Weight gain or ‘putting on’ body weight should be done healthily and safely. Bodyweight can increase when there is an increase in muscle mass, fat deposits, or accumulation of excess body fluids. There is no fast way to gain weight. Weight gain takes time, and it should be resorted to without taking shortcuts like binging on junk food. It can take a few months to a year or longer to reach ideal body weight depending on the individual’s metabolism and/or underlying medical condition. Though the trend is generally to lose weight, being underweight also has health risks. Therefore, those who are underweighted are required to gain weight.
Being underweight has an increased risk of the following:
9 ways to gain weight
Gaining weight requires a combination of diet, exercise, and medical treatment in case of underlying medical conditions. One may consult with a doctor to rule out other causes of being underweight and to ensure home remedies are appropriate for their condition.
- Eating more calories: Eating more calories than what the body can burn by increasing plate size, eating three wholesome meals a day, and at least two healthy snacks a day.
- Protein-rich diet: Protein helps build muscle mass. Rich sources of protein include soybean, fish, eggs, dairy products, nuts, or whey protein. Protein supplements are also available in the form of powders, which can be prepared as shakes with milk and consumed or in the form of protein bars and biscuits. Healthy meals should not be replaced with protein supplements.
- Increasing intake of carbs and high-fat foods: Healthy foods that are rich in carbohydrates and fat like bananas, oats, quinoa, blueberries, sweet potatoes, cheese, and dark chocolate can help gain weight.
- Consuming energy-rich foods: Energy-dense foods like nuts (especially almonds, walnuts, peanuts), dried fruits (raisins or prunes), dark chocolate, high-fat dairy foods milk, and vegetables like potatoes and yams can fuel the body.
- Appropriate exercise: Weightlifting consumes excess fat to build muscles instead of unhealthy fat accumulation. Increasing muscle mass can increase body weight, improve health, and make the individual appear toned and fit. Excessive cardio will result in further weight loss; hence, cardio may be limited to 10 to 15 minutes, three times a week. One may consult with a professional for an appropriate exercise regime.
- Drinking milk: Drinking at least one glass of full-fat milk with a spoonful of protein powder can help gain weight. Milk is also highly nutritious. Avoid milk if you are lactose intolerant.
- Adequate sleep: Sleep provides mental wellbeing throughout the day, reduces stress, and improves digestion, aiding the overall metabolic process.
- Stress management: Stress can cause weight loss. Hence, managing stress with the help of yoga, meditation, or seeking a professional’s help is essential.
- Avoiding smoking: Smoking affects several body functions that can cause weight loss. Smoking also affects appetite.
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NHS. Underweight Teen Girls. https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-weight/underweight-teen-girls/
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