The Importance of Weight Gain: Why You Shouldn't Ignore
Fat has a bad reputation for leading people to be overweight and obese. However, people must also know that not all fat is bad. In fact, breaking down and storing energy (calories) in the form of fat is actually a healthy practice. It’s just one of the many ways our body uses food to work, heal, and grow which is why having a well-balanced diet is always recommended.
The energy that is stored from fat helps you get through a strenuous job or workout. It plays an integral role in brain development, and in preventing swelling (inflammation) and blood clots. Fat helps you get healthy hair and skin as well.
You can determine whether you are underweight or not by using a Body Mass Index (BMI) calculator, an online tool that considers your weight, height, age, and gender to calculate a value and if your BMI is less than 18.5, you are underweight. Even your healthcare provider can help determine if you’re underweight based on your height, weight, what you eat, and your activity level.
If you’re having trouble gaining weight, there’s no need to worry! While it may seem counterintuitive, there are plenty of reasons why gaining weight can actually be good for your health, which makes it all the more important to take care of yourself and keep your weight up at an optimal level. Here are some reasons why you might be struggling to do so, along with the best healthy weight gain tips, as well as ways to improve your health at the same time.
Many underweight people are actually healthy from a physical point of view. Low body weight can be associated with a variety of causes, including:
- Genetics: If you’ve been thin since childhood and it runs in the family, then you were likely born with a higher-than-normal metabolism. You might also have a naturally small appetite (in which case even if you have a well-rounded and balanced diet, the low quantity of foods makes it slightly less effective in gaining weight despite you being healthy).
- High physical activity: If you’re an athlete or do a lot of physical activity, you probably know that frequent workouts can have their effects on your body weight. If you are constantly on your feet, you may burn more calories than people who are more inactive or sedentary throughout the day.
- Illness: Being sick can hamper your appetite and your body’s ability to store and use food as energy. If you recently experienced a drastic weight loss without even trying, it may be a sign of an underlying disease, such as digestive diseases, diabetes, thyroid problems, or even cancer so make sure to talk to your doctor about it.
- Medicines: Certain prescribed medicines can bring about nausea and weight loss. Some treatments like chemotherapy can also reduce appetite and worsen weight loss due to illness.
- Psychological issues: Our mental health has an effect on every part of our lives. Things like stress and depression can disturb healthy eating habits. Extreme body image fears and distortions can lead to eating disorders so if you are experiencing any damaging emotional issues, kindly talk to your doctor as they can provide you with the care, assistance, or counselling you may need.
Although your doctor may put you on a weight gain diet if you are underweight, it is not an excuse to go crazy with junk food. Just like a weight loss program, a healthy weight gain requires a balanced approach.
Foods to include n your healthy diet chart
The following nutrient-rich weight gain foods can help a person gain weight safely and effectively.
Milk is a must-have in a diet plan for weight gain as it offers a mix of fat, carbohydrates, and proteins. It is also nothing less than a powerhouse of vitamins and minerals, including calcium. The protein content in milk makes it a good choice for people looking to build muscle. A study discovered that post a resistance training workout, drinking skim milk proved to be more effective for building muscle as compared to a soy-based product. A similar study involving women showed improved results in those who drank milk following a workout.
Protein shakes can be helpful in gaining weight in an easy and efficient manner. A shake is most beneficial in helping build muscle if consumed shortly after a workout. However, you must know that premade or readymade shakes usually contain added sugar and other additives which should otherwise be avoided so make sure to check labels carefully.
A cup of rice contains around 200 calories and is also a good source of carbohydrates, which assists in weight gain. Many people find it rather easy to include rice in their meals that contain proteins and vegetables.
Nuts and nut butter
Consuming nuts regularly can help you gain weight in a safe manner. Nuts are a great snack to munch on and can also be added to many meals as well as salads. Raw or dry-roasted nuts are the most beneficial. Nut butter made without any added sugar or hydrogenated oils can also be helpful. The sole ingredient in this butter should be nuts.
They contain complex carbohydrates, which can aid in your weight gain struggles. Some of these breads also contain seeds, which provide added benefits.
Adding starch to your weight gain diet can be very beneficial as it helps add bulk to meals and raises the number of calories consumed. Other foods rich in starches include corn, quinoa, wheat, beans, potatoes, squash, oats, legumes, whole-grain cereals, whole-grain bread, winter root vegetables, sweet potatoes, pasta, cereal bars, etc. Apart from adding calories, starches provide energy in glucose form. Glucose is stored in the body as glycogen which as per some research, indicates can improve performance and energy during exercise.
Pasta can be a carbohydrate-rich and calorically dense answer to healthy weight gain as long as you avoid bleached pasta, and opt for those made from whole grains.
Fats and oils
Oils, such as olive and avocado oil, are a good source of calories and healthy unsaturated fats.
If you are looking for a good source of fat, protein, calcium, and calories then look no further than cheese. A person aiming for weight gain should opt for full-fat cheeses.
Full-fat yoghurt is a good source of protein and nutrients. Try avoiding flavoured yoghurts and those that claim a lower fat content as they usually contain added sugars. You may flavour their yoghurt with nuts or fruits.
Some weight gain tips that might be beneficial
Eating junk food may help you gain weight but it will not fulfil the nutrition criteria that your body needs. Even if the fat, sugar, and salt that is so heavily present in junk food don’t result in extra weight, it can still be harmful to your body. For a healthy weight gain, the following weight gain tips might be beneficial:
- Add healthy calories: You don’t have to abruptly make changes to your diet. You can increase calories by adding nut or seed toppings (like almonds, fruit, whole-grain, sunflower seeds, and wheat toast), cheese, and healthy side dishes.
- Go nutrient-dense: Instead of consuming empty calories and junk food, eat a healthy balanced diet with foods that are rich in nutrients. Consider high-protein meats for muscle building along with nutritious carbohydrates like brown rice and other whole grains. This helps to make sure your body is receiving as much nourishment as it can despite dealing with a reduced appetite.
- Snack away: You can enjoy snacks with plenty of protein and healthy carbohydrate content. Consider snacks like protein bars or drinks, trail mix, and crackers with peanut butter or hummus. Snacks that contain “good fats” (like nuts and avocados) are also a good choice as they are important for a healthy heart.
- Eat mini-meals: If you struggle with a poor appetite, be it due to medical or emotional issues, having large amounts of food in one go may not seem all that appealing. Instead, consider having smaller meals throughout the day as a way to increase your calorie intake.
- Bulk up: While too much aerobic exercise will burn calories and work against your weight goal, strength training can also be a help as you gain weight by building muscle. Strength training includes activities like weightlifting or yoga.
- Before beginning a weight gain diet, have a talk with your doctor: Being underweight could be an indication of underlying health problems which cannot be corrected simply by diet changes. Your doctor will be able to assist you to track your progress as well as ensure that healthy changes are taking place.
If put simply, the secret to gaining weight is gaining more calories than you lose and to achieve that goal, it is true that exercise plays a role but so does a good, well balanced and healthy diet and follow the diet chart gain weight mentioned above. As long as you pay attention to your diet and exercise, you should get positive and desired results over time