5 Ways to Put on Pounds If You’re Underweight

In today’s society, obesity is a major problem and many people are trying to find ways to lose weight. However, there are other people who have the opposite problem. They are struggling just as hard to gain weight as those who are struggling to lose it. Many people are conscious of their appearance and are self-conscious about looking “skinny” or malnourished.

What causes a person to be underweight?
There are many reasons why a person might have trouble maintaining their weight. Jackson Siegelbaum Gastroenterology cites several of the more common reasons for this, including illness, eating disorders, gastrointestinal problems, and even mental health issues like depression. Some people have metabolic disorders which might also contribute to the problem. Underweight problems may run in your family as well.

The body needs an adequate caloric intake in order to maintain proper health. If you don’t exceed this minimal amount of calories each day you will not gain weight. Being underweight does cause problems in your overall health. According to Web MD, persons who are consistently below their normal weight have weak immune systems, hormonal problems, infections, problems with delayed healing, osteoporosis, and other health issues.

It is important to first know what your normal weight should be for your age and sex. Your doctor can tell you what your ideal weight should be. It is also important to check your Body Mass Index, also called the BMI. The BMI calculation uses your height and weight to determine how much body fat you have. Your BMI should be on the average between 20 and 25. If it is below that, you are underweight. The National Heart and Lung Institute is has a BMI calculator that you can downloaded to your iPod. These calculators are also available for Android devices or can just be calculated directly online.

One problem people have when they are underweight is a lack of consistent desire to make a change. We tend to wax and wane; some days we want to gain weight, and other days we don’t. If you’re serious about making a change, approach it like a job. Make a plan. Set a goal for yourself and stick to it until you reach your goal. If you are in reasonably good health overall but just want to add a few more pounds, here are five things you can do to help put on more weight.

1) Increase your calorie count
You can gain weight most simply by adding to your daily caloric intake. The average adult should take in approximately 2000 to 2200 calories per day. Adding approximately 500 calories per day to what you’re already eating should help put on pounds. This can be accomplished by adding more foods or by eating larger portions.

2) Watch what you’re eating
Be sure you’re eating food that will be healthy for you. Many people think that eating excessive fatty foods and foods loaded with sugar is the best way to make themselves fat. Even though most “junk foods” have calories, they can also cause you to be sick. Your goal should be to stay as healthy as possible during the weight-gain process. Eat fruits, vegetables, protein foods and whole grain foods. If you are a meat eater, choose poultry and fish.

3) Eat regularly
It is important that you eat on a regular schedule. Skipping meals won’t help you gain weight. Wake up early enough to get a good breakfast, as this is one meal that many people tend to miss. In addition to eating well balanced meals, you might want to add a snack or two throughout the day, but once again, be sure it’s a healthy snack such as fresh fruit or whole grain snacks.

4) Exercise regularly
It is a rather interesting fact, but whether you are trying to gain or lose weight, you need to maintain a regular exercise program. Exercise is needed to help improve circulation and maintain good muscle tone as you add the pounds. Remember, however, that as you exercise, you are also burning calories, especially if you exercise vigorously, so you will need to replace the calories you burn.

5) Add nuts and oils to your diet
Adding nuts and seeds to your diet is a good way to increase your fat intake if you are underweight. The Global Healing Center reminds us that nuts such as walnuts, pecans, and almonds contain high amounts of monounsaturated fats which are healthy for you. Cook your foods with olive oil, peanut oil or canola oil, all of which are lower in saturated fats.

In conclusion, it is possible to add the extra pounds you want if you watch your caloric intake and be diligent in eating enough of the proper foods. If you continue to be too thin, however, see your doctor, as there may be other underlying causes for your thinness.
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Sources:
Jackson Seigelbaum Gastroenterology: “Increasing Calories”
Web MD: “Healthy ways to gain weight”
The Global Healing Center: “Top 5 Healthiest Nuts”
Today’s Dietician: “Underweight: a heavy concern”