It may be hard to believe but some people actually have problems gaining weight. Yes, while everyone else is bent up over shedding those unwanted pounds, others gladly would gladly welcome them because they're too thin. There are various reasons for wanting or needing to gain weight. These include health concerns, building muscles, lack of energy, lack of appetite and many others. Usually, being a little underweight doesn’t pose any problem, according to the president of the American Dietetic Association Sylvia Escott-Stump, RD. If you’re not having any problems with function and exercise, it’s not something to worry about, but if you do want to gain a little weight, it’s imperative that you do it the healthy way. Here are some techniques for you to try out.
Don’t Just Count the Calories
The main key in gaining weight is to consume more calories than your body burns. Use a calorie calculator to find out the number of calories that you need to gain weight. Obviously, you’ll need to increase your calorie intake. You can do this by consuming bigger volumes of food or eating those that are high in calories. But it’s a must to keep in mind that calories are not the only things that matter, as nutrients are just as important. Alice Bender, RD, is a nutrition communications manager working for the American Institute for Cancer Research, and she recommends calorie-rich foods that are packed with nutrients over those that are laden with sugar, fat and empty calories. According to her, any person who wants to gain weight should make it his objective to choose foods that are loaded with vitamins, minerals and calories so that good health will not be kept at bay.
Eat More Often
It’s not only what you eat but how often you eat. Another effective technique is to eat more often. Instead of going for the usual three meals a day routine, make it six meals. Be sure that at least three of these pack in substantial amount of protein, starch and fat. A good example would be snacking on lean chicken breast on whole wheat bread with lettuce, cheese and tomatoes. Pair it up with a fruit shake or smoothie. Of course, you still have to choose wisely so you gain weight as well as maintain proper health. Eating more often would give you about half a pound to one pound of weight increase after only a week.
Gain Some Muscle Mass
You can also gain weight by increasing your muscle mass. What you can do is to engage in weight training exercises while taking in protein bars, protein shakes and just more protein in general. These will give your muscles the post-workout fuel that they need. Moreover, it would help to constantly snack on foods and drinks that are rich in calories and protein. A protein shake with two scoops of casein protein before going to bed can give you more muscles sooner than you expect. Be sure that you consult a fitness expert regarding your weight training program and diet to ensure that you are on the right track.
Stimulate your Appetite
Eating is a pleasurable activity for most people but some just don’t have the same passion. Stimulating your appetite is crucial if you want to gain weight. One thing you can do is to take a walk before a meal. It can do wonders in working up your appetite and you’ll enjoy the food more. It would also help to choose your favorite foods. If not, you can always jazz up the dish with some spices and herbs to make it tastier and more appetizing. Don’t drink a lot of water while eating. This can fill you up easily. Incorporate fruits into your meals. The natural sweetness of this nutritious food item can instantly stimulate your appetite.
Know What to Eat
As mentioned earlier, you need to choose wisely in terms of what you’re putting inside your mouth. Pick those that are high in calories and nutrients. Good examples are plant fats such as seeds, peanut butter, avocados, nuts, almond butter, hummus and oils. Animal fats contain just as much calories and they're also rich in nutrients. The only problem is that they also have saturated fats that can shoot up your LDL cholesterol, which is also known as bad cholesterol. It’s best to limit intake of these. Pump up the calories in your meals by adding fruits, milk, cheese, tofu, nuts and yogurt. Strive to take in at least five ounces of lean meat, poultry or fish every day as well as lots of dairy, whole grains, legumes and eggs to ensure that you have enough protein in your diet.
Gaining weight shouldn’t be that difficult if you have the love for food. Even if you don’t, these simple but effective techniques will help you pack in those pounds that you want.