Obesity is catching up in a big way in India with approximately 40% of people, especially those that live in tier one and tier two cities, being obese. On the flip side, many people who are skinny and would like to find means through which they can increase their weight, which is an area of concern as being underweight can be just as bad for your health as being obese is. Also, many people are not clinically underweight, but they would like to gain some weight and muscle. It is better to stay away from supplements available on online stores as they contain steroids and other synthetic enzymes that burn your fat and convert it into energy by increasing the metabolic rate of your body. These pills and supplements are harmful to your health in the long run.
What is the meaning of being underweight?
If you have a body mass index of less than 18.5, you are underweight. This is less than the body mass required to sustain perfect health. You can use online calculators that help you determine whether you are underweight or not by filling in two fields, such as your height and weight. However, this system is not as reliable as you might think because it only takes into account height and weight, but does not consider muscle mass. If this is not enough, specific individuals are naturally very skinny but are at the same time healthy. If you fall into this category, it does not necessarily imply that you have a health-related problem. For the uninitiated, underweight problems are 2-3 times more common in females when compared to males.
Underweight health consequences
Underweight people are associated with 100% higher risk of early death in females and 140% in males. In stark contrast, obesity increases risk to health by just 50%, which shows that underweight people are more likely to suffer from health problems than their obese counterparts. Besides, being underweight further impairs your immune function, raising chances of infection. Some of the other factors that lead to weight loss include:
- Celiac disease
- Thyroid problems
- Eating disorders, and
It is best to consult a dietician if you start losing weight all of a sudden because it means that you have one of the above health-related problems.
Gaining weight the healthy way
You need to be very cautious while increasing weight. Eating junk food and drinking aerated drinks can boost your weight quickly, but they can also destroy your health simultaneously. It is preferable that you gain a balanced amount of subcutaneous fat and muscle mass instead of unhealthy belly fat. Keeping these facts in mind, it is extremely vital that you live a healthy lifestyle as well as eat healthy foods. Find below some of the simple methods you can employ to increase your weight.
Eating more calories: Your body burns calories and converts them into energy, which is used up every time you act. If you eat more calories than your body can burn, it remains in the body, and over time, gets converted to fat. You can seek the help of online calorie calculators to determine your calorie needs. A word of caution! Increase your weight slowly and steadily. Taking food that contains 250-500 additional calories that you burn every day is ideal. However, if you want to take a risk, double the intake of food to increase your additional calorie intake by 600-1,000 calories more than your maintenance level. As with obesity calculators, calorie calculators are not entirely reliable; therefore, you should weigh your body once a week to find out the increase in weight. If satisfied, follow the diet routine. Remember, you should be careful that you do not become obese. Therefore, stop the intake of additional food once you have achieved your weight target.
Eat a lot of protein
Protein helps you gain a healthy weight. Remember, the muscles of the human body are made out of protein, and if you do not take the required quantity of proteins, the additional calories might well end up as body fat. A high protein diet, during periods of overeating, converts a lot of the extra calories into muscle. On the flip side, too much protein reduces your appetite and hunger, making it tough to get a sufficient amount of calories. Those interested in increasing weight should take 1.4 to 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. If your calorie intake is extremely high, you can go above that level as well. Some of the high protein foods include nuts, legumes, dairy products, eggs, fish, and meats. To sum it up, the protein forms your muscle’s building blocks. Eating sufficient proteins is necessary to gain muscle weight rather than fat.
Take lots of carbohydrates
Many individuals make the mistake of restricting either fatty foods or carbohydrates when attempting to lose weight, which is not the right approach for those interested in increasing their body weight as this procedure makes it tougher to get enough calories. If gaining weight is your priority, eat lots of food, high in fat as well as high in carbs. The ideal meal should consist of lots of carbs, fats, and proteins. Never opt for intermittent fasting as this is good for health improvement and weight loss, but makes it tougher to eat the number of calories needed to gain weight. Therefore, ensure that you take a minimum of three meals every day and try to eat energy-rich snacks in between.
Use condiments, spices, and sauces
It is vital to eat whole and single-ingredient foods. The flip side is that these foods are typically more filling compared to processed food, which makes it tougher to get in a sufficient amount of calories. You can overcome this problem by eating lots of condiments, spices, and sauces. Also, try to emphasize energy-dense foods as much as possible, as such foods contain many calories in proportion to their weight. Some of the energy-dense foods for gaining weight include dried foods, nuts, oils and fats, high-fat dairy products, tubers, meat, peanut butter, avocados, as well as dark chocolates.
Following the above mentioned, dietary plans will ensure that you gain weight quickly and without hampering your health.