Healthy weight gain involves making lifestyle and dietary changes.
Maintaining a healthy weight can be challenge, but unlike the average person, you may be struggling to gain weight instead of dropping extra pounds. When you have a fast metabolism, gaining weight seems even more difficult. However, with a few changes to your routine, you can gain weight at a healthy rate without just adding fat tissue and eating high-fat foods. Being underweight can be just as harmful as being overweight, so maintaining a BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 improves overall health.1.
Increase calories by 250-500 extra calories per day. Accomplishing this goal may mean adding in an extra snack or small meal to your normal calorie intake. Although a few hundred extra calories may not seem like much, you'll gain about a pound a week, which is a healthy gain. However, if this number varies, don't be too worried since your activity level and genetic makeup may cause you to gain at a slightly higher or lower amount.2.
Eat more frequently thoughout the day. When you have a fast metabolism, your body burns through calories at an increased rate so you may have better results eating five or six small meals throughout the day. Increase the caloric density of your meals by adding powdered milk to beverages and soups. If you eat fresh salads, add avocados, olive oil or nuts to boost the calorie and fat content. Top your favorite foods with regular cheeses and add nut butters to breads to add a healthy fat source. You want to increase your caloric intake in a healthy way, so focus on adding calories through unsaturated fat products when possible.3.
Increase your muscle mass. When you gain weight, you may need to gain some fat stores, but a healthy component of weight gain involves gaining lean body mass. Strength training is the best way to increase lean muscle tissue. Use a balanced lifting program that incorporates all major muscle groups in your body to get the best results. Lifting three times a week and using higher weights with fewer workouts keeps your workout volume low and won't have as great of an effect on your metabolism. Additionally, cut back on additional physical activities to avoid losing weight and relax more than normal to promote weight gain.
- For a personalized healthy weight gain program, consult with a registered dietitian.
- Limit beverages at meals to avoid feeling full too quickly.
- Avoid gimmicks and supplements that make unrealistic claims.
- Be realistic about your body type and avoid aiming for a body type that may not be possible.
- Consult with a doctor or dietitian if you start to gain more than 1 to 2 pounds a week.