How To Gain Weight The Healthy Way
Weight is a sensitive subject, for the most part anyway. Some of us spend our lives trying different techniques and diets to lose the extra pounds while others eat their way through hearty meals in an effort to put more weight onto their bodies. If you find yourself in the same situation as the latter, this article could be of some good help to you.
Perhaps your doctor has asked you to gain a few pounds for health reasons or maybe you are a tad tired of your bony body structure and would like some extra padding. Whatever your reason for wanting to gain weight, what’s important is that you do it the right way with the right foods. We’re here to advise you on how to gain weight the healthy way.
Keep A Food Diary
It’s a good idea to start a food diary before you begin the process of changing your eating habits. Knowing your eating patterns and what food you have been eating in the past will help you to determine the route forward. So, for the first two to three weeks, keep a record or a journal of what you ate and when you ate it. You can even go as far as stating why you ate what you did, that is; were you simply just hungry, were you feeling emotional, light-headed or perhaps you were just really craving a certain food type.
Once you have kept your diary for a few weeks, you will soon be able to learn about your eating habits and you will be able to identify places where you can add calories. To make this process a tad easier for you, there are many online tools and mobile applications which can be downloaded to help you to record and track your dietary habits simply by inputting your data. These tools are also quite helpful in that they make eating suggestions and also track your weight progress for you. While some might say that keeping a diary of what you eat is going a bit overboard, if you are serious about gaining weight then every step counts.
Count Your Calories
Figuring out how to gain weight can be as easy as simply counting your calories and making sure you eat a sufficient amount each day. You cannot determine how many calories you should be consuming on your own, however. To gain weight healthily you need to consult a doctor or a nutritionist who will be able to accurately advise you on how many calories you should consume in a day to gain your goal weight over a certain period of time.
A nutritionist would also be able to tell you your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). Your BMR is the number of calories your body burns while you are resting. Knowing this number will help you to determine how many calories you should consume in a given day so that you can gain weight even though your body uses a lot of the calories to burn energy. Believe it or not, but our bodies can burn a lot of energy while we sleep and some burn this energy faster or to a greater extent than others.
Choose Quality Over Quantity
Just because you are trying to increase your calorie intake in an effort to improve our weight gain, it does not mean that you need to go overboard and eat huge plates of food every day. You simply need to know how to eat smart by choosing foods rich in good fats and abundant in calories.
If you start looking into it, you’ll find that there is, in fact, a huge selection of healthy foods to gain weight with, all of which promote healthy fat and muscle mass instead of fats that could possibly lead to disease. These nourishing fats tend to more often come from natural food sources like your nuts, dairy, fish, eggs, avocados, seeds, and olive oil, to name but a few. Many of these food sources are extremely high in fat and you would be surprised at how many calories you can pick up by simply eating a handful of quality nuts.
Instead of sticking to three large meals a day, spread your meals so that you eat at least five portions of food throughout a span of twelve hours. This way each portion will add up to more than what you would have eaten if you had stuck to breakfast, lunch and dinner only. While it might be difficult to get onto the swing of eating every few hours at first, you will eventually work yourself into a routine where your schedule includes meal “pit stops”.
It is also important that you try not to skip any of your main meals, especially breakfast and dinner. While increasing your calorie intake may make you feel like you are constantly full, rather substitute a meal with a light salad or a handful of nuts than omitting the meal altogether. Eating often might take some getting used to and won’t happen overnight, but you are going to have to learn how to eat more if you want to gain more.
Know Your Snacks
If you want to know how to gain weight fast, then you might want to pay attention to your snacking habits. Apart from our main meals, snacking is the best way to put on those extra kilograms. While a packet of crisps and a chocolate shake might be a tasty and convenient treat that includes a huge number of calories, these types of foods tend to be full of processed fats, sugars, and other nasties.
The snacks you want to be nibbling on should instead include calorie-dense options like nuts, cheese, full-fat yogurts, whole-grain bread, avocados, dried fruits, and even seeds. If you are looking for a food source that can easily fit into your pocket, glove compartment or handbag, then protein bars make excellent weight gaining snacks which can be munched on while you are on the go. Not only are these bars usually very tasty, but they also contain a large number of proteins which will encourage your muscles to grow. Building muscle mass is just another way to make you on the bulkier side.
