Here Are The Best And Safest Ways To Put On Pounds And Gain Weight If You're Underweight

Avatar of Dr Artour Rakhimov, Buteyko Breathing Practitioner and Master TrainerBy Dr. Artour Rakhimov, Alternative Health Educator and Author
- Medically Reviewed by Naziliya Rakhimova, MD
- Last updated on August 9, 2018

Guest post by Alex Adams

When addressing weight issues, most people go directly to talking about obesity as a health risk that can destroy your health and cause many health complications.

However, being underweight can cause just as many dangerous health complications, and yet no one talks about it.

In fact, many people who are underweight have to suffer through being told that they're "so lucky" they can eat anything and not gain weight, while also struggling with the health problems and frustration that comes along with being underweight.

This article is designed to give people who are underweight the information they need to gain weight quickly and safely.

What Does Being Underweight Mean?

Being underweight (and overweight) is typically clinically described as a measure of where your BMI (or body mass index) falls.

For instance, those who have a BMI of more than 25 are considered to be overweight. Those who have a BMI of 30 or more are considered to be obese.

Most people's "normal" BMI falls between about 18 and a half to just under 25. People whose BMI is less than 18.5 are considered to be underweight.

What's The Best Way To Gain Weight Safely And Healthily?

Sometimes, when people are told they need to gain weight, their head goes immediately to the least healthy options.

They think, "Well, if I need to gain weight, then I can just eat all the unhealthy foods that I want, because it's not unhealthy if I actually need to gain the weight in the first place!"

Unfortunately, that's not the case. While eating tons of foods that are extremely high in calories might help you put on a few pounds, it will be extremely unhealthy for the rest of your body. First, most "unhealthy foods" that are high in calories tend to be highly processed foods, so by upping the unhealthy food that you're adding to your diet, you're dumping lots of chemicals and other toxins into your body.

Second, when you add tons of unhealthy foods like pizza or ice cream to your diet, you're going to only be adding fat to your frame, not muscle. That fat won't do anything besides sit on your body and slow you down, and some kinds of fat (like visceral fat) can have an adverse effect on your health.

In fact, the best way to gain weight and stay healthy is not to binge on unhealthy foods. Rather, it's to use a healthy diet and lifestyle in order to gain weight and add muscle to your body.

How To Gain Weight

The guiding principle for how to gain weight is the same as the guiding principle for how to lose weight, it's just in reverse.

If you want to lose weight, you have to eat fewer calories than you burn. If you want to gain weight, you have to eat more calories than you burn.

That simple principle is behind everything to do with weight loss and weight gain, and when you internalize it and make it work for you, you can gain weight naturally and healthily.

The first step is to measure how many calories your body needs per day by using a calorie counter. I like the calorie counter from the National Institute of Health, there are several other calorie counters online that can help you find your number.

Using a calorie counter, you can find the number of calories that you need to eat each day in order to maintain your weight. Then, all you have to do is add about 600 to 700 calories on top of that each day in order to gain weight.

However, don't fall into the trap of adding unhealthy but tasty foods in order to get enough calories! You should still be getting your calories from healthy sources in order to keep your body healthy and keep yourself feeling good.

One of the best ways to add more calories to your diet is to eat more carbohydrates and fats. Fruits and whole grain loaves of breads are an excellent way to add more healthy carbohydrates to your diet.

For fats, don't just reach for the butter! Try adding healthy fats as can be found in cheeses, peanut butter, fish, and nuts to your diet. That way, you're adding more calories to help yourself gain weight, but the calories are from healthy sources that will leave your body feeling great.

One important thing to do when you're trying to gain weight is to pick a meal schedule and stick to it. That means no skipping meals.

Rather, you should be trying to eat 3 or more meals per day in order to get your body the calories and nutrition it needs in order to gain weight in a healthy way.

In addition, don't be afraid of snacking throughout the day! Any calories from a healthy source are going to be welcome in your diet, so if you're feeling hungry grab a snack of some yogurt or nuts to keep you going.

Finally, try to add lots of protein to your diet as well. Protein is great for adding muscle and keeping your body healthy and strong.

Great sources of protein include animal products like eggs, meat, fish, nuts, and dairy, but be warned that for many people protein will suppress your appetite.

Add In Exercise To Put On Muscle

Yes, I am saying that you should exercise in order to gain weight!

However, I'm not talking about aerobic exercise, or exercise designed to just burn calories. That would be operating in conflict with your guiding principle to consume more calories than you burn.

Instead, you should be doing strength training in order to put on more muscle. Since muscle is heavier than fat, adding muscle to your frame will naturally increase your weight and stop you from being underweight.

Try to add strength training to your routine at least 3 times per week. Leave rest days between your workouts and alternate the parts of your body that you're working out.

With a combination of good diet, weight training, and persistence, you can gain weight! Even if you're underweight and gaining weight feels impossible, know that all you need is the persistence to persevere and stick to your diet and health plan in order to put on muscle, gain weight, and get healthy.

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