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How to Gain Weight

“If I could give one tip for people – it’s not an exercise or nutrition regimen. It’s to walk your talk and believe in yourself, because at the end of the day, the dumbbell and diet don’t get you in shape. It’s your accountability to your word.”

Brett Hoebel

For the majority of Americans, “envious” is the word that comes to mind for anyone who needs to gain weight. Most people are on the other end of the scale, desperately trying to lose weight.

But for people who struggle to maintain a healthy weight or are trying to gain weight, it can be a real challenge. Reasons for needing to gain weight include health issues, lack of appetite, fueling sports, building muscle, or just trying to overcome skinny genes.

Being a little underweight is not necessarily a problem. If you are comfortable, able to function and exercise, weighing a little less than your ideal body weight is not a problem and studies show it is associated with good health outcomes.

However, if you want or need to gain weight, do it the healthy way — which is not about bellying up to an all-you-can-eat buffet but rather choosing a little more healthy options.

Here are some tips to gain weight when you’re underweight:

  1. Eat more frequently. When you’re underweight, you may feel full faster. Eat five to six smaller meals during the day rather than two or three large meals.

  2. Choose nutrient-rich foods. As part of an overall healthy diet, choose whole-grain breads, pastas and cereals; fruits and vegetables; dairy products; lean protein sources; and nuts and seeds.

  3. Try smoothies and shakes. Don’t fill up on diet soda, coffee and other drinks with few calories and little nutritional value

  4. Watch when you drink. Some people find that drinking fluids before meals blunts their appetite. In that case, it may be better to sip higher calorie beverages along with a meal or snack. For others, drinking 30 minutes after a meal, not with it, may work.

  5. Make every bite count. Snack on nuts, peanut butter, cheese, dried fruits and avocados. Have a bedtime snack, such as a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, or a wrap sandwich with avocado, sliced vegetables, and lean meat or cheese.

  6. Top it off. Add extras to your dishes for more calories — such as cheese in casseroles and scrambled eggs, and fat-free dried milk in soups and stews.

  7. Have an occasional treat. Even when you’re underweight, be mindful of excess sugar and fat. An occasional slice of pie with ice cream is OK. But most treats should be healthy and provide nutrients in addition to calories. Bran muffins, yogurt and granola bars are good choices.

  8. Exercise. Exercise, especially strength training, can help you gain weight by building up your muscles. Exercise may also stimulate your appetite

  9. Drink 100% natural juices. They will add calories to your daily intake

  10. Have a nutrient dense breakfast, lunch and dinner. Include protein and good fats in every meal.

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