Looking slim and fit is desirable but a skinny frame is not appealing at all. The grass is always greener on the other side! If you are fat, you want to be skinny and if you are thin, you want to put on some weight. Ironic, isn’t it?
Women with thin frame try to gain weight using different products which usually have unwanted side effects. Remember that your health is precious; you can’t compromise with anything. After all, you are most likely trying to put on weight only to be healthier. What’s the point of trying an unhealthy method to gain weight? Thus, the best and only option is to opt for natural methods.
Before we look at a diet chart to gain weight, let us look at some of the possible reasons as to why you are underweight.
Reasons for Being Underweight
Anyone who is 15-20% below the normal weight for age and height is defined as underweight. This implies that if you are aged between 25-50 years and your height is 1.63 meters then your weight should be 59kgs. If your weight is less than that you are underweight. When the body weight falls to 50kg (15%) and 47kg (20%) it is termed as underweight. A woman weighing 59kgs should have a body mass index of 22. As the weight drops the BMI comes down to 18, 8 (-15%) which is still within normal range or 17,7 (-20%) which is below normal.
For a man aged between 25-50 years with an average height of 1.76 meters, a normal body weight with healthy BMI should be 71kg. Reduction of weight to 15-20% will also reduce the Body mass index. For instance, the reduction of weight to 60kg and 57kg can result in BMI of 19.4 and 18.4 respectively.
It is very important to understand the reason behind a drastic loss in weight. There can be both psychological and physical reasons behind the loss of weight. Let’s delve into the reasons behind weight loss.
Physical Reasons behind Severe Weight Loss:
- Hyperthyroidism: The hormone thyroxin produced by the body is often regarded as the ‘conductor’ or the ‘orchestra of the body’. If the thyroxin levels are normal then metabolism, height and weight are within the limits. If the function of thyroid gland is disrupted then the body’s metabolism, heartbeat and body temperature becomes deranged and there is pronounced weight loss.
Overactive thyroid or Hyperthyroidism is associated with symptoms like goiter or a lump in the throat, exophthalmos (bulging eyeballs), high temperature, excessive sweating, nervousness, fatigue, increased heart rate and weight loss despite eating properly.
In case of hyperthyroid the doctor will ask you to do some blood test to detect the thyroid hormone levels in the blood.
- Cancer: Malignancy or cancer can cause rapid weight loss, fatigue, lack of appetite, nausea and inability to gain weight. Since cancer has serious repercussions it is important to consult the doctor who will do a thorough examination to see whether you are suffering from leukemia or other types of cancer.
- Tuberculosis: Tuberculosis is very common in South Africa. It is accompanied by weight loss, coughing, night sweats and extreme fatigue. If the drastic weight loss is due to tuberculosis you need immediate treatment. Tuberculosis is a curable disease if diagnosed at the early stages.
- Diabetes: Diabetes can result in both obesity and weight loss. If you have a family history of diabetes and you are experiencing excessive thirst and urination and fatigue, you need to check your blood sugar and insulin levels. Consult a doctor immediately and take measures to curb diabetes to lead a healthy life.
- HIV Aids: HIV Aids is also referred to as ‘slim disease’ and it actually prevents weight gain and causes pronounced weight loss. If medical tests detect that you have HIV Aids you need to have medications and make some diet and lifestyle changes to increase your chance of survival and improve your general health. An early diagnosis can help cure this disease effectively.
- Crash Diet and Starvation: Many girls starve to get the desirable size zero figures. Yes it is in fashion but it is definitely not a healthy way to lose weight. You can still have a healthy figure by having a balanced diet! So why starve and compromise on health when you can have healthy and tasty food to stay fit.Even crashed diets are not a good option to lose weight, if you really need to stay fit you have to exercise and make a plan to lose weight gradually and methodically. Weight loss is possible but at the same time, the body gets deprived of essential nutrients.
- Liver and Kidney Disease: Kidney problems cause in change in urination, you may attend the restroom several times but still you feel that urine was not sufficient. There will be fluid retention, nausea and vomiting, fatigue, skin rash and itching, metallic taste in the mouth and smell of ammonia in the breath. The lack of appetite with fever triggers weight loss. Similarly, liver problems also cause various gastrointestinal problems and it results in weight loss.
- Medicines: Sometimes harsh medicines like antibiotics lower the appetite and have many side effects. Due to lack of appetite you don’t feel like eating and deprive yourself from important nutrients that help in growth or development. So medicines can be one of the reasons behind acute weight loss. You have to check with your doctor or pharmacist if you have started a new medicine and having weight loss.
