How to Gain Weight?
After recently returning from another trip around the world, there is one fact that is quite evident: Americans are fat! Greece, Russia, Italy, Thailand, Korea in 2 weeks… and only saw a very few morbidly obese people… and significantly more thin people than overweight people as well. Those who were overweight were likely Americans or Westerners touring, too.
So where does the topic for this post come from? Upon returning to the USA, I visited a fantastic Chinese massage therapist who actually has a problem with the other side of the spectrum, gaining weight! There really is not a lot of good, simple information on how to gain weight out there so I figured I would share my response to my colleague. Obviously, plenty of opinions exist on how to lose weight.
Gain weight goal basics:
The goal is to gain healthy weight—not just fat. Surely eating daily at the awful American fast food chains could help someone gain weight, or drinking gallons of alcohol could, too. In this post, however, we are looking at health and quality weight gain only.
There is much truth to the concept of “calories in versus calories out” but I would like to add some important nuances.
The modern dietitian’s way of assuming every “calorie in” affects the body the same is categorically untrue. Just because food enters our mouths does not mean it gets utilized properly. A person’s needing “X” number of calories to meet the recommended daily allowance also is based on purely mathematical observations such as the official RDA minimums, but individuals rarely function according to pure math. Additionally, the standard BMI is inaccurate for athletes. I have seen plenty of patients eat less than their dietary requirement without losing any weight, while others eat huge quantities and stay slim.
Plan of Action:
We want to see what you are eating now. Doing a daily diet diary of the foods you eat and fluids you drink (along with the times of consumption) is extremely beneficial. Usually 1-2 week journal is adequate to discover problem items easily.
We want to rule out any health condition that are affecting your metabolism. This could be digestive problems, parasites, and thyroid or hormonal imbalances as common possibilities.
If you work quite physically hard in your job, question whether you are just burning up calories with activity and you are too busy to eat at reasonable meal intervals or quantities.
After the above items are considered, the next step is quite simple. Remedy any above issue and then increase your healthy calories. It is quite easy to increase healthy calories! The only decision is whether to increase calories across the board or to alter the ratio of your Carbohydrates, Proteins, and Fats.
To increase protein: Eat larger portions of quality meats and protein sources. Adding protein shakes or protein bars is another option. The issue for many people here is typically a digestive enzyme is additionally needed when increasing protein intake.
To increase fat: Add high quality oils to meals. Toss raw vegetables with oil or toss after cooking them. Add fats into protein shakes. Adding seeds is usually better than adding more nuts, but walnuts and raw almonds are good. Coconut oil and avocados other great sources of good fats.
To increase carbohydrates: Eat more fruits and more veggies. Low weight people can typically eat more starches and dense carbohydrates, too. However, I always prefer a diet free of gluten or in moderation especially in the USA. Rice, rice noodles, egg noodles, etc. are easy ways to get much higher amounts of carbohydrates.
Another important concept to remember is “Patience is a virtue.” Just like losing weight quickly can be bad, you do not want to bulk up quickly either. It is best to alter the diet, modify the lifestyle, and adjust as necessary. Plan on months not weeks to make lasting changes.
Taking measurements is also beneficial so you can monitor where the weight is being put on. Muscle weighs more than fat so bulking up with some strength and conditioning is also a good thing to consider.
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