Weight gain is often looked down upon because usually ‘gain’ is synonymous with obesity, in today’s era that is obsessed with skinny. However, maintaining/gaining healthy weight is of paramount importance for your health, especially if you are underweight with a skinny physique.
The catch is, similar to weight loss; weight gain is tricky. Of course, you can munch on fries all day, sit back at home (more so, owing to the pandemic), and binge on empty calories to gain weight. The question that arises is: Is it even remotely healthy? The answer is a firm ‘no.’
Gaining weight and gaining ‘healthy’ weight are two hugely disparate things, and when it comes to choosing one way to go, we will always recommend the former.
Therefore, in this article, we will discuss the best safe and healthy ways to gain weight to get you in shape. Before that, let us understand why it is important to gain and maintain a healthy weight rather than being underweight.
Risks of being skinny/ underweight
If you are under the prescribed weight range based on your age, sex, height, etc., you could be vulnerable to a number of health conditions such as:
- Degenerated immunity
- Age-related muscle wasting
- Infertility, etc.
Best Safe Ways to Gain Weight
Finally, the article picks thrust at this point as we move on to tell you about the best safe ways you can gain weight. All you need is persistence and perseverance!
Eat small and frequent meals:
Countless people take the ‘eat more’ part completely wrong when they start trying to chomp down on humongous portions of food in 2-3 meals a day. Instead, try to break down your meals into 5-7 portions throughout the day. This way, you will not only eat more, but you will also be able to gradually increase your appetite.
Increasing your caloric intake can come off as difficult if the idea of eating ‘more’ haunts you. This is why, when you eat small but frequent meals. This way, you also do not have to force yourself to shove content down your stomach, so you could gain weight.
Bottoms up – Drink those calories!
No, we are not talking about sugary beverages that have little to no nutritional value. If you are tempted towards the idea of drinking empty calories, you should be well aware that it does not support long-term health.
If you ask us, you are better ditching off unhealthy drinks and replacing them with nutrient-rich smoothies and shakes that are brimming with healthy calories. From a regular kale smoothie to the banana shake you made in full-fat almond milk, drinking your calories is an easier way to incorporate more calories in your diet (especially if you do not want to chew on food 5-7 times a day).
Increase your protein intake
It is a no-brainer that protein helps build muscle mass, and if we do the maths, adding up on muscle mass is equivalent to healthy weight gain. Some rich sources of protein include fish, red meat, pork, eggs, etc.
It is a myth that vegans do not have enough options to choose from when it comes to protein-rich sources – tofu, cottage cheese, soy, yogurt, chickpea, corn, sprouts, etc., are excellent sources of vegan protein.
Alternatively, you can also consume protein supplements that are generally marketed as shakes, bars, etc. However, use supplements only if the need be, and try incorporating as much protein as you can through your natural diet.
Choose the right exercises for you
Just like there is a targeted group of exercises when it comes to losing weight, there are exercises that help you put on some of those treasured pounds.
It is important to understand that aerobic exercises can undermine your efforts at adding up a healthy weight, therefore avoid any form of workout that falls in this niche. Instead, you should focus on strength training for better use of those calories and muscular gains.
Limit cardio to 10-15 minutes at a maximum, three times a week. Why? Cardio can not only burn you out but make you exhaust more calories than you took in through your food or supplements, which puts you in a calorie deficit.
Now, it is not rocket science that a calorie deficit stands in contrast to a calorie surplus. Thus, you should shift your focus to push-ups, pull-ups, lifting weights, bench-press, bench dips, squats, etc.
If you are a beginner and do not know where to start with your workout regime, talk to a professional and figure out what exercises are custom-tailored to aid safe and healthy weight gain.
Get those potatoes!
This isn’t just about potatoes, but every other high-carb food. Often, potatoes get a bad rap for causing weight gain, but they can be your BFFs when you are actually trying to gain a healthy weight.
Alongside other healthy things to eat to gain weight are foods high in healthy fat and dense in energy, such as nuts, cheese, blueberries, dark chocolate, etc.
Manage stress and sleep
Deprivation of sleep is one of the most common causes of an unbalanced metabolic rate. This means you either gain too much weight or lose too much of it. Regardless of what you are struggling with, getting healthy sleep can balance your metabolism and help you maintain a healthy weight. Apart from this, sleep also reduces stress – the arch-nemesis of weight gain.
Furthering on ‘stress,’ it is a known fact that stress can cause a loss of appetite. This subtly translates to unwanted loss of weight. Besides managing a healthy sleep pattern, you should also try meditation and yoga to tackle the problem.
What about weight gain supplements?
Since we are strictly talking about OTC weight gainers, there are two ways to look at weight gain through supplements:
Weight gain pills
Weight gain supplements such as replacement shakes, weight gain syrups, drinks, etc.
Weight gain pills work by enhancing your natural appetite, therefore allowing you to eat more food. When you eat more natural meals, you ultimately create a healthy calorie surplus, thus tackling the problem of a poor appetite that acts as the main impediment towards healthy weight gain.
However, the catch is, not every weight gain pills brand works; therefore, make sure you are investing your money into a legit brand. If you do not have a poor appetite, to begin with, it completely obliterates the point of buying weight gain pills.
About weight gain supplements such as replacement shakes and drinks, we do not exactly advocate solely depending on these to gain weight. Always remember that weight gain is considered healthy and long-term beneficial only when most of what you put on comes from a natural diet.