How to Gain Weight the Healthy Way

Our weight plays a vital role in our health and well-being. While most people are trying to lose weight, some people are trying to gain weight and, surprisingly, fail. Because while shedding unwanted pounds is challenging for some, so can gaining weight for those who feel they’re too skinny or underweight. 

Feeling too thin can be just as frustrating for people as being overweight. Thin people may feel less sexy and less attractive, which may lead to lowered self-esteem. Thinness may be genetic or may follow an illness where you lost body mass due to an injury or disease. 

Whether you need to gain weight after healing from an illness or are recovering from an injury, here are a few ways to start to gain weight healthily.

Calories

If you do a google search for healthy weight gain, you may find suggestions to increase calorie load. But not all calories have the same effect on body weight, which is definitely not the way to go for healthy weight gain. [1] You want to gain weight healthily and not only gain fat tissue.

You do want to change the composition of your diet to incorporate foods that will lead to growth.

You may be too thin because your body is using up too much energy for different internal and external activities. This is common if you participate in endurance sports, during disease, healing after illness, and when your diet is not in line with your personal health requirements leading to diarrhea and wasting. Therefore, in order to gain weight, you must avoid foods that lead to wasting away, such as a diet rich in meat products. You also want to avoid foods that you have an intolerance for. The most common foods people have intolerances and allergies towards include:

  1. Shellfish
  2. Finn fish
  3. Eggs
  4. Milk
  5. Soy
  6. Wheat
  7. Tree nuts
  8. Peanut 

If you suffer from diarrhea or have low energy levels and perhaps anemia, I suggest avoiding these foods until you strengthen your body and regain your healthy weight.

If you are not wasting tissues, you do not suffer from diarrhea, and you are just genetically thin, you do not need to avoid these food groups. 

.

Strength and Stamina

Building up your strength while on the path to weight gain is just as essential to ensure that your weight is healthy and you create a balance between your muscle and fat mass. Start with moderate weight lifting adding more weight as you go along. One of the reasons you may feel that you need to gain more weight is feeling weak and that your body is not in its best condition. Avoid this by consuming nutrient-dense foods such as dried fruits, varied vegetables, shakes with added green leafy vegetables, and lifting weights.

Protein

To build muscle tissue and help your body heal, your diet will need a sufficient amount of protein. 

The type of protein consumed is essential for the gain of muscle mass while maintaining health. I do not recommend what is considered “quality” protein, meaning that it contains all essential amino acids in one food. This is not necessary so long as you provide your body with all essential amino acids in sufficient quantities throughout the day. Please check my article on sufficient protein quantities for health here: https://www.theguerrilladiet.com/how-much-protein-is-good-for-you/

When overcoming disease, you will want to increase protein intake to 0.9 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight.

I suggest consuming proteins from plant-based sources and reducing red meat consumption to no more than one small portion a week. 

The foods that have healthy proteins and will support recovery include quinoa, nuts, legumes of all types, algae, seaweed, tahini, other seed-based foods or plain seeds, and peanut butter. You should include these foods in your diet regularly.

You may see articles recommending protein supplements such as whey protein to increase weight gain. I do not recommend these supplements. Not only is there no need to spend money on these supplements, these often contain processed food items that are not health-supporting.

Fats

If you are genetically thin or healing from disease, you should consume healthy fats regularly to help your body maintain heat and produce sufficient hormones. Healthy fats will help you regain lost weight and keep your brain functioning well. The best fatty foods are foods rich in natural healthy fats and omega 3 fatty acids. Cook foods with pure coconut oil, consume avocado, nuts, and seeds of all sorts, not only for their fat content, but these also help the body absorb fat-soluble vitamins and are very rich in nutrients needed to regain health. 

Now only if you are genetically very thin but healthy and would like to gain a few pounds, making a temporary diet change to include foods rich in fats from organic dairy products will do the trick. If you are lactose intolerant, go for organic cheeses with less lactose but still have growth factors that will help you gain weight.

