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How to Gain Weight

If you feel like you’re a little underweight, either for personal reasons or for professional ones, there are healthy ways to gain a few pounds, like by gaining muscle instead of fat, for example. 5-Minute Crafts put together some tips to gain weight in a safe way.

⚠️ Always make sure to make an appointment with your doctor before changing your diet or if you’re not feeling well.

1. Find out what caused you to become underweight.

Before gaining weight, you might want to pay a visit to a doctor. That’s a good thing to do even if you’re feeling fine, just to check that changing your diet won’t carry out any issues in the future. On the other hand, if you suspect you have an underlying issue, it’s important to find out what’s causing you to be underweight, especially if you’re losing weight very quickly. Eating disorders, thyroid problems, celiac disease, diabetes, cancer, and certain infections can be the cause of rapid weight loss.

2. Create a calorie surplus

Eating more calories than your body burns is clearly the most important thing you can do to gain weight quickly. You can use a calorie calculator and a food energy converter to know more or less how many calories you should consume daily.

  • To gain weight slowly and steadily, aim for 300 to 500 calories more than you burn daily.
  • To gain weight fast, aim for around 700 to 1,000 calories more.

3. Start exercising.

All types of physical exercise can help you build more muscle, however, strength training can be particularly helpful. You can try going to the gym 2 to 4 times a week. Lift heavy weights and try to increase the weight and volume over time. However, don’t jump into it too fast if you’re out of shape. In that case, it’s better to get professional help. Overall, it’s a good idea to start with cardio and then slowly move on to weightlifing, for example. Exercise can also help you build up more of an appetite.

4. Eat at least 3 times a day.

Avoid letting your body go into intermittent fasting mode by eating at least 3 times a day and having the occasional snack. However, keep in mind that snacking, even when trying to gain weight, doesn’t mean that you should stop paying attention to your sugar and fat intake. On the contrary, healthy snacking is your best option to gain weight in a healthy way. Some examples of this can be bran muffins, yogurt, granola bars, nuts, and dried fruit.

  • Tip: If you’re struggling with a poor appetite, consider eating smaller meals throughout the day to increase your calorie intake.

5. Move on to an energy-dense, protein-centered diet.

A diet rich in protein, along with energy-dense foods (foods that contain a high calory-weight ratio), is the best way to gain weight in a healthy way because it increases your muscle mass and strength. However, keep in mind that meat isn’t the only food that is high in protein. Milk, rice, nuts and nut butters, dried fruit, whole-grain bread, tofu, legumes, and avocados can do the trick too. For example, you have, more or less, the same amount of protein in 100 g of steak than in 100 g of almonds and a slice of whole-wheat bread.

  • Note: Protein is also an ingredient that makes you feel fuller with less food. When transitioning to a diet rich in protein, you’ll have to evaluate how much protein you actually want to consume in order to find a good balance between quantity and protein. Eating too much protein can also be unhealthy.

6. Be patient.

Gaining weight isn’t something that you can do from one day to the next. Think about it more like a marathon instead of a sprint. Be patient and try not to force your body beyond its limits. In the end, consistency is key, both to gain weight and to lose weight.

Bonus: the no-gos

  • While many people recommend taking protein supplements, experts deem them mostly unnecessary and even dangerous at times. Always speak to a doctor before taking supplements.
  • Don’t stuff yourself with donuts and food that’s high in sugar.
  • Don’t drink water right before meals as it can make you feel fuller. The best way to keep yourself hydrated is to spread your water intake throughout the day to avoid weight fluctuations. Water doesn’t cause real weight gain.
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