Everyone only talks about losing weight – but the fact that there are also many people who struggle with permanent underweight rarely comes up. "Just eat more" is also not a tip that necessarily helps.
I can say from personal experience that there have been times when I could eat like a combine and by the end of the week I had lost weight again. There can be many causes for being underweight: From physical ailments to mental reasons. Stress is often a big factor, which ensures that the body is constantly under power and the metabolism works at full speed.
Being slim is no longer positive, but can make you sick. Important so that one pays attention to a healthy weight to reach. "Strong, not skinny" is the watchword. So how to gain weight back healthy, we discuss today in the blog article.
Causes of underweight
Causes there are as said many. Since I am not a doctor, I will not go into the physical like hyperthyroidism here. Importantly, if you are underweight, the very first thing to do is to get checked out by a doctor to see if it has any physical causes. If there are no physical causes, mental ones remain.
Again, I do not want to talk about diseases such as anorexia, bulimia and Co. speak. For this there are competent doctors and better help elsewhere. Informs you in addition gladly for example with the Federal professional association Essstorung.
This article is about causes that you can address yourself and directly. In addition count:
- underweight because eating is forgotten
- Underweight because of irregular eating
- Underweight because of wrong nutrition
- Underweight due to stress
What is a healthy weight?
One speaks of the ideal weight, if one talks about healthy weight. Often the BMI, the Body Mass Index, is consulted for this purpose. This is calculated from weight and height. No distinction is made between men and women in the calculation formula.
Is it useful to calculate the BMI?
Roughly, the evaluation then says:
BMI 16-18,5 means underweight
BMI 18.5-25 means normal weight (ideal weight)
BMI 25-30 means overweight
BMI>30 is obesity (adiposity)
Meanwhile, there are approaches to also include age and gender into the calculations or. to include in the classification of the evaluation. However, the BMI alone not a meaningful yardstick, to determine whether one has a healthy weight! In fact, studies have already shown that people with a BMI in the overweight range do not necessarily die sooner than those who are at the ideal weight. It could also be shown that even a BMI of 22 (which is actually ideal weight) can be pathological (source: Stern). So you should not go crazy about the BMI in any case.
Refining to the BMI, it helps to calculate the THQ (waist hip quotient).
The waist hip ratio
Here is also directly differentiated between women and men, so that at least a somewhat more precise evaluation is possible. Of course, this is based on anatomical differences – women are simply built a little differently than men.
Normal weightTHQ under 0,85 and under 80 cm waist circumference (women) resp. 1,00 and under 94 cm waist circumference (men)
Overweight: THQ over 0.85 and 80-88 cm waist circumference (women), or. over 1.00 and 94-102 cm waist circumference (men)
ObesityTHQ over 0.85 and more than 88 cm waist circumference (women), or. Over 1.00 and more than 102 cm waist circumference (men)
However, you can stop all the calculating if you become aware: Healthy is who is fit. If you eat healthy and exercise regularly, you don’t have to stand on the scales anymore.
When to do something about underweight
With the whole anorexia craze of the last decades it is often difficult to judge when you should really gain weight. Malnutrition and underweight are definitely harmful to the body – but since the boundaries are often fuzzy, there are at least clues as to when action is necessary.
- if you are often tired and exhausted
- if you are depressed
- when you quickly reach your physical limits
- if you often or regularly have digestive problems
- if you notice physical changes in yourself since losing weight (worse skin, missing/irregular periods, etc.).)
As said, you should always have a doctor check everything first. If he gives the green light, you can then work on gaining weight healthy with some tools and tricks. These five tips will help you.
5 tips for healthy weight gain
Recognize and address stressors
As said stress and lack of time are often a reason for the fact that one decreases unintentionally ever further. It is interesting to know that stress causes some people to stop losing weight and others to lose weight unintentionally. Every body reacts differently and it is important to find out in advance what your own causes for weight loss are.
Go therefore in you and consider whether you go through straight a very stressful time. Mental reasons are often the most important to gain weight in a healthy way. This can be professional but also private. Do you put pressure on yourself, have you overextended yourself or are you under too much external expectations?
Knowing the cause is already the most important step in the right direction. Because only by knowing and addressing your stressor can your mind, and as a result your body, regain its composure. Loss of appetite or excessive metabolism return to normal and you can gain weight again.
