If you’re underweight and trying to raise the number on the scales, the experience can be just as difficult as someone trying to lose weight. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not just a matter of eating all junk food in sight! Doing so will just add empty calories to your diet that could very well lead you to put on weight, but may leave you unhealthy on the inside.
The causes and risks of being underweight
Low body weight can happen for a number of reasons – nutrition, medical-related weight loss, excessive amounts of exercise or having a physically active job (top athletes can struggle to keep weight on sometimes when training for an event or over the course of a sports season!), or simply genetics and a fast metabolism.
While society often focuses on the risks of being overweight, there are also risks associated with being underweight. People with a lower body weight may have slower recovery time following illness, a weaker immune system, or issues regulating hormones.
There are ways to healthily gain weight that will make sure you stay healthy both inside and out. Take a look at these tips to help you:
1. Add healthy extras
Try adding extra calories to your foods bear in mind that you don’t want to add too much sugar or fat into your diet though! Add calorie dense foods into your diet such as almond or peanut butter, small handfuls of raw nuts and avocados. Top soups and pasta dishes with grated cheese or light sour cream, and make sure you’re not skipping any meals. Try eating 5-6 small meals throughout the day to ensure you’re having healthy snacks in addition to your three main meals.
2. Drink extra calories
Find a fabulous smoothie recipe that you love; drinking your additional calories will help you to up your energy intake without feeling stuffed from overeating more solid foods. Try blending half a cup of milk, a handful of berries, one sliced banana, a tablespoon of natural yoghurt, a scoop of protein powder and a few ice cubes.
3. Do some strength training
By adding muscle, you can stay lean but add kilos to your body in a healthy way. Take up some kind of weight bearing exercise and do it on a regular basis – whether it’s with dumbbells, barbells, yoga or bodyweight training.
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