Gaining weight healthily is a common concern for many individuals. This article provides practical tips to gain weight fast in a safe and effective manner.
Causes of being underweight
Several medical conditions can cause weight loss, including:
- Eating disorders: This includes anorexia nervosa, a serious mental health condition.
- Thyroid problems: An overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) can boost metabolism and cause unhealthy weight loss.
- Celiac disease: The most severe form of gluten-related disorder. Overall, the incidence of celiac disease has risen throughout the 20th and 21st centuries.
- Diabetes: Diabetes (mainly type 1) that is not properly managed can lead to severe weight loss.
- Infections: Certain infections can cause someone to become severely underweight. This can include parasites, tuberculosis, and HIV.
If you’re underweight, you may want to make an appointment with a doctor to rule out any serious medical conditions.
Why is gaining weight important?
Many people in the world are underweight.
Some individuals may be naturally underweight due to genetics or a fast metabolism. Being this may also indicate poor nutrition or underlying health conditions.
Additionally, many people who are not clinically underweight may still want to gain muscle and put on weight for other reasons.
Whether you’re underweight or attempting to gain muscle weight, the main principles are the same.
What does it mean to be ’underweight‘?
The clinical definition of underweight is having a body mass index (BMI) below 18.5. This is estimated to be less than the body mass needed to sustain optimal health.
However, keep in mind that there are many problems with the BMI scale, which only looks at weight and height. It does not take muscle mass into account.
People can have different BMIs and body types and still be healthy. Being underweight according to this scale does not necessarily mean that you have a health problem.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), being underweight is about twice as common among women compared with men. In a U.S. survey that grouped participants into men and women, 1.3% of men and 2% of women 20 years and older are underweight.
6 Tips to Gain Weight Fast are:
1. Homemade protein smoothies
Homemade protein smoothies can be a highly nutritious and effective way to gain weight.
Making your own smoothies gives you full control over the ingredients and can help you boost calories.
Here are a few tasty variations you can try. You can combine each with 2 cups or 470 milliliters (mL) of dairy milk or soy milk if you have lactose intolerance. Both have more nutrients and calories than other milk alternatives.
- Chocolate banana nut shake: Combine 1 banana, 1 scoop of chocolate whey protein, and 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of peanut or another nut butter.
- Vanilla berry shakes: Combine 1 cup (237 mL) of fresh or frozen mixed berries, ice, 1 cup (237 mL) of high protein, whole milk Greek yogurt, and 1 scoop of vanilla whey protein.
- Super green shake: Combine 1 cup (237 mL) of spinach, 1 avocado, 1 banana, 1 cup (237 mL) of pineapple, and 1 scoop of unflavored or vanilla whey protein.
All of these smoothies provide around 400–600 calories, along with a high amount of protein, and other important vitamins and minerals.
2. Dairy milk
Dairy milk has been used as a weight gainer or muscle builder for decades.
It provides a balance of proteins, carbs, and fats and is a good source of calcium, as well as other vitamins and minerals.
If you’re trying to build muscle, milk is an excellent protein source that provides both casein and whey proteins. A 2018 review of research has shown cow’s milk can help you add muscle when combined with weightlifting.
Additionally, studies have found that milk, or whey and casein protein combined, can lead to greater mass gain than other protein sources.
Rice is a convenient, low-cost carb source that can be part of a weight gain eating plan. Just 1 cup (158 g) of cooked white rice provides 204 calories, 44 g of carbs, and very little fat.
Rice is also fairly calorie-dense, meaning you can obtain a high amount of carbs and calories from a single serving. This helps you eat more food, especially if you don’t feel that hungry or get full quickly.
When you’re on the go or in a rush, you can add 2-minute packs of microwavable rice to other protein sources.
Another popular method is to prepare a large pot of rice, refrigerate it freeze individual portions, and then combine it with different proteins and fats for varied meals throughout the week. Rice can be a staple food for supporting frequent, smaller meals throughout the day.
The easiest way to add taste, calories, and a protein boost is to stir some of these ingredients into cooked rice:
- butter and Parmesan cheese
- broccoli and cheese
- scrambled eggs
- toasted sesame seeds, peanuts, or cashews
You can also top rice with a sauce, such as:
A rice dish can easily become a whole meal. Try this wild rice and chicken kale for a balanced lunch (400 calories per serving).
4. Stay Hydrated
While water itself doesn’t contribute to weight gain, staying hydrated is crucial for overall health. Choose calorie-containing beverages like smoothies and shakes to add extra calories.
5. Eat More Frequently
Instead of sticking to the traditional three meals a day, incorporate snacks between meals. Opt for nutrient-rich snacks like Greek yogurt, cheese, and dried fruits.
6. Strength Training Exercises
Engage in strength training exercises to build muscle mass. Incorporate compound exercises like squats, deadlifts, and bench presses into your workout routine.
Gaining weight in a healthy and sustainable manner requires a combination of increased calorie intake, nutrient-dense foods, and regular strength training. It’s essential to be patient and consistent in your efforts, making adjustments as needed. Always consult with a healthcare professional or nutritionist for personalized advice.
FAQs on Gaining Weight
1. Can I gain weight without eating unhealthy foods?
Yes, it’s possible to gain weight by focusing on nutrient-dense, healthy foods. Include a variety of whole foods to ensure balanced nutrition.
2. How quickly can I expect to see results from these tips?
Results vary from person to person. It’s crucial to be patient and consistent with your efforts. Consult with a healthcare professional for personalized guidance.
3. Are supplements necessary for weight gain?
While supplements can be helpful, it’s best to obtain nutrients from whole foods. Consult with a healthcare provider before incorporating supplements into your routine.
4. Can individuals with certain medical conditions use these tips?
Individuals with medical conditions impacting weight should consult their healthcare provider for tailored advice. These tips are general recommendations and may not be suitable for everyone.
5. Is it possible to gain weight without exercising?
While exercise is beneficial for muscle gain, adjusting your diet to include more calories is the primary factor in weight gain. Exercise can enhance the process and promote overall health.