When the obvious solution to “just eat more” isn’t working.
The topic of losing weight has been a major issue for most people in our society. What about gaining weight? For those who are genetically thin or have an overachieving metabolism, it may be hard to move that scale in a positive direction. Sometimes the obvious solution, to just eat more, doesn’t work. Here are 5 quick tips on gaining weight the right way and 5 great recipes to help you get started.
Tip 1 – Eat more QUALITY, not just quantity
The idea that eating more calories means gaining weight is true, in a sense, but it’s what you eat and how often that will add on the pounds. Also, you want to feel good when you gain weight not sick. Eating higher calorie drinks and foods that are not natural (like soda and fast food) and full of sugars, additives, and chemicals are not the best idea. They can increase cholesterol and fat (and other bad stuff inside your body) and make you feel tired and sluggish all day. Instead it is important to increase your caloric intake with a variety of whole, nutrient dense foods like
Protein rich food – lean meats/ eggs/protein drinks
Healthy fats and oils – coconut oil/ nuts/ nut butters
Complex carbohydrates – fruits & vegetables/whole grains/potatoes
Tip 2 – Mix it up
Always aim for at least 3 food groups per meal. (See recipes for some delicious suggestions). A wider variety provides your body with a broader spectrum of nutrients to process throughout the day. If your body is lacking a nutrient for a certain amount of time it may go to stored nutrients (fat or muscle) to find them.
Tip 3 – Eat more often
Nutritionists recommend that the best way to gain healthy weight is by eating a variety of whole natural foods every 3-4 hours. If you think of your body as an engine constantly burning fuel (food) it makes sense that you would need a constant supply of quality fuel to keep it functioning optimally. When there is too much time in between fueling up (eating) your engine (body) will feel deprived and start burning your stored fuel (fat or muscle). For those with higher metabolisms it is especially important to fuel your body more often, because your engine is running fast and hot.
Tip 4 – Exercise the right way
Cardio is not recommended for weight gain. Burning up calories is not the goal here. Repetitious muscle building activities are the way to gain muscle mass and fill out your figure. Some best weight gaining exercises:
Yoga (stay flexible as you gain)
Here is a great site with more detailed exercise routines:
Tip 5 – Take your time
An increase of 200-500 extra calories a day is recommended for a healthy weight gain of 1 lb per week. Just like those who are losing weight are recommended not to lose too fast, it is the same for gaining weight as well. If you want your body to sustain weight gain over time, you need to gain the right kind of weight, and that takes time. Gaining weight too fast may cause your body to store the excess calories in too much fat instead of a healthy balance of fat and muscle.
Do You Really Need A Supplement?
Only turn to supplements as just what they are meant to be: a supplement not a substitute.
Most often those who want to gain weight turn to supplements. If this is not done correctly it can backfire. Not only could relying too much on supplements result in no weight gain, it could actually cause more harm on your body then good. You need to know what your body is lacking and try to obtain it through a natural healthy diet first. Only turn to supplements as just what they are meant to be: a supplement not a substitute for real food. We really like this article that talks about how to know if you actually need to supplement, what kind of supplements you may need and what to avoid. The key quote from this article is: ” before buying any supplements: always ask yourself, “What am I trying to get this supplement to do that my diet cannot do?” Bodybuilders knew this before supplements were even invented and relied on the most anabolic hormone available – whole food.” Perfect Advice!
Healthy Meal Suggestions
1. Steak on Cheesy Potato Skins
Steak contains a ton of protein and iron. Natural cheese is high in protein and good healthy fats. Potatoes are a good source of vitamin B, potassium and with the skin on is a source of high protein. Once they’re peeled, the protein is cut in half. We recommend buying grass-fed antibiotic-free beef and cheese, and organic potatoes for optimal nutrients. Oh, and this looks absolutely delicious.
2. Whole Grain Toast with Nut Butter and Banana
Real nut butter is packed with protein and fats, is high in folate, magnesium, vitamin E, and vitamin B3. Add complex carbohydrates and fiber of whole grain bread. Top with a healthy fruit like bananas that are also high in Vitamin B, Potassium and Fiber and you’ve got a quality high calorie meal.
3. Granola with Nuts and Whole Milk Yogurt
This meal is high in protein from the yogurt, filled with complex carbohydrates from the oatmeal, and fiber from the fruit. It is a great quick-to-make calorie booster for anytime of the day. You can change it up with different fruits and toppings.
4 Avocado and tomato salad
One half of an avocado contains 140 calories, but also contains high levels of potassium, folic acid, and vitamin E. Avocado is also filled with B vitamins and is a great source of healthy fats. Tomatoes are actually a fruit that contain a wide array of beneficial nutrients and antioxidants like vitamins A and C and folic acid. Add this side to any lean meat and your golden.
5. Weight Gain Smoothies and Protein Drinks
Smoothies and protein drinks are the fastest way for your body to take in healthy calories and protein, and absorb all the other health benefits of the ingredients. This recipe includes coconut oil (a healthy fat), natural protein powder, and raw honey gives this smoothie a superfood boost for your immune system. A great snack or quick meal for anytime of the day.
Please remember the most important thing about trying to gain, lose, or maintain weight is maintaining your health. Real food is always the way.
Health trumps image any day!
Do you have any weight gain tips or a personal story to share?