Do you struggle with healthy weight gain? If you’re battling with weight gain, don’t beat yourself up. Everyone is struggling with one or a few things in life. I’ve also struggled with healthy weight gain. Give yourself credit for the things you’ve done well and bring that confidence into your journey.
1. Reasons to Get A Healthy Weight Gain
Many factors may influence your desire to gain weight. The most common factor being underlying health condition. When you become ill, your body rapidly loses weight. It is only natural for you to want to gain back this weight. Here are other factors are;
- Aesthetic; you want to fit in your dresses and jeans.
- Sports; some sports like hockey and football require you to put on weight.
- Eating disorder; bulimia, anorexia, and pica suppresses your appetite, making you lose weight.
- Infections: some viral infections can lead to weight loss.
- Stress; People respond differently to stress and anxiety. Some will lose weight, while others will gain.
2. Reasons you’re Not Gaining Weight
Despite consuming a lot of food, many people still struggle with healthy weight gain. Here are reasons you do not see any positive results;
- Overestimating your calorie amount: eating a lot of food should help weight gain. However, ensure that you are consuming high-calorie foods that are nutritious and filling.
- Underestimating your calorie amount: eating low-calorie food doesn’t facilitate weight gain. Your daily activities’ engagement should help you determine your calorie consumption.
- Fast Metabolism: it means that your body processes food fast. It would be best if you ate more calories for you to gain weight.
- Failure to track progress: you track your progress and fall off on the way.
- Wrong exercises: doing cardio won’t help you gain weight. Instead, you keep burning more calories.
3. Understand Your Body Type
We are all unique. Therefore, what works for your friend might not work for you. Understanding your body type helps you answer these questions. How fast is your metabolism rate? How difficult is it for you to add and maintain a healthy weight? How many calories should you consume?
- Ectomorph: you are long, thin, and skinny. Your shoulders are narrower than hips, and you’ve a small bone. However, you hardly gain weight because of your fast metabolism. The good news is you can handle more carbohydrates.
- Mesomorph: you have a fabulous physique, a thin waist and broader shoulders. With a little exercise and healthy diet tips, your body quickly gains muscles and weight. To maintain this physique, you need to follow a strict workout and diet routine.
- Endomorph: your born structure is large with broad shoulders. It is difficult for you to maintain a lean physique because you carry weight around your belly.
However, lifestyle changes and diet habits can change your body type, such that you are more of a hybrid. The hybrids are;
- Ecto-mesomorphs: your body is tall and lean with more muscle mass than a true ectomorph.
- Meso-endomorphs: you’re healthy, but your muscles aren’t well defined.
- Ecto-Endomorphs: you’re skinny, fat and thin. You’ve gained weight because of a lack of exercise and a low diet.
If you can’t identify your body type, think of the late teen and early twenties. What did you look like? It can give you a clue of your body type.
Once you’ve identified your body type, you can identify what food to eat. Most of your foods consume should be nutrient-dense sources of carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats.
4. Understand Your Macros and Micros for Weight Gain
Macronutrients (macros) fuels your body with energy or calories. Your body needs them in large quantities to perform its function. Macros comprise fats, carbohydrates and proteins. Micronutrients (micros) comprises minerals and vitamins. They’re labeled “micros” because the body requires them in a small quantity. Micros are useful because they boost immunity and promote healthy bones.
You need to understand both macros and micros and how they contribute to your healthy weight gain journey.
Carbohydrates are the primary source of your body energy to perform its functions and physical activities. Carbohydrates are classified into simple carbs and complex carbs. Simple carbs are easily digestible sugars, fruits and vegetables.On the other hand, complex carbs take longer to digest and they include legumes, whole grains and starchy vegetables.
Healthy carbohydrates are calorie dense, hence promote weight gain. Additionally, they provide you with vitamins, fiber, and minerals. For instance, foods such as quinoa and oats are better than sodas and candy.
