Being underweight can be just as bad for your health as being overweight. In fact, it can do all kinds of crazy damage to your body and affect the way your immune system functions. That being said, there’s a right way and a wrong way to gain weight. The wrong way would be binge eating on tons of unhealthy snacks and watching your waistline slowly expand. Instead, be proactive and make sure to visit your doctor first before you make any decisions to lose or gain weight. If your doctor gives you the all-clear, then follow these eight tips to help you gain weight the right way:
1. Understand Why You Want to Gain Weight
Are you actually underweight or is there an undercover body issue at work here? Society places a lot of pressure on women to be thin and curvy at the same time, and it can be tough to look in the mirror and be unhappy with what you see. Resist the pressure to look a certain way and make sure you’re choosing to gain weight for the right reasons—to enhance your health and feel better.
2. Don’t Gain Weight Too Quickly
According to LiveStrong, it’s best to gain a maximum of ½ a pound of weight per week. Gaining weight too quickly can cause nutritional deficiencies which can lead to energy depletion and weaker bones. You should be aiming to gain small increments of weight each week, to give your body ample time to put on healthy muscle tissue, instead of fat.
3. Eat Every Four Hours
4. Drink Plenty of Smoothies
Having a smoothie for breakfast is a good idea, because liquids don’t fill you up like solid food, so they can give your body the nutrients it needs without making you feeling full and leaving you plenty of room to eat more. There are plenty of high-calorie smoothies that help you gain weight, including my personal favorite go-to breakfast smoothie– the easy strawberry orange sunrise smoothie.
5. Don’t Drink Before or During Meals
Gulping a big cup of water before or during your next meal is a quick way to fill you up quicker, but it won’t help you gain weight. Instead, make sure to drink up to 30 minutes before and after a meal, so you’ll be able to finish your entire meal.
Don’t skimp on exercise just because you’re trying to gain weight. Exercising is a fantastic way to build weight, because it helps you build muscle tissue, which is great because muscle weighs way more than fat. It’s also healthier for your body to gain muscle, as opposed to fat gained by unhealthy eating habits. Also, exercising regularly can help boost your appetite! Who doesn’t want to eat more?
7. Eat right before bed.
Your body builds muscle and tissue during sleep, which means that eating a nutrient-rich snack before bed will help you put on weight faster.
8. Eat Healthy, Nutrient-Rich Foods
Try incorporating whole-grain pasta, cereal and breads, as well as lots of veggies and fruit, dairy, protein, nuts, seeds. Instead of buying “diet” labelled food, consider eating higher-calorie foods and try to eat more granola or muesli. Don’t forget to add some fatty fish into your meals—it has lots of omega-3 fatty acids and it’s high in calories. Also, don’t be afraid to stock up on your favorite frozen yogurt, gulp down some oatmeal raisin cookies or cook apple or pumpkin pie!
All in all, there’s a lot of misinformation out there about how to gain weight. If you’re someone who struggles to gain weight, you may also have a tough time keeping on the weight that you gain. So make sure to persevere and stick to your healthy routine of regular exercise and strength-training, and don’t forget to keep eating a nutrient-rich diet of whole-grains, fruits and veggies and other high-calorie foods. Your body will thank you for it!
Feature image via WeHeartIt.