I do not recommend dairy products to people recovering from disease because of the inflammation they may cause. However, if you are naturally thin and healthy and do want to gain some weight, adding dairy products low in lactose to your diet is a good way to achieve this goal. I recommend trying this change of diet for 13 to 25 days until the weight gain is achieved. After this, I recommend stopping dairy products but eating sufficient calories to maintain your new weight. There is no need to consume dairy products to hold your new weight gain consistently. I recommend that you do not continue with the consumption of dairy products after this growth period.

Carbs

Healthy carbohydrates are needed for energy to fuel the cells of your body. Consume healthy whole grains and root vegetables rich in carbohydrates at least three times a day, like whole grain rice and potatoes. Along with energy-dense snacks between meals that include high carbohydrate and energy-dense foods such as dried fruit, dark chocolate of 90+% cocoa, whole grain crackers, and trail mixes.

Sleep

It is also essential to get enough sleep because sleep is crucial for muscle growth. Aim for 7.5 hours to 8 hours of sleep at night. The best way to ensure a good night’s sleep is by going to bed at the same time and waking up at the same time. Set an alarm clock for going to bed just as you set one for waking up. You may also add melatonin-rich foods before bedtime to support healthy deep sleep. See my article on this subject here: https://www.theguerrilladiet.com/importance-of-a-good-nights-sleep-for-health-and-weight-loss/

Takeaway 

Consuming slightly more food than you feel you need to consume while ensuring an energy-dense high-whole carbohydrate (dried fruits), high-healthy fat (avocado, coconut, nuts, and seeds), high-plant-based protein diet (legumes, nut pastes) is what you will need to gain weight while avoiding triggering foods that you may be sensitive towards. And if you are not recovering from illness, adding organic whole dairy products low in lactose for 2-4 weeks until your ideal weight is reached. 

At first, your body may resist the changes by increasing your metabolic rate and hunger levels. However, persist in consuming slightly more healthy foods than you feel you need. You may need to push yourself to do this even when your brain tells you that you are already full; this is primarily because of the satiety hormone leptin hormone, which you can learn more about here: https://www.theguerrilladiet.com/the-ultimate-guide-to-leptin-and-weight-loss/

Feel free to comment below and let me know what you liked best about this article.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. I’d be honored if you would share it with your family, friends, and followers by clicking the Like, Tweet, and Share buttons. If you are serious about improving your health no matter what your age or circumstances, and are ready to finally achieve optimal health and lose the weight you’ve been struggling with, then click HERE to check out my online Guerrilla Diet Wholistic Lifestyle Bootcamp for Healthy and Lasting Weight Loss.

If you are not already on my mailing list where you will receive my weekly articles packed with scientifically based health, and nutrition content, as well as many FREE bonuses and special offers, and much more, then  click HEREto subscribe.

Thank You, 🙂

Dr. Galit Goldfarb

References:

[1]Stanhope KL, Goran MI, Bosy-Westphal A, King JC, Schmidt LA, Schwarz JM, Stice E, Sylvetsky AC, Turnbaugh PJ, Bray GA, Gardner CD, Havel PJ, Malik V, Mason AE, Ravussin E, Rosenbaum M, Welsh JA, Allister-Price C, Sigala DM, Greenwood MRC, Astrup A, Krauss RM. Pathways and mechanisms linking dietary components to cardiometabolic disease: thinking beyond calories. Obes Rev. 2018 Sep;19(9):1205-1235. doi: 10.1111/obr.12699. Epub 2018 May 14. PMID: 29761610; PMCID: PMC6530989.

[2] Devries MC, Phillips SM. Supplemental protein in support of muscle mass and health: advantage whey. J Food Sci. 2015 Mar;80 Suppl 1:A8-A15. doi: 10.1111/1750-3841.12802. PMID: 25757896.

Leave A Response

* Denotes Required Field