- Eating Disorders: If you have anorexia or bulimia then you are bound to lose weight drastically. Eating disorders are very common in America, 1 or 2 out of 100 youngsters suffer from eating disorders. The most common disorders are anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. Other disorders are binge eating, body image disorders and food phobias.
People with anorexia fears that they are gaining excessive weight and have a distorted view of their body size and shape. So it is difficult for them to maintain a normal body weight. Those who have anorexia starve, eat small amounts of food, and do excessive exercise. Eating less and dieting becomes an obsession. This problem is more psychological which have adverse effects on general health of the person. Some anorexic people do binge eating and then they try to vomit out the food or use laxatives to cut down on calories.
Bulimia is similar to anorexia; a person eats excessive amounts of food and then vomits it out or do excessive exercise to prevent weight gain. Bulimia has dangerous repercussions both physically and psychologically, since bulimia leads to compulsive behavior. In case of bulimia, the person binges regularly and purges for a couple of months. Some people affected with bulimia eat junk food in excess. They often eat uncooked food even if they are in a frozen or sometimes pick up food from the trash bin because they can’t stop eating. After excessive eating they force themselves to vomit or do excessive exercise.
People with anorexia are usually thin but those affected with bulimia can be either thin or overweight.
- Enzyme Deficiency: If stomach wall is not secreting sufficient digestive enzyme that is essential for digestion and absorption of nutrients that help in physical development. This enzyme deficiency is the reason behind weight loss.
- Hereditary Factors: Weight changes in a person depend on the interaction of behavioural, environmental and genetic factors. Even if a person tries to gain weight even after doing weight management then one has to understand that genetic factors are influencing weight gain. If the parents are underweight then there are high chances that their offspring will be underweight too! Just like obesity is depended on genetic factors so is weight loss.
- Depression: Depression is one the prime psychological reason behind weight loss. Depression not only leads to reduced appetite but it also cause drastic weight loss. One needs to attend a counseling session to reduce mental stress and depression before it affects your health otherwise you will feel fatigued, won’t be able to do simple tasks properly and think of ways to destroy oneself.
Health Problems Caused By Being Underweight
If you are really happy with the fact that you have lost weight and now have a size zero figure like your favourite celebrity, then you should know what damage you are doing to your health. Balance is the key factor behind good health. Obesity is such a big problem that one ignores the problems of people who are underweight. Fat is no doubt bad for health but some amount of fat is essential for the body to utilize it like a fuel to store energy. People of body mass index (BMI) less than 18.5 might have chronic health problems in the long run.
Did you know that thin people can also have an increased risk of diabetes? Thin people may not have a thick layer of fat in their abdomen and be in a great shape, but this fat accumulated after eating junk food can settle around lungs and heart thus causing diabetes and cardiovascular disease. A 2011 study shows that ‘lean genes’ can be a reason behind diabetes in very thin people.
Generally a person who is under weighted has a weak immune system. The immune system acts like a guard against abnormal foreign bodies that cause disease. Very thin people are more prone to illness during the cold and flu season. Those who are underweight can also have cancer; this is caused due to abnormal cell growth in the body.
Many people who have low weight feel tired most of the time. This lack of energy is one of the main symptoms of anemia. When the body doesn’t receive enough fuel to energize then the red blood cells also fail to multiply. These red blood cells have a protein called hemoglobin that carries oxygen to all parts of the body. Anemia is caused mainly due to nutritional deficiencies. Lack of folate and vitamin B cause anemia. So underweight people should eat properly and take nutritional supplements to prevent or cure anemia.
If you have low weight then you can have fertility problems and will find it difficult to conceive. Your menstrual cycle because very irregular. If the menstrual cycle is irregular then it becomes difficult to sustain a pregnancy because it affects the uterine lining from where the fetus derives nutrients. Underweight women have 72% chances of miscarriage. Underweight men can’t escape either they also have sexual problems like erectile dysfunction, painful intercourse and problems in ejaculation. A man’s weight and the health of the sperm are also interlinked.
Both men and women who have very low weight have an increased risk of osteoporosis or weak bones. This happens due to hormonal changes and lack of vitamin D and Calcium. An accident cause bone fracture or sometimes death in underweight person. In women, lack of estrogen can lead to bone breakage or weak bones. One should consult the doctor and dietician and start gaining weight in a healthy way.
People follow absurd fad diets to follow a trend and have slimming pills to look great. Don’t forget that you can still look glamorous by eating healthy. It is no use staying malnourished and staying away from some deliciously cooked homemade food.
