Being underweight can be as unhealthy as being overweight or obese. Too less or too much, both are wrong and hence, there needs to be a balance. An underweight person is highly likely to be malnourished and be nutrient deficient which can pose many health risks. But starting to binge eat and not exercise is not the right way to go about it. So, here’s how to gain weight in a healthy way to achieve a normal BMI (Body Mass Index).
A healthy person will have their BMI ranging from 18.5 to 24.9. But a person who is underweight will have their BMI below 18.5 and will be prone to some health risks like the development of diseases classified as civilization diseases, such as diabetes, stroke, atherosclerosis, hypertension and nutrition disorders.
A person who is underweight will be thin and deficient in many necessary vitamins and minerals which will lead to a weak immune system and higher risk of infections. They will also feel tired and nauseated most of the time. So, if you fall under this category then you are right to think about gaining weight. That will make you healthier and much more in control of your body. It is important that when you are on a weight gain journey that you are gaining weight through muscle mass instead of fats, so let’s take a look at the ways to achieve that.
Here’s how to gain weight:
1. Increase the number of meals
If you are underweight, it is highly probable that you have a small appetite and maybe eat only one or two proper meals a day. This will need to be changed. If you have a small appetite that is fine but you need to increase the frequency of your meals. Eat small portions but eat 5-6 meals a day. 3 can proper huge meals and then you can snack in between them. According to a 2017 study published in PubMed Central, an increase in the eating frequency is bound to lead to weight gain.
2. Protein and carbohydrate-rich diet
Protein is known to promote muscle growth. A healthy intake of protein rich foods will make a huge difference on your weight and what you will gain will not be fats. Foods like eggs, meat, fish, lentils, legumes, etc. are extremely rich sources of protein. Vegans can also opt for tofu, another protein rich source. Also including dairy products like yogurt and carbohydrate rich foods like potatoes in your diet will help you.
When looking to gain weight, it is best to stick to weight training. Exercising with barbells and dumbbells will lead to muscle gain and hence promote healthy weight gain. A 2011 study shows that 3-5 times of weight training per week leads to a significant weight gain.
The usual recommended hours of sleep is 6-8 hours. But a 2011 study claims that sleeping less than 6 hours or more than 8 hours can help you gain weight. Again, if this practice is healthy or not remains debatable but participants of the study showed an increase in their weight by following this method too.
We hope that you stay away from unhealthy methods to gain weight and follow these tips!