While millions of people are struggling with obesity and excess weight, there are people who never stop dreaming of putting on pounds. The word “dreaming” is key here.
No matter how hard they try, most underweight people can’t gain weight. They eat a lot – some even munch on fast food – and avoid exercise to become more plum, but all efforts are in vain. First of all, it’s important to find out the reason why you’ve been losing weight. Once you learn the reason, it would be easier to cope with it.
Secondly, it’s crucial that you eat healthy food and exercise regularly. If there’s no serious trigger of your weight loss, eating the right amount of calories and the right food combos will finally help you to gain weight without damaging your well-being.
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Are you underweight?
Before you jump to a conclusion that you’re underweight, calculate your body mass index (BMI). If your BMI is below 18.5, you’re underweight. The normal weight is considered to be between 18.5-24.9. However, naturally skinny people tend to be underweight yet still totally healthy.
What are the major causes of a constant weight loss?
It’s hard to identify the exact reason without a doctor. It might be okay if you’ve been slim and trim since your childhood as genetics might be to blame here. However, if your diet or lifestyle hasn’t changed, but you keep dropping a significant amount of weight, it’s a warning sign. Your doctor will help you to figure out the trigger of your weight problem and will find the best solution for you.
There are several serious causes of weight loss and they are:
Unexplained weight loss might be a common symptom of an overactive thyroid or hyperthyroidism. The heart palpitations or increased hunger are two other symptoms.
People with an overactive thyroid can also feel hot all the time and have sleeping problems. Having an overactive thyroid can increase the metabolic rate and trigger unhealthy and fast weight loss.
The autoimmune disorder linked to gluten, celiac disease can trigger weight loss. The disorder is typically accompanied by several other gastrointestinal symptoms, including diarrhea.
The issues with the pancreas that stimulates the production of enzymes that enhance digestion, might lead to a rapid drop in weight, too. Watch out for the symptoms, such as nausea, discolored poop, or stomach pain after consuming fatty foods like fries or burgers.
Mental disorders like anxiety and depression can also cause the loss of appetite and thus a drop in weight. People with the mental disorders tend to skip meals and rarely notice their unhealthy weight loss.
Plus, all the consequences of anxiety and depression, including sleeping disorders, heavy drinking, irritability, and drugs, can speed up the unhealthy weight loss process.
There’s a wrong belief that only overweight or obese people can suffer from diabetes. Very skinny people are at risk as well. Particularly during the first stages of the diabetes development, a person can face a rapid weight loss.
A frequent urination and intense thirst are other signs to look for. The thing is, an increased urination makes the body get rid of glucose since it’s unable to absorb it. That’s what drives an intense thirst. Moreover, diabetes makes the body suck all the nourishment from the muscles, causing weight loss.
Extreme dieting, starvation, and eating disorders like anorexia nervosa also lead to unhealthy weight drop. Poor diet increases the risk of other serious conditions that underweight people can experience.
The inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, can negatively impact on your appetite and result in a drop in weight. The inflammatory conditions tend to trigger chronic inflammation in the gut, which affects healthy nutrient absorption and therefore makes you lose pounds.
The infections can be a reason for weight loss too. This includes HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and parasites. Since these infections possess the health risk, a special medical treatment is required.
A few types of cancers, along with an ulcer or tumor in the intestines or stomach, can trigger malabsorption issues or inflammation that may cause unexpected weight drop. That’s because cancerous tumors burn tons of calories.
What are the dangers of being underweight?
Unless they’re naturally skinny, underweight people have a high risk of an early death. Plus, they face fertility problems, fractures and osteoporosis, and a weak immune system. There’s also an increased risk of developing dementia and sarcopenia, which is an age-related muscle wasting.
Is it possible to gain weight in a healthy way?
Underweight people often turn to unhealthy food in order to gain weight fast. However, this method is bad for your overall health. Here are several healthy yet effective ways to put on pounds safely:
1.Boost your calorie intake
As an underweight person, you should consume more calories than you burn. Calculate your daily calorie intake and aim to consume 300-500 calories more than your body burns.
If you want to put on pounds fast, consume extra 1000 calories. It may hard to count calories each day, but practice it for a week to develop a habit.
2.Eat more healthy fats and carbs
When people are trying to lose weight, they stay away from fats and carbs. If you strive to gain weight, ensure your meal plan includes carbs and healthy fats.
Avoid intermittent fasting, as it will only promote weight loss. The great sources of healthy fats are walnuts, avocado, olives, olive oil, peanut butter, flaxseeds, almonds, and others. The sources of healthy carbs include sweet potatoes, legumes, milk, fruit like mangoes and banana, popcorn, and whole grains.
3.Increase your protein intake
When it comes to gaining healthy weight, protein is a highly important nutrient that you should be consuming more. The muscles are made of protein and a lack of it can turn extra calories into a body fat.
According to a study done by a group of scientists from the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, LA, USA, a high-protein diet helps the extra calories turn into muscle during the periods of overfeeding.
The drawback of protein is that it’s extremely feeling. It can reduce your appetite and thus it can be more difficult to eat your recommended calorie intake during the day.
