Maintaining a healthy weight is important for health. In addition to lowering the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and high blood pressure, it can also lower the risk of many different cancers. A healthy weight is also important for optimal energy levels & post exercise recovery. Many people in today's society struggle to gain weight for a variety of reasons, such as their family genes, a weak digestive system, an issue with their appetite triggering hormones, among others.
The reality is, many people — especially older adults and people with cancer or other terminal diseases — struggle to gain weight and keep it on. Not only does being underweight sometimes lead to malnourishment, it can also increase your risk of infection and negatively affect treatment outcomes for people who have chronic conditions.
Here are 7 manageable methods to gain weight in a healthy way:
Increase your calorie intake: An athlete who wants to gain muscle weight should increase calories strategically. Eat plenty of high-calorie foods, such as protein-rich meats, healthy fats and whole grains. The goal is to consume more calories.
Eat more frequently: Eating more often will help you consume more calories. If you get full easily, consider eating 5 to 7 small meals each day instead of the standard 3.
Sneak in calories: Add extras to your meals to increase calories. Top oatmeal, yogurt and salads with nuts. Sprinkle cheese into soups, stews and scrambled eggs. Add ground flaxseed to protein shakes and smoothies. You might even eat a spoonful of peanut butter at every meal.
Try liquids: Have difficulty chewing? Suffering from fatigue? Don't want to cook? Liquid calories in the form of nutrient-rich shakes can be a great option. A bonus: These high-calorie shakes are rich in nutrients but less filling than, say, an apple.
Sip fluids between meals: Instead of drinking calorie-free beverages with meals, sip throughout the day so you'll eat more come mealtime. Plus, if you sip high-calorie beverages, you'll get additional calories, protein, carbs and fat without having to think too much about it.
Load up on fats: If you're healthy but underweight, or an athlete who wants to gain muscle mass, one of the best ways to gain weight is to fill up on healthy fats, such as nuts and nut butters, avocados and fatty fish like salmon.
- Keep exercising: Exercise is important for overall health and well-being. It can also help you gain weight (strength training is especially beneficial). A bonus: Regular exercise may also increase your appetite
If you're battling a chronic illness or you're suffering from age-related low appetite, try all of the above plus full-fat dairy products, such as cream cheese, sour cream, heavy whipping cream and full-fat ice cream.
You’ve Gained Weight: Now What?
Before you begin a program or start to work on weight gain, it's important to know where you stand. "Underweight" is defined as a body mass index (BMI) below 18.5. Your BMI is your weight in kilograms divided by your height in meters squared. (Just keep in mind that BMI doesn't account for muscle mass.)
When it's time to start, try a slow and steady approach. Increase the calories you're consuming gradually. Start with an increase of 100 calories per day for a few days and then build up to 500 additional calories daily."
Most important, if you suffer from unexplained weight loss, or can't seem to gain weight despite increasing your calorie intake, see your physician. Several medical conditions can lead to unhealthy weight loss. Your doctor can help rule out a serious health problem.
How can Perfectly Healthy help?
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Perfectly Healthy’s Appetite & Weight Gain Tonic improves appetite & increases healthy caloric uptake by improving digestion.
- Naturally increases appetite
- Increases the breakdown and absorption of carbs, fats & proteins
- Stimulates digestive enzymes & 'Juices'