It is quite common to hear people worried about being overweight but there are a quite a few who struggle to reach an idle weight. People based on their BMI are classified under following categories – Underweight, Normal Weight, Overweight and Obese. While approx 2% of the population is believed to be underweight it is quite a challenge and certainly requires attention to stay healthy. In this article we will talk about being underweight, reasons and ways of gaining weight. Therefore let us jump on to how to gain weight safely.
Underweight are those people whose BMI is below 18.5. BMI is a common health indicator used to get fair idea about a persons health. Mostly young people between the age of 18 – 24 years and adults over the age of 60 years are affected by it. A person can be underweight due to their lifestyle choices or there could be underlying medical reasons that may be preventing a person from maintaining a healthy weight.
It is a good idea to consult the doctor and identify the root cause of being underweight.
Medical conditions leading to being Underweight
If you are Underweight you should discuss with your doctor to identify if it is due to lifestyle choices or underlying medical problem. Some of the medical conditions that lead to weight loss are –
- Eating disorders, such as anorexia
- Hyperthyroidism – An overactive thyroid
- Diabetes – Type 1 or Type 2
- Coeliac disease – Condition preventing your body from absorbing food properly
- Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)
Once the doctor identifies the cause of your health condition he/she will be able to recommend suitable changes to your diet.
If you tend to be more physically active it could be one of the reasons for you being Underweight. In such cases you should try to improve your diet to build muscle and gain weight.
Health risks of being Underweight
There are quite a few health risks associated with being Underweight. These are –
- Weekend immune system – Prone to common diseases such as Flu etc
- Anemia – Not enough Iron
- Problem conceiving – Pregnancy
- Low in energy – Feeling tired all the time
- Osteoporosis – Weekend bones etc
Read more – Foods that help you boost your immune system
Ways to gain weight safely
While you might be tempted to quickly gain weight it is recommended to gain weight gradually for lasting effects. The simplest thing to understand here is that you need to intake more calories than you lose each day. A healthy gain of approx 500 calories per day can gradually improve your weight.
Here are few simple tricks to gain weight safely.
Exercise to gain weight
You might think that exercise is primarily to lose weight so if I am Underweight I should not do any exercise. Right? Well, you are wrong! Regular exercise and Strength training can help you build muscle mass and also helps build appetite. This will ensure you don’t feel full easily and consume more calories.
Read more – 7 Simple Fitness Tips For Healthy Lifestyle
Drink less before meal
Drinking water or any beverage right before the meal can lower your appetite and you will feel full quite easily while you are eating. Therefore it is recommended not to drink soon before the meal. A good guide would be to not drink water 30 mins before meal.
Eat regularly to gain weight
While it is quite easy to feel full when you are Underweight the idea here is to eat smaller portions and eat regularly. This will increase your appetite which will eventually lead to weight gain.
Add more calories to your food
It is a good idea to make your meals as calorie rich as possible. Adding some cheese, dried fruits or a spoonful of Clarified butter to your usual dish can help raise healthy calories. You can also try adding some healthy sides such as scrambled eggs to make your meals more calorie rich.
Fitness Trackers & Fitness bands to increase weight
Fitness trackers such as Fitbit, Move, Apple watch etc are great ways to keep track of your calories. There are quite a few cheaper alternatives available in the market which can help keep track of calories lost during the day. Many of these trackers come up with their apps which can help you log food and keep track of your calorie intake.
You need to ensure that before you go to sleep your calories intake for the day should be more than your calories lost.
Add healthy treats
While you might be tempted to increase calorie intake via junk foods it is best to make a more healthy choice such as Milk, Yogurt and Granola bars. Choose healthy food such as vegetables, fruits, pastas, wholegrain breads, red meat, nuts and seeds for your diet.
Drink calorie rich beverages
If you want to drink something it is a good idea to drink calorie rich drinks such as Milk, juices, shakes and smoothies. You should avoid beverages such as Tea, Black Coffee and any diet beverages that contain very less calories.
People can be underweight due to multiple reasons and it is a good idea to consult with your doctor if you are underweight or recently lost too much weight. You can easily gain weight by ensuring that you take enough calories than you lose each day.
A gradual increase in weight is always safer and the weight gain should be done via addition of healthy calories. You can also make use of fitness trackers to keep track of your calories and also log food daily in the companion apps available with these fitness trackers.
Eating smaller portions of calorie rich meal regularly can help you to gain weight easily.