Sure, gaining weight is a lot easier than losing weight. Increasing food intake is half the job done. But, weight gained by eating unhealthy junk food can adversely affect our health. Although most people are overweight and want to lose the pounds, some people wish to gain weight because they are underweight. Skinny people, who want to gain weight, must do it the right way or they risk inviting deadly diseases.
Individuals, who are underweight, must consume a balanced diet that helps build muscle mass and subcutaneous fat, and avoid foods that increase belly fat. Not just the diet, even your lifestyle determines your overall health. Here’s how you can increase your weight and maintain it, so that you don’t go from underweight to being obese.
1. Consume More Than You Burn
This one is easy. All you have to do is eat more than what your body needs. Consuming more calories than your body burns will eventually increase your body weight. You could use a calorie counter if required. Ideally, you should consume between 300 and 500 calories more than your body burns. Though you may have to increase the intake compared to the output, this will soon change once you have achieved your desired weight and now want to maintain it.
2. Increase Protein Intake
Undoubtedly, protein is the most important nutrient required for muscle building. A good protein intake combined with appropriate physical exercise helps convert the protein into muscle mass. A high-protein diet is just what the body needs. Since protein is a sumptuous nutrient, consuming enough of it can be a challenge. Milk, nuts, eggs, fish, meat and cereals are a good bet.
3. Three Meals A Day
Ensuring a constant supply of nutrients is critical for weight gain. Carbohydrates and fat must definitely be on the menu if you want to pile on the pounds. Your meals should ideally contain proteins, carbohydrates, minerals and fats. A balanced diet will ensure that you increase your weight and maintain it in the long run. To ensure a continuous supply of these nutrients, eat at least three meals a day.
4. High-Energy Foods
Some foods pack a punch. They contain all the nutrients that your body needs to increase your weight. Some energy-rich foods that are ideal for weight gain are nuts, dry fruit, high-fat dairy products, meat, tubers, chocolate, grains, and fats. After consuming these, don’t forget to convert all that energy into muscles, for which exercise is a must. Some people consume sweets and artificial sweeteners to control weight. Research suggest that artificial sweeteners may contribute to weight gain. Studies found a positive correlation between artificial sweetener use and weight gain. Sweet taste consumed either through sugar or artificial sweeteners, enhances our appetite.1
5. Convert Nutrients Into Muscles
This is the most important part. You’ve eaten all you can and now you must focus on muscle building. Ensure that your trainer at the gym knows your objective and helps you pump those weights. Heavy weight training helps rapidly build the muscles. This ensures that the calories are converted to muscles instead of just unhealthy fat. Hit the gym at least thrice a week and increase your weight lifting capacity. Persons with medical conditions must first consult their physician before performing heavy workouts. Regular workout at the gym not only helps build mass, but also helps in maintaining a healthy physique. Spending less time in front of the TV and more time in the gym definitely helps. 2
6. Sleep Well
Quality sleep is crucial in gaining and maintaining your weight and overall health. Muscles grow and develop during sleep and very little sleep doesn’t help the cause. Adversely, lack of adequate sleep causes people to overeat and become obese. People who get insufficient sleep tend to weigh more than those who get enough sleep.3 Moderation is the key. Adults must sleep for at least seven hours to provide the body and mind sufficient rest and time for rejuvenation. So, deficient sleep derails your maintenance plans.
7. Stub The Butt Permanently
The dangers of smoking come into the picture again. Interestingly, besides causing deadly diseases, smoking also causes weight-loss. Smoking kills the appetite and prevents healthy eating habits. Quitting smoking can drastically improve appetite and promote healthy eating habits. So, people who want to gain weight must first give up smoking.
Body weight, waist size, and the amount of weight gained since your mid-20s can have serious health implications later in life. These factors can determine your chances of contracting deadly diseases. Physical activity plays a vital role in weight control and health. 4 Losing, gaining, and maintaining weight is a life-long affair and not a short-term plan. It is imperative that we involve a fitness regime into our lives and better still, consult a fitness and nutrition expert, who can recommend a customized diet and exercise plan.