oils
- replacing ready-made sweets containing a lot of worthless energy with nuts and unsulfured dried fruit
- adding sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame or coconut flakes to your meals
- replacing products with their higher calorie counterparts, e.g. low-fat curd to full fat one
- drinking fruit smoothies, which, when blended, can become an easily absorbed calorie bomb with lots of vitamins and minerals.
The ways to deal with appetite loss
You already know the theory of weight gain. However, what to do when another problem arises – a lack of desire to eat? On the one hand, the cause of this symptom may be changes in the brain causing an abnormal feeling of hunger and satiety. On the other hand, past traumatic experiences may be a risk factor for developing eating disorders. The source of this symptom may be, for example, being forced to eat or overfeeding during childhood or adolescence. Therefore, to improve your appetite try to cope with the help of natural methods. At the beginning, it is worth taking care of flavoring dishes using: ginger, cinnamon, thyme, pepper, tarragon, horseradish, cumin, mustard, cloves, basil, hot pepper, anise, fennel, rosemary, mint, chamomile, lemon balm. I also recommend avoiding a monotonous diet and taking care of the aesthetics on your plate. I also recommend eating meals in a quiet atmosphere, without being distracted e.g. by the TV. Some herbs also affect the desire to eat. With such a problem, it is worth buying the great yellow gentian, yarrow herb, dandelion root, mugwort herb, blessed thistle, and chicory root. These plants can be found in the form of dried infusions or as liquid extracts. It is recommended to use them up to half an hour before starting a meal.
As you can see, the nutritional changes made to increase weight are just as difficult as those which help you lose weight. Therefore, I do not recommend negatively assessing slim people who want to improve the appearance of their figure, because underweight and lack of body fat can also have adverse health effects. Let’s take care of our health, motivate each other and strive for success!
Remember that you can also find a diet for weight gain in my app Diet & Training by Ann.
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