For most people who are genetically lean, reaching a healthy weight is easier said than done. Use the Weight Gain Calculator to start a healthy weight gain process. Learn More.
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Although a slim physique is desirable for many, being underweight has even been linked with several health concerns including having a short lifespan. A survey found that about 20% of adults in India are underweight. Therefore, attempts should be made to maintain weight in the healthy range.
For most people who are genetically lean, reaching a healthy weight is easier said than done. Weight gain is a systematic process that involves consuming more calories than your body is able to burn. The exact number of calories to be consumed depends on the height, weight, age, and level of activity.
A Weight Gain Calculator is an easy and convenient way to determine the daily caloric requirement to gain weight gradually over a fixed period of time.
Here’s how you can use a Weight Gain Calculator.
Visit a credible website or use an app that features a Weight Gain Calculator.
Feed in details such as your gender, enter your height (in cm), weight (in kg), age (in years), level of activity (whether you exercise regularly or have a sedentary job), your target weight, and how much weight you want to gain each week.
Hit calculate and it will give you the details.
The number of calories required to gain weight in a healthy manner differs from person to person. On average, it is recommended to consume 300-500 calories over the maintenance level to gain about 250 to 500 grams every week for safe weight gain. Consuming approximately 1,000 calories more than your regular diet each day can help you gain about 1 kg each week.
Using a Weight Gain Calculator is especially important for people who are underweight. While most people consider being slim to be the ultimate goal, being too thin comes with its own set of problems. If your body mass index (BMI) is below 18.5, you are underweight.
Check out: BMI Calculator
Here are the major risks associated with being underweight.
People who are underweight are at a higher risk of developing osteoporosis, decreased muscle strength, and infections because of poor immunity.
They often suffer from malnutrition and various vitamin and mineral deficiencies that result in weakness.
Women who are underweight may also face difficulty in getting pregnant.
Some people who have the habit of skipping meals or eating too little are often underweight. However, some people who eat a healthy diet also often fail to gain weight especially if they have a familial tendency of a lean physique. This is a body type known as an ectomorph. Ectomorphs are generally thin, with slender hips and waist, and with low body fat levels and muscle mass.
Some of the pathological causes of being underweight include the following.
Gastrointestinal issues like nausea and vomiting that make it difficult to eat
Hormonal disorders like hyperthyroidism and diabetes
Eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa
Chronic stress and anxiety
Elderly people with dementia who may forget to eat
If you think that increasing your caloric intake means gorging on pizzas and burgers and sipping soda all day long, you’re in for a rude shock.
An unhealthy diet comes with its own risks such as diabetes and heart disease. Unhealthy sources mainly cause an increase in the fat content of the body with no increase in muscle mass. Here are a few food groups to avoid while trying to gain weight.
Refined carbohydrates: These lack fibre and other nutrients and include foods made with maida (all-purpose flour) such as bread, biscuits, cake, etc. It also includes refined sugar found in desserts, cereals, and so on.
Trans fats and saturated fats: While french fries, chips, and donuts are tempting, these deep fried foods are extremely risky to consume. Research states that the consumption of trans fats can increase inflammation in the body, damage blood vessels and even cause cancer in the long term.
But does this mean you need to cut out carbohydrates and fats entirely? Definitely not. Here are some healthy food sources that you can add to your diet instead.
Carbohydrates: Foods such as quinoa, oats, sweet potato, etc., although rich in carbohydrates are nutritious and recommended for weight gain. Fresh fruits too may have carbs but these are unprocessed and do not pose the same risks as processed foods. Therefore, adding whole grains and whole fruit will provide added fibre, vitamins, and minerals.
Protein: A significant part of gaining weight is increasing lean muscle mass. Hence, consuming protein (the building blocks of muscle) is vital. Normally, adults are recommended to consume 0.8g of protein per kg of body weight. While trying to build muscles, this amount is increased to 1.5-2 g per kg along with strength training. Therefore, it is important to add lean meats, eggs, legumes, etc. to the daily diet.
Fats: Adding a good amount of healthy fats (unsaturated fats) has multiple health benefits, particularly in improving heart health. Some options include olive oil, nuts, nut butter, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, etc.
Maintaining a high-protein diet with a good dose of healthy fats helps gain weight safely. Here is an approximate distribution of macronutrients to maintain in your daily diet.
Type of diet
Weight gain diet
This distribution is just one of the many recommendations and may need to be modified as per body type and level of activity.
Follow these generic tips to gain weight.
Ensure that you eat meals regularly as per the caloric requirement estimated by the Weight Gain Calculator. Do not skip meals.
Simple changes like adding healthy fats in the form of nuts and seeds in salads or using full cream milk can be helpful.
Avoid drinking water or other fluids with major meals to ensure you eat well.
Special attention is to be given to increasing protein intake by using protein powders.
Contrary to popular belief, working out does more than help lose weight. Exercise can be a valuable tool to build muscle mass. Maintain a regular exercise schedule with a balance of strength training and cardio.
A regular sleep schedule with 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night is a must for recovery.
If you are pregnant and underweight, consult a doctor.
Although fruits are very healthy, some of them are high in calories and carbohydrate content. Fruits such as bananas, mangoes, and avocados can help you gain weight.
Drinking sodas and packaged juices cause weight gain but they are high in processed sugars and should be avoided. Drinks with protein powders made with full-fat milk are a healthy way to gain weight.
With a healthy diet and regular workouts, it is recommended to gain weight at the rate of 250 to 500 grams per week. Gaining weight at a faster rate is not recommended. Rapid weight gain could also indicate some underlying medical conditions.
Disclaimer: The content on this page is generic and shared only for informational and explanatory purposes. It is based on industry experience and several secondary sources on the internet, and is subject to changes.