Be careful with powdered protein and look for natural sources instead. If you’re considering protein supplements, opt for whey protein but make sure you don’t overdo it. Protein supplements have tons of side effects. Eggs, nuts, legumes, and many dairy products are among the richest sources of protein.
When eating, have your protein first and then veggies. For instance, if there’s a mix of different foods on your dinner plate, consume the protein-rich and calorie-dense foods first. Finish your meal course with veggies for a more successful result.
4.Munch on energy-dense foods
There are many energy-dense foods that can help you gain weight. Since most of these foods are highly filling, sometimes it’s okay to force yourself to eat them – but in moderation. The perfect examples of energy-dense foods are:
- Dark chocolate, peanut butter, avocados, trail mixes, granola, coconut milk.
- Tubers like sweet potatoes and white potatoes.
- Whole grains like brown rice and oats.
- Healthy oils like avocado oil and extra virgin olive oil.
- High-fat dairy, including full-fat yogurt, whole milk, cream, and cheese.
- Dried fruit, such as prunes, dates, raisins, and others.
- Nuts like macadamia nuts, walnuts, almonds, brazil nuts, hazelnuts, peanuts, pistachios, and others.
5.Use condiments, sauces, and spices
The condiments, sauces, and spices will make your meals tastier and therefore you might end up eating more, increasing your daily calorie intake. Try to avoid using too spicy condiments like chili pepper since it promotes weight loss.
6.Eat foods that stimulate weight gain
Adding the following foods to your daily meal plan can help you put on weight in a healthy and effective way:
- Healthy oils like coconut oil, avocado oil, and extra virgin olive oil.
- Full-fat yogurt meals like smoothies, yogurt parfait, chocolate nut butter or chia pudding.
- Whole eggs.
- High-quality dark chocolate.
- Cereal bars.
- Healthy cereals, including multigrain, granola, oats, etc.
- Whole-grain breads.
- Dried fruit.
- Oily fish.
- Starches and potatoes, including legumes and beans, winter root vegetables, squash, white potatoes, sweet potatoes, buckwheat, corn, oats, quinoa, etc.
- Nuts and nut butters.
7.Start your day with protein smoothies
Or have them as a snack. Smoothies are a tasty and fast way to gain weight as one protein smoothie can contain up to 600 calories, along with essential vitamins and minerals. Here are a few recipes to try out:
- Green smoothie: Blend 1 avocado, 1 banana, 1 cup of spinach, 1 cup of mango, and a scoop of vanilla or unflavored whey protein.
- Vanilla mix berry smoothie: Blend 1 cup of vanilla yogurt or almond milk, 1 scoop of vanilla whey protein, and 1 cup of frozen or fresh mixed berries.
- Vanilla apple smoothie: Blend 1 cup of sliced apples, 1 scoop of vanilla whey protein, and 1 cup of plain yogurt. You can jazz up this smoothie caramel flavoring or sauce. But ensure it’s sugar-free.
- Chocolate nut smoothie: Blend 1 avocado or banana, 1 scoop of chocolate whey protein, 1 cup of chocolate milk, and 1 tablespoon of nut butter.
- Vanilla raspberry smoothie: Blend 1 cup of almond milk, 1 cup of frozen or fresh raspberries, and 1 scoop of vanilla or unflavored whey protein.
- Chocolate banana peanut smoothie: Blend 1 scoop of chocolate whey protein, ½ cup of almond milk, 1 banana, and 1 tablespoon of peanut butter, albeit you can choose any nut butter.
Just because you’re trying to put on extra pounds doesn’t mean you should forget about exercise and switch to a sedentary lifestyle. That’s a wrong belief. Yes, you do burn calories when you move your body, but exercise is still important for your health. Depending on the intensity of your workout, you can increase your calorie intake for a balance.
Apart from some easy cardio exercises, start lifting weights. This will ensure that those extra calories you consume daily go to the muscles rather than the fat cells. Aim to work out 2 to 3 times per week. Start with light weights, gradually increasing the volume and weights.
9.Get enough sleep
Sleep deprivation is believed to cause weight gain, too. Multiple researches have found that chronic sleep deprivation can cause a sudden drop in weight. Quality nighttime sleep is critical for healthy muscle growth. Get 6 to 8 hours of quality nighttime sleep if you want to gain weight fast without doing anything.
10.Keep your stress levels at bay
Stress is the main culprit for a growing number of serious illnesses and disorders. It can also be the reason for your rapid weight drop. If you’ve noticed that you lose weight when you’re stressed out, it’s time to take a full control over your stress and don’t let it affect your weight.
The statistics show that smokers tend to be slim and trim and it can lead to a serious weight loss. The same goes for alcohol. Many underweight people desperately start drinking beer, believing the yeast found in it will promote weight gain.
Although it drinking beer can help with gain weight, this habit can become permanent and you can end up being an alcohol addict. Not to mention that you might have problems with kidneys.
The key to putting on weight is doing it in a healthy way. The last thing you want to deal when you reach your ideal weight is a bunch of illnesses and conditions that might require special medical treatment. Gain your weight smartly and safely!