Drink Your Way to Extra Weight
If you’ve grown weary of grinding and chewing your way through all the additional food you are eating while on your journey to gaining weight, another option is to drink your calories. What you can do is supplement sodas and coffee with drinks that contain healthy fats, like smoothies, healthy shakes, and other liquid meal replacements. Please don’t omit your water intake, however, because you still need a sufficient amount of pure H20 to keep your body functioning well.
Liquids don’t fill you up as quickly as solid foods do. This means that you can include more calories in one drink than you would in a meal without feeling overly stuffed and bloated afterward. There are also so many ways to make a smoothie or a shake, so another perk will be that you will not tire of the different flavours and types of meal replacement beverages you can make. From fruit smoothies to nutritional protein powders to add to shakes, drinking your calories is an ideal way to put on the pounds while staying refreshed and healthy at the same time.
Eat Before Bedtime
While we sleep our bodies continue to work hard in maintaining their biological structures. This is the time when we heal, repair and regenerate. Eating a snack or a small meal just before bedtime is one of the most ideal ways to gain weight without putting too much strain on one’s body. This is because the food you have just eaten will give your body enough calories to burn as you dose while still having enough left over to store as fat. It’s during these times that you really can give in to the indulgence of midnight snacking!
Of course, you want to keep these midnight snacks and weight gain foods on the healthy side, especially since processed foods that contain trans fats tend to leave you feeling slightly uncomfortable and might interrupt your sleeping patterns. Think more in the lines of a whole-grain pasta salad with a balsamic dressing topped with nuts. Yum!
Change Your Exercise Routine
Just because you are trying to gain weight, it does not mean that you should put exercising on the back burner. In fact, you should definitely be exercising to maintain your health while building muscle mass in all the right places. This simply means that you should focus more on strength training while reducing cardio workouts (do not omit cardio exercises altogether as it’s still important to get your heart pumping).
It’s also very important to remember that you should eat high-protein foods within 45 minutes after exercising. Protein sources like chicken, eggs, lentils, and nuts are excellent for helping to repair muscles after a strenuous workout while ensuring that they are growing healthy and larger by the day. If eating a protein-filled meal straight after a workout is difficult to fit into your schedule, snacking on a protein bar will do the trick!
Set Realistic Goals
When figuring out how to gain weight healthy, it’s important that you realise that it’s not something that is going to happen overnight. Just like losing weight, putting weight on is a long process that can take months or even years before goal weights are reached. And yes, there are ways to put weight on within weeks, but not all of these methods are good for you. Opting for methods that offer fast results but cheat the system could mean that you end up with other health issues, often more serious ones at that.
Just remember that patience and determination are key factors when you embark on this journey. The rate at which an individual needs to gain weight will also largely depend on their health goals and their current health situation. A doctor or nutritionist should be consulted to help establish a reasonable goal weight which can be achieved within a realistic time-frame. Once you have reached your goal you should start to feel more energized, your hunger patterns will have stabilized and you’ll simply feel healthier overall.
Join Support Groups
Like with everything we hope to achieve in life, we are more likely to enjoy the journey and reach our goals if we are surrounded by people who support us. Gaining weight is not just about increasing your calorie intake, there is also a psychology behind it. You should be able to draw encouragement from those around you and be respected for your decision or the path you are on.
If you battle to confide in family and friends, however, there are many support groups which you can join. These organisations are usually well established within most communities or you could also seek out an online community if this is more convenient for you. Not only is it important that you have people to confide in and gain encouragement from, it is also good to be surrounded by individuals who are in the same boat as you and who you can relate too.
Whatever the reasoning behind why you need or want to gain weight, you have to realise that the process is not as simple as stuffing yourself with cheeseburgers and ice cream (although you can indulge yourself on the odd occasion). There’s a science to gaining weight. Think of the saying “you are what you eat” for instance. If you fill your gut with junk food, you are very likely to feel rotten, tired and generally unhappy. If you eat healthy foods to gain weight, however, you will be giving your body the nutrients it needs to construct new cells, which is the fuel that you need to keep going.