Losing weight is the nutrition topic par excellence. It is often overlooked that many people want the exact opposite: gain weight. We also struggled with being underweight for a few years. Here are our best tips for gaining weight.
A note close to our hearts: This is about gaining weight in a healthy way. This means: If you are severely underweight and suffer from mental problems, there is no longer a "healthy" or "unhealthy". Then gaining weight is the goal to get healthy again. Underweight itself can also be a symptom. If you suddenly lose weight for no apparent reason, we advise you to visit your doctor.
In this article, the focus is on healthy food choices. There are also high-calorie ready-made shakes and other clinical products that we will not list here. Here you can find tips to gain weight with food from the supermarket.
When does underweight become a problem?
Although more than half of all Germans have to struggle with the consequences of being overweight, being underweight can also be dangerous. When we were underweight, we felt the typical symptoms: Anemia, lack of libido, hair loss, increased sensitivity to cold, and in Laura’s case, missed periods.
Being underweight is pure stress for the body.
stress is harmful in the long run. Low weight signals lack of food. Lack of food means stress. Our body will do everything to get food again. In the meantime, "dispensable" processes are shut down.
This includes libido and the female cycle. This is why many people who are underweight and/or have a low body fat percentage suffer from lack of desire for sex. In women additionally Amenorrhea, the absence of menstruation.
Being underweight can become a problem for your health.
Similar symptoms are felt by many people who are dieting. This is how the time until the "perfect" summer photo becomes a mental and physical torture.
When there is an energy deficit, i.e. a lack of food, the body regulates against it. In addition, he will do everything to protect vital organs and processes for as long as possible. Anything that has to do with procreation does not include. The body thinks to itself: "This hunger period is not a time to give birth to a child."
Health risk underweight
The weight alone is not a size, which represents for itself, a health risk. This applies to overweight and underweight. An "overweight" man by definition may be a competitive athlete with high muscle mass and low body fat percentage.
Therefore, it is important to take into account other factors. It becomes dangerous when to a BMI below 18.5 other symptoms come. These include:
- Amenorrhea and other cycle disorders
- Loss of libido
- Hair loss
- Muscle weakness
- Circulation problems
- constant fatigue
- Concentration problems
If you notice these symptoms, you should get them checked out by a doctor – especially if they are accompanied by underweight and sudden weight loss.
Being underweight can become a health risk, as the body’s ability to defend itself is lowered. In addition, the general quality of life decreases and the risk of various diseases increases. These include:
To prevent this from becoming a problem, here are our Tips for gaining weight.
Healthy weight gain: 8 tips
The following 8 tips for gaining weight based on our own experience, many conversations with people who want to gain weight and research. You may notice that some tips are the reverse of weight loss tips – that’s right. It’s only logical, after all, gaining weight is the inverse of losing weight.
1. Calorie-dense foods
Especially if you have problems to eat enough, calorie-dense foods are recommended. Because on the same volume, they have more calories respectively. a similar calorie content and lower volume.
Examples of good foods for gaining weight:
Tip: It is best to combine each with a source of fat.
- (Pseudo) Grains: Pasta, rice, quinoa, amaranth, millet
- Legumese: lentils, chickpeas, beans, peas
- Fruits: avocado, olives, bananas, grapes, apricots, mangoes, figs, pears
- Dried fruitdates, figs, raisins, cranberries, legumes, etc
- Vegetables: (sweet) potatoes, corn, antipasti
- Nuts: walnuts, almonds, cashews, Brazil nuts
- Seeds: chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds
- Nut snacksPeanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter, tahini..
- Dairy products, eggs, fatty meat and fatty fish
2. Eat more frequently
Some people like large portions, others are full after 5 bites. Eat the way you like and don’t get bogged down by outdated eating rules.
But: For gaining weight, several smaller meals have proven to be particularly effective. Typically, it’s not those who can eat a lot anyway who struggle with being underweight, but those people who get full quickly.
Therefore, a simple but effective tip: Eat more often. This means that something like Intermittent Fasting is of course taboo if you want to gain weight.
3. Snacks and toppings
When you’re on the road a lot, it’s not always easy to eat enough. Especially then it is important to be well prepared. It is best never to leave the house without your Favorite snacksNuts, dried fruit, bars or whatever you like to eat.
Toppings Are a good tip for gaining weight. Make your meals even tastier by adding toppings like high-quality cooking oils, nuts and seeds, or chocolate chips. Be creative and spice up your food!
Super snacks and toppings: dried fruits like dates and cashews
4. Plenty of fat
The bad image of dietary fat belongs to the past. Fats were seen as the ultimate culprit in the 1980s and 1990s: The light hype emerged.
Today we know that fats are not only better than their reputation, but essential for health. Fat is particularly suitable for gaining weight because of its high calorie content. At 9.3 kcal/g, this is well over twice that of proteins and carbohydrates (4.1 kcal/g each).
Fats are the basis for the smooth functioning of many processes in the body. We would like to emphasize the positive effects on the hormone balance. Certain fats are not only the backbone of some important hormones, but also regulate hormone balance in general.
Therefore, do yourself and your body a favor and do not be afraid of fat.
5. Do not drink before and during meals
Many people are so satiated by a large glass of water before eating that they eat significantly less than their hunger levels are high. What can help you lose weight is counterproductive for gaining weight. Therefore our tip: Do not drink before and during a meal.
6. Drink calories
Caloric drinks such as smoothies, shakes and juices are a suitable source of energy for gaining weight. They are mainly a snack for in between meals, but should not replace a main meal. We recommend no more than one fruit smoothie or juice (300 ml) per day, otherwise it can cause problems with blood lipid levels.
7. More strength training, less cardio
Exercising the cardiovascular system is important. But you should not rely on cardio training alone. If you want to gain weight, we recommend you to focus on strength training.
This stimulates growth in the muscles and stimulates the appetite. Through targeted strength training and appropriate energy intake, you will gain muscle mass, which in turn will have a positive effect on the scale.
Many underweight people also complain about, skinny fat being very slim and yet having a flabby skin and posture. Strength training also counteracts the skinny fat phenomenon. It improves posture, well-being and strengthens muscles.
8. To have periods of rest
All that exercise is useless if you don’t regenerate. Especially when gaining weight, rest periods are essential. The hormone balance is regulated as well as muscle growth is stimulated and minor injuries from training are healed.
In addition, it is important not to burn too many calories through exercise if you want to gain weight anyway. The more often and intensively you train, the more you have to eat.
We therefore consider a sports workload of 3-4 days per week to be reasonable. On rest days there is nothing against a walk in the fresh air. It puts you in a good mood and makes you feel like you’re doing something good.
Relaxation is important not only for peace of mind, but also for gaining weight.
The basis for successful gaining weight is none of these tips. You set it in your head. Just like losing weight, you need to know what you’re doing it for.
More health, more self-esteem, more muscles – it’s up to you. The why must come from you. No matter what the reason for your project to be should, it only counts what your true intention is. Without your why and your goal even the best tips won’t help you.
We are sure that you will lay the foundation for successful weight gain and be successful with the tips from the article. All the best for it!