Gain Weight the Healthy Way
World over obesity has been classified as a major problem but not much has been spoken about individuals struggling to gain weight. Being obese or underweight are two sides of the same coin as both result from an unbalanced diet. In medical terms, a person whose body mass index (BMI) is above 30 is considered obese and below 18.5 is considered underweight. While most people are well aware of harmful effects of being overweight, they simply overlook or are unaware of the health risks associated with being underweight.
The harmful effects of being underweight include impairment of immune function, increased susceptibility to infections. osteoporosis, fractures, fertility problems and dementia. It would not be wrong to say that being underweight is medically just as unhealthy as being obese. Hence, it is imperative for each individual to maintain a healthy body weight and lifestyle. Healthy body weight apart from reducing the susceptibility to various diseases, also translates into feeling more energetic and being able to do more activities.
Individuals more often than not associate being underweight with less than optimal food intake i.e. getting less energy via food or being over active. But weight gain is just as hard as losing weight. One of the first steps is to identify the underlying cause of being underweight i.e. it may be due to hypothyroidism which needs to be treated. Post understanding the underlying cause, one needs to list down the daily major activities and look into the calorie intake. This is what your nearby nutritionists can help you with. In this article I have tried to list down some generic diet and lifestyle tips which can be easily incorporated by anyone in his/ her daily routine.
Below are some easy, well established and effective tips to gain weight:
1. Consume more calories
As a rough estimate, if you wish to gain weight steadily, you should aim to eat 300-500 calories more than you burn each day. And if you wish to gain weight fast, you should aim to consume 700-1000 calories more than you burn. Further, you should be having at least 3 meals a day with the right combination of protein, carbs and fat in each meal.
2. Increase your sleep time
Your body rests and absorbs nutrients while spending minimum calories when you sleep. Hence, you should aim to get 8-9 hours of sleep each day to ensure all the calories consumed are stored in your body.
3. Have protein rich and energy dense diet
You need to make sure that you gain healthy amount of muscle mass and subcutaneous fat and not just unhealthy belly fat. As your muscles are made up of protein,you should aim to intake 1.5-2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. Protein rich foods include meats, fish, eggs, dairy products and whey protein (in case you are unable to include enough proteins in diet). Further, you should aim to include energy dense foods in your diet. Such foods include nuts, dried fruit, cream, potatoes, dark chocolate, avocados and peanut butter.
4. Hit the gym
While it may seem counter intuitive to burn your calories by hitting the gym, lifting weights at least 2-3 times a week will ensure that the excess calories result in muscle mass and not just body fat.
Apart from following above tips, you need to follow a diet plan that has been customised as per your dietary preferences, lifestyle, medical history, metabolism and body type. Meet your nearest nutritionist to get a customized diet plan. This along with continuous tracking of results will help you in achieving your ideal body weight in minimum time and in a sustainable manner.
Wish you all the best for your weight gain journey!
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