While most people worry about losing weight, there’s a small group of people trying to gain weight.
Majority of the American population are either obese or overweight (a).
However, a small section of the population is underweight (b).
People who are underweight can develop health issues just like those that are overweight.
But it is not only clinically underweight people that want to gain weight. Some people just don’t like that they look skinny and, therefore, want to gain some muscle weight to improve their physique.
For everyone struggling to put on a few extra pounds, here is an overview of a few safe, easy and healthy ways to gain weight fast.
What Does it mean to be “Underweight?”
Technically, a person is underweight when they have a body mass index (BMI) of 18.5 and below. Health experts believe that anything below this figure is unhealthy.
A person with a BMI between 25 and 24.99 is said to be overweight, and above 30 is said to be obese.
You can visit this page to calculate your BMI.
However, BMI is not a very accurate measure because it ignores other factors like muscle mass and only considers weight and height.
The truth is, not every person considered to underweight by the BMI scale is unhealthy. Some people are just naturally skinny but are very healthy.
The issue of underweight is more prevalent in women than in men. About 2.4% of 20 years and over women are underweight, and 1% of men of similar age are underweight in the United States (b).
Conclusion: The BMI scale classifies anyone with a BMI of 18.5 and below as underweight. The issue is much more prevalent in women than men.
What Are The Negative Health Effects of Being Underweight?
At present, the world is more concerned about the health problems of obesity than those of being underweight.
However, underweight people also experience bad health just like obese people. Researchers claim that you are about 140% more likely to die early from being underweight if you are a man, and 100% more likely if you are a woman (c).
This same study found that your risk of early death due to obesity is only about 50% higher. This shows that being underweight is a far more serious issue than being obese (c).
In a different study, researchers found that men were more likely to experience early death than women, which shows that being underweight is much more serious in men than women (d).
You can experience a whole host of health issues when you are underweight. It increases your risk of osteoporosis, impairs your immune system, causes fertility issues and increases your risk of infections (e, f, g).
Conclusion: There are many health problems associated with being underweight, it may even be unhealthier than being obese. You are at a greater risk of getting infections, osteoporosis, early death, and fertility issues if you are underweight (j).
What Causes People to Be Underweight?
Nutrition is not the only cause of underweight. Many medical conditions can also cause people to lose too much weight.
Here are a few causes of unhealthy weight loss:
- Diabetes: If you have diabetes (particularly type 1) and don’t manage it properly, it can lead to unhealthy weight loss and make you underweight.
- Eating disorders: There are many eating disorders, such as anorexia, which can cause serious weight loss
- Cancer: A lot of cancer patients can lose serious weight quickly.
- Celiac disease: This condition is a severe form of gluten intolerance. It can cause severe weight loss and most people with this condition don’t even know they have it (k).
- Thyroid issues: Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) can raise metabolism and make the body lose weight.
- Infections: Some bacterial and viral infections can cause severe weight loss and make you very thin. An example is HIV/AIDS.
Always consult your doctor if you are underweight because you may be suffering from a medical condition.
This may be the case if you notice you are losing a lot of weight even though you are not trying to lose weight.
Conclusion: There are many factors that can cause someone to become underweight. Some of these are medical. You should consult your doctor if you start losing excessive weight.
How to gain weight fast and healthily
There are two ways to gain weight. You either increase muscle mass or gain weight by putting on fat.
Obviously, we don’t want the second option. You can easily gain weight by gorging on loads of pizza and soda drinks, but this will destroy your health.
For underweight people, the best way to gain weight is to gain a healthy balance of muscle mass and fat under the skin. You don’t want to gain belly fat, which is very bad for your health.
Conditions like heart disease and type 2 diabetes are not reserved for obese people only. You can be of normal weight and still contract these illnesses and other health issues (l).
You should, therefore, eat healthy foods and live a healthy lifestyle in your quest to gain weight.
Follow the tips below to gain weight fast without putting your health at risk.
Conclusion: Just because you want to gain weight does not mean you should eat junk food. You need to do it in a safe and healthy way to avoid putting your health at risk.
Increase your net calorie intake
This simply means that you should consume more calories than your body uses. This creates a positive net calorie.
This is the fundamental way you gain weight. You simply won’t gain weight without creating a calorie surplus (that is eating more calories than you burn).
I know this is simply telling someone to eat more food, but without doing this, you won’t achieve your goals.
You can find out how many calories you need to gain weight using this accurate calorie calculator.
You’ll gain weight slowly if you consume about 300 to 500 more calories than your body uses.
You’ll gain weight fast when you consume about 700 to 1000 calories more than your body uses.
However, you should know that these figures are purely estimates. Many factors affect how many calories you need to gain weight.
You can gain weight without counting calories. However, I recommend that you do this for the first few days of your journey so that you’ll have a big picture of how many calories you eat. This can help you better structure your meals to meet your goals.
Conclusion: There is no way you can gain weight without creating a calorie surplus. Create a surplus of about 300 to 500 calories to gain weight slowly, and about 700 to 1,000 calories to gain weight fast.
Increase Your Protein Intake Significantly
Protein is essential if you want to gain healthy weight. It is the building block of muscles.
Without increasing your protein intake, most of the weight you’ll gain will be fat.
Research shows that you can build muscle weight by significantly increasing the amount of protein in your meals (m).
Add about 1.5 to 2.2 grams of protein to your meals per 1 kilogram of body weight, for a healthy weight gain. If you weigh 50 kg, you should aim to add about 110 grams of protein to your meal.
