PLOT TWIST: How to GAIN Weight
You may be confused about the title of this blog because who wants to gain weight right!? Well, there are people who may be naturally skinny and want to add on some muscle mass, or there’s people who have been through unhealthy relationships with food and lost too much weight and are now looking to add back on a few pounds. Also, some people may be overcoming an illness and need to get back to an ideal weight. No matter what the reasoning is, here are some helpful tips for you to gain weight in a HEALTHY way.
But first, before I go any further …
When I say gain weight in a HEALTHY way, it DOESN’T mean you should go eat fast food like crazy and have a YOLO meal all day every day. There are ways to gain weight while optimizing health. You need nutrients to give your body what it needs to GROW.
I want you to record WHAT you eat, WHEN you eat and HOW you feel. Recording what you’re eating will help you identify where you can improve your eating habits and potentially add more to your meals and snacks. You can keep a food diary in an organized fashion with the Blogilates Fit Journal or in an app like MyFitnessPal. You may not realize how LITTLE food you’re eating and it can be a “wake-up call” to simply eat better or more. Also, recording when you eat, can help you add snacks into your day if needed. You may also notice patterns forming from when you eat and how you feel. If you notice that you get very tired and sluggish mid-afternoon, and you didn’t eat very much for lunch, then this would be a good opportunity to add a well-balanced lunch and mid-afternoon snack into your day. You don’t have to keep a food diary forever, but do this for a week or 2 to notice patterns in your eating habits. Then you can make changes.
2. Eat Nutrient Dense Foods
You may not realize it, but your diet may consist of food that simply has calories, but not much nutritional value to it. Instead, nutrient-dense foods have a lot of nutrients for their calorie content. This includes vitamins, minerals, complex carbs, lean proteins and healthy fats. Examples of nutrient-dense foods are whole-grains, lean proteins, dairy products, nuts and seeds. In comparison, less nutrient-dense foods are like rice cake, crackers, cookies, soda and juice. Those foods may taste good and give you some energy, but they aren’t really adding anything to support a healthy weight gain. Think about food quality instead of low-calorie snacks.
3. Eat Enough Protein
Eating an adequate amount of protein will help support your muscle mass and growth – and that is one thing that you do NOT want to deteriorate! Also, if you’re active then you REALLY need to ensure you meet your protein requirements. You don’t want to burn protein calories because you want the protein to support your cells, muscles and growth. Most people aren’t aware of how much protein they need. A general recommendation is between 0.8g-1g of protein per pound of body weight. So if you weigh 130lbs you should have about 104 to 130g of protein each day. Stick with the healthiest protein choices such as lean meats, non-fat yogurts, cottage cheese, and fish. Beans, tofu, tempeh and legumes are also high in protein if you don’t eat meat!
4. Drink smoothies and shakes!
Meal replacement shakes are a great way to add in nutrient dense calories without overstuffing your belly. Make sure that the shake mix you choose has healthy carbs, fats, fiber and protein in it with not too much added sugar. You want to make sure that you are FULL before you next meal. So, look for shakes that have at least 325-400 calories with 15-25 g of protein, 5 g of fiber and 10-13 g of healthy fat.
5. Add Extras
If you don’t want to increase your portions of certain foods, instead you can add healthy toppings to your snacks and meals. Try adding nut butters to smoothies, nuts/seeds to yogurt, oatmeal, or cereal. Perhaps more cheese, avocados, and protein to salads. All these small additions will help you increase your calorie intake while adding some taste and nutrition to your food as well!
6. Exercise for your Goals
Gaining weight doesn’t mean you have to stop all exercise. Instead, exercise for YOUR personal goals. This means cutting back on cardio and doing more strength training to build up your muscle mass. Exercise can also help stimulate your appetite, which will also help you increase your intake. Remember that when you add strength training to your routine and you’re building muscle, your body naturally needs more fuel to support itself – therefore eating enough is essential. So, more resistance training, less cardio and you’ll see that healthy lean muscle start to form!
7. Be Patient and Set Reasonable Goals
Gaining weight is much the same as losing weight in the sense that it shouldn’t be rushed and it won’t happen over night. Did you know that one pound of fat is eating an EXTRA 3,500 calories a day ON TOP of what you already need to eat. Therefore, gaining is still a process. But if you’re someone who’s been restricting food severely you may gain weight quicker – and that’s okay! Remember that gaining weight isn’t always a BAD thing. You’ll know if you’re reaching a healthier weight if you start feeling better, have increased energy and don’t feel as tired and irritable throughout your day. Focus on you and trust the process.
Weight Gain Journeys
Here are some POPsters who have gone through some healthy weight gaining journeys!
Isabelle (@thefitbelle) was less than 90lbs and now she’s around 118lb! After a year of changing her lifestyle, she was able to make better eating and exercise habits. She found happiness and is full of much more energy than she was before! We are so happy with her results and think she looks BEAUTIFUL!
Cynthia (@cynthiatmore) proves that the scale DOESN’T matter. She weighs less in the first pic because she was obsessed with seeing a low number on the scale, yet she didn’t have any muscle mass. Once she started focusing on a balanced lifestyle, eating more and exercising for her goals, her body thanked her for it. She’s looking healthy and STRONG!