Proteins are molecules that your body uses to build and repair worn-out tissues. They are also an essential nutrient for weight gain because they make up muscles. Without them, most of the extra calories you consume will turn into fats. However, your body doesn’t store protein and depends on the food you eat. Proteins are classified into;
Complete proteins give your body with all amino acids. The common source of complete proteins is poultry, seafood, eggs, milk and meat.
Incomplete proteins have amino acids, but not all. Many plant-based proteins, most grains, nuts and seeds, comprise incomplete proteins.
Harvard Health School recommends 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of your body weight. You can go beyond this if your calorie consumption is high. However, keep in mind that proteins are high-filling. And may reduce your hunger, making it difficult for you to consume more calories.
Not all fat is unhealthy. Fats provide your body energy in times of starvation or caloric deprivation. Fats are the most calorie-dense food on the planet, contributing to weight gain. A gram of fat provides your body with nine calories.
Fats are classified into saturated and unsaturated fats. Saturated fats solidify at room temperature. Animal products, certain plant oils and dairy products contain saturated fats. Unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature. Nuts, plant oils, oily fish and avocados contain unsaturated fats.
While fat is necessary for a healthy weight gain, it can contribute to obesity. Studies suggest saturated fat consumed in large quantities can cause heart diseases. Besides, the American Heart Association recommends 20% to 30% of your calories should be from fat. Thus, consume fat in moderation. Your diet should compromise unsaturated fats because they are heart healthy.
5. Incorporate Exercise to Build Muscles
It is crucial to include exercises in your program because it helps you build up muscles. Exercise 3 to 4 times a week, focusing on heavy lifts while increasing weight.
- Weight Lifting for Healthy Weight gain
Compound exercises such as squats, deadlifts, hip thrusts and pull-ups are excellent for building muscles. If you don’t enjoy weighted gym workouts, try bodyweight exercises at home. However, the results won’t be as good as the weighted one.
Practising yoga postures regularly support weight gain. They aid digestion, which consequently increases your food intake. Additionally, yoga brings your metabolic rate to an optimum level.
Exercising also induces anger, which boosts appetite, making you consume a lot of food. Therefore, it is advisable to eat before and after exercise.
6. Avoid junk Foods for Healthy Weight Gain
Junk foods are foods high in sugar, fats and calories. They lack essential nutrients such as minerals, vitamins, and fiber. Junk foods contribute to weight gain, but their consumption is not healthy. Continuous consumption of junk foods puts your health at risk. You can suffer from diabetes, obesity, and related chronic disease.
Junk foods can be addictive because they are readily available. Replace junk foods with healthier choices such as fruits, nuts and vegetables. A healthy diet adds nutrients to your body while gaining weight. Applying minor changes over time helps you see positive results.
7. Track Your Progress
If you are putting in the effort to gain weight, you owe it to yourself to track your progress. Without accurate tracking data, you won’t know if you are making progress.
Calculating your macros needs enables you to beat the weight gain battle. You can use online macro calculators to calculate your macro needs. Follow these manual steps to resolve your macros needs;
- Calculate your basal metabolic rate: BMR is calculated based on height, age, sex and weight. It is used to determine how much energy your body uses at rest.
- Adjust BMR by your activity level: multiply BMR by your activity factor to increase your calories based on your activity.
- Adjust based on weight goals: if your goal to gain weight, increase the number of calories by 5-15%.
- Determine your macros: your protein intake should be between 0.8-1.0 grams per kilogram of bodyweight. Your fat intake should be between 0.25-0.4 grams per kilogram of your body weight. All the remaining calories contribute to carbohydrates.
Tracking macros ensure you meet your daily diet consumption. For you to see a change, you need to in everything you eat and drink. Besides, these apps help you track the macros; MyFitnessPal, My Macros and Cronometer.
Weight gain is a lifetime journey; it is not a sprint but a marathon. You can’t expect to change your body overnight. Yes! I understand the journey can get challenging and complex, but don’t lose your hope. If you follow all the steps outlined in this post, you can achieve healthy weight gain. . However, it would be best if you were consistent with your diet and workout.