My tip to get a finer sense for stress and your own body: Mindfulness and meditation. Both techniques support learning to "listen inside" and more accurately understand the needs of your head and body.
Mindfulness plays a role here as well. Do you often eat quickly in front of the PC or on the road?? If you do not pay attention to what you are doing, you often lose sight of the right measure. Many eat too much this way, others unknowingly eat too little. So take the time you need to eat, consciously. I don’t have time for this" is simply not possible – we must always put our health first. Even with deadlines and annoying bosses.
If you want to save some time, Meal Preps are a good idea for you. On Sunday evening you can pre-cook with simple recipes for the whole week and then you only have to microwave your lunch for the rest of the week. The 15 minutes, which the meal itself then takes, should be in any case in it.
If all this does not help, start to celebrate the food. Eat out more often (yes, even alone!) and enjoy the meals you do indulge in. Just because going out to eat is a bit more expensive than cooking yourself, it’s easier to concentrate on it. Mentally walk away from the idea that eating is a means to an end and rediscover it as a pleasure. Maybe try new restaurants and new cuisines. Dare something exotic – so it works with the healthy weight gain.
At a glance:
- Make time for eating
- Make Meal Preps
- Eat out more often
- Try exotic foods and new restaurants
Plan snacks between meals
You eat in the morning, at lunch and in the evening? Then try five to six meals a day. Besides the three "big" ones, smaller snacks and in-between meals can help you gain weight in a healthy way.
Personally, it helps me to schedule relatively fixed times for my meals. This may (not have to) look like the following:
9.30 o’clock: Second breakfast (fruit snack or protein bar)
12 o’clock: Lunch
15 pm: Snack (fruit or protein bar)
The benefit of including regular snacks is that you increase your calorie intake without overeating and reaching a feeling of fullness too quickly. Of course, the important thing is that you continue to eat healthily. There’s no use indulging in 3 candy bars a day – you’ll probably gain weight, but it won’t be healthy either.
Eat healthy, calorie-dense foods
Healthy, calorie-dense foods include a few! For snacks or as an accompaniment to your main meals, feel free to reach for these little calorie bombs that can also provide your body with important nutrients and healthy fats. These include:
We are not going to discuss the ethical and ecological consequences of eating avocado. Let’s stick to the fact that they not only taste good, but are also full of healthy fats. On 100 grams they have 160 calories – a whole avocado thus easily over 350 kcal. But in return, micronutrients that have unbeatable values.
- Vitamin K1: 36
- Vitamin B9 (folate): 30%
- Vitamin C: 20%
- Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid): 20%
- Potassium: 20%
- Vitamin B6: 20%
- Vitamin E: 13
- Vitamin B3 (Niacin): 13%
- Copper: 12%
- Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): 11%
- Magnesium: 10%
- Manganese: 10%
Nuts: Walnuts, almonds, pecans, peanuts and co.
Nuts are incredibly easy to include in food. Be it in salads, muesli, with Mediterranean dishes (pine nuts!) or simply as a snack in between. With 500-800 calories per 100 grams, they also hit extremely to the books.
The positive effect of nuts: they have a very high percentage of healthy fatty acids and a lot of protein, as well as fiber, which supports digestion. Nuts have been proven to reduce stress and even make you happy . Nuts are almost indispensable in a balanced diet – their composition is extremely healthy for humans on many levels and can support healthy weight gain.
Healthy weight gain is also possible in the Mediterranean way: with olives and antipasti. Also here the high fat content plays a big role. Black olives pack an even bigger punch, up to 35% compared to the 14% of green olives. But even there, healthy fats. Next, olives have a lot of iron, copper and vitamins like B2, B9, beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin.
They also contain a lot of antioxidants – these support your regeneration, keep you young and prevent various diseases.
Read correctly – exercise is not only good for losing weight, but also for gaining weight in a healthy way. However, here you should mainly rely on strength training. Work with weights and do few repetitions with heavy weights during the executions. This leads to muscle building. Muscles are heavier than fat and let the weight go up on the scale. But it is much more important that your body becomes healthier. You will strengthen your immune system and you will notice an increased appetite. All in all, sport improves your health enormously and contributes to the fact that you do not have to look at the scales any more.