Foods such as eggs, meats, legumes, fish, nuts and dairy products are a few high protein foods you can add to your meals.
Conclusion: Protein is the building block of muscle. If you want to gain muscle weight, you must increase the amount of protein in your diets.
Eat 3 main meals, high in carbs and fat, per day
A low-carb and low-fat diet is good when you want to lose weight.
It should, therefore, make sense to eat meals high in carbs and fat if you want to gain weight.
A low-carb or low-fat diet will reduce your calorie intake, which is bad for weight gain.
You should eat plenty of high-carb and high-fat foods if you want to gain weight. You should, however, aim to get a good balance of carbs, protein, and fats in your meals.
You should also avoid skipping meals. This is known as intermittent fasting. It is good if you want to lose weight, but will make it more difficult to reach your weight gain goals.
You should aim for 3 main meals each day. You can also eat high energy-dense snacks between meals.
Conclusion: Avoid skipping meals and eat high-carb and high-fat foods when you want to gain weight.
Increase your intake of Energy-Dense Foods and add Spices, Sauces, and Condiments.
Eating whole, unprocessed foods is important. However, these kinds of food are incredibly feeling, which make it hard for you to eat the number of calories you need for weight gain.
Spices, condiments, and sauces do not contain many calories themselves. However, they make food tastier, helping you eat more of it.
You should eat more energy-dense foods as well. These foods pack loads of calories per weight than most other foods.
A few energy-dense foods include the following:
- Nuts like peanuts, almonds, macadamia nuts, and walnuts
- High-fat dairy foods like cheese, full-fat yogurt, cream and whole milk.
- Dried fruits like dates, raisins and prunes are energy-dense foods.
- Fats and Oils: avocado oil, coconut oil, and extra virgin olive oil are healthy, energy-dense oils.
- Meats like beef, chicken, lamb, and pork are good energy-dense foods.
- Whole grains like oats, brown rice, and quinoa.
- Root tubers like sweet potatoes, white potatoes, and yams
- Other energy-dense foods include avocados, dark chocolate, peanut butter, granola, coconut milk and trail mixes.
A lot of the foods mentioned above makes you feel full fast. You may need to keep eating even when you feel full to get the calories you need.
Vegetables are high in fiber and fill you up fast. If you want to gain weight, you should lower your vegetable intake and replace them with energy dense foods.
Whole fruits are alright to eat, but you should consume fruits that don’t require a lot of chewing, such as bananas.
Conclusion: Condiments, spices, and sauces can make food taste delicious and make you eat more of it. Add energy-dense foods to your diet.
Weightlifting helps you gain weight by increasing muscle mass. Weightlifting redirects excess calories to build muscles rather than build fats.
It is best to start lifting weight in the gym. Perform 2 to 4 weightlifting sessions per week. Start small and increase the weight you lift over time. The heavier the weight you lift, the more muscle mass you gain.
If you find it difficult to lift weights or you are simply not fit, you should think about getting a personal trainer to help you.
You may also want to talk to your doctor before you start lifting weights.
Cardio workouts help you lose weight so you ought to avoid it while trying to gain weight and focus on weightlifting.
However, a little bit of cardio is fine to keep you fit and get you in shape. Just don’t do so much of it that it ends up burning your calorie surplus.
Conclusion: It is important to lift weight if you want to gain healthy weight. It builds muscle mass and burns fat.
10 Tips To Help You Gain Weight Fast
A combination of strength training and high-calorie diets are fundamental to weight gain.
However, there are many other things you can do to help you gain weight.
Follow the 10 tips below to gain weight:
- Avoid drinking water before eating: This fills you up and make you eat fewer calories, which is not what you want.
- Eat more frequently: If you are struggling to put on a few extra pounds, a good idea is to add more meals to your day. You can eat more snacks and eat before going to bed
- Give weight gaining shakes a try: You can also try specialty shakes designed to help you gain weight. These shakes are usually packed with healthy calories.
- Drink Milk: Drink whole milk when you feel thirsty. This is an opportunity to consume more calories and protein.
- Eat on bigger plates: Big plates make your meal seem small, which can make you eat all of it. On the other hand, smaller plates make your meals appear to be larger than they are.
- Drink your coffee with cream to get calories from drinking coffee.
- Take muscle building supplements like creatine monohydrate. It can help you gain a few pounds of muscle mass.
- Sleep well. Proper sleep is essential for the growth of muscles.
- Eat your vegetables last: When eating a meal, you should eat everything first, especially proteins, before moving on to your veggies. You don’t want to feel full and leave the important weight gain nutrients behind.
- Avoid smoking: Some smokers find it difficult to gain weight.
Conclusion: There are many other things you can do to gain weight besides weight lifting and eating high-protein, high-carbs, and high-fat foods. Combine your efforts with the tips above to help you gain more weight.
You must be consistent if you want to gain weight because it can be difficult to gain weight.
Some people find it extremely difficult to gain weight and give up easily on their efforts.
This is because your body feels comfortable maintaining a setting setpoint of weight.
If you try to lose weight (go below your setpoint) or gain weight (go above your setpoint), your body tries to resist this change and try to adjust your metabolic processes to maintain your weight.
These changes can make you feel full and prevent you from eating extra calories. In some cases, you’ll have to force yourself to overcome this resistance by eating more food even when you feel satisfied.
You may want to gain weight fast, but it ‘s hard to do that without it being an unhealthy weight. You’ll have to be patient and consistent in your efforts to gain weight.