Home Remedies to Gain Healthy Weight:
We all have warped perceptions regarding the ‘ideal figure’. The view gets further distorted when we see the media referring to some skinny celebrities as ‘beautiful and gorgeous’. All want to have a figure like her. So the rat race to look beautiful starts by starving oneself. So the myth eating more makes us fat is reinforced. Little does one know that gaining weight can be done by eating in a planned way but not eating less?
Being underweight can be due to some undiagnosed disease which is yet to be investigated. It is best to do an annual checkup and listen to your body’s needs. It is also important to remain stress free, cheerful and sleep well if you don’t want to be called a ‘potato on the stick’ by your friends.
The symptoms of underweight are unexplained fatigue due to decline in stamina and a general malaise. You need to ask your doctor about healthy ways to increase stamina by having health drinks and nutritional supplements.
Quit smoking and having excess of alcohol and caffeinated drinks to allow proper physical development to take place to stay healthy and have weight and BMI within normal limits.
Proper Diet Chart for Weight Gain:
Weight gain can be strenuous and time-consuming. Eating a lot of food throughout the day will not add to your weight. Your aim is to put on weight in a healthy manner, not to add few unhealthy kilos to your otherwise skinny frame! Focus on eating food but at the right time and the right quantity.
[ Read: Food for Weight Gain ]
1. Include calories in your diet:
You need to take in more than 250 calories daily to add roughly half a kilo to your current weight. Eat foods that are rich in calories like Pulses, cereals, meat, bread, rice, dry fruits and nuts. Avoid fast food or cereal bars.
Everything that we eat has some calorie content to it. So like we eat food with fewer calories to lose weight, we need to eat food that has more calories to gain weight. Add vegetables like French beans, broccoli, Chinese cabbage, carrots, lettuce, spinach, asparagus, pumpkins and eggplants to your diet. They have higher calorie content among the vegetable sources. Add a healthy portion of red meat to your diet too. But keep in mind notto overdo it. The aim is not add weight not cholesterol! The same way you can make paneer and the restaurant style food a part of your diet too. Add that extra dollop of butter over your homemade paneer curry. Fry your aloos’ a little more than usual.
You can even add olive oils in generous quantities to your salads. Another way to add calories to your diet is by increasing the consumption of dairy products. Don’t cut back on the fat content in your milk. Do not ask for low fat curds at the store. Make sure you consume a full calorie dairy product. And make it a point to snap up those milk shakes every once in a while! When you’re picking up a sandwich from outside, don’t go easy on the sauces. Can there be a more delicious way to put on weight?
[ Read: How To Gain Weight for Girls ]
2. Increase the number of meals:
Have six meals in a day, three big meals and three small. Breakfast, lunch and dinner should be heavy and calorie rich. A heavy dinner adds weight to your body as your metabolism is not as active when you sleep as compared to when you are awake.
For breakfast, go for a full bowl of cereal and add toasted bread with butter or a fruit. And if you’re not a big fan of butter then you can always skip to cheese or a yummy spread of peanut butter and jelly! For snacks, have nuts and dry fruits, fruits and boiled veggies with a dollop of cream or sandwiches with cheese. Any vegetable or fruit or actually anything healthy that has higher calorie content is welcome. You can even add some more items to your dessert tray. And once in a while skip the healthy stuff for snacks and go all out crazy on cakes, pizzas, burgers and whatever else your heart fancies. It is okay to give into your taste buds every once in a while. Don’t be stingy on the number of times you eat! You can add items like the granola and corn bread to your snacks list too. Granola’s are made of nuts and oats and are very good for your health along with being fattening.
3. High proteins along with calories:
Only calories won’t add to your body weight, include the right amount of proteins to your diet.
Eggs, lean meat, fish, pulses, sprouts and dairy products will give you enough protein necessary to build muscles. Remember ladies you want to put on weight and look fit, you need to build muscles not flab. Fish such as tuna and mackerel are rich in oil and are one of the best ways to increase weight.
Here we present you with a diet chart that you may follow to put on extra weight:
What to have
|Before breakfast||7 a.m. – 8 a.m.||A cup of tea or cappuccino will full fat milk and sugar.|
|Breakfast||8 a.m. – 9 a.m.|| |
|After Breakfast||10 a.m. – 11 a.m.||A glass of full fat milk with some health drink.|
|Lunch||12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.|| |
|Afternoon snack||5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.|| |
|Dinner||8:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.|| |
|Before bed||10:30 p.m. – 11 p.m.|| |
This is a nutritious and best diet chart to gain weight easily.
4. Weight gain supplements:
Another way to go about this is by adding some additional supplements to your diet too. In some cases, just the diet and exercise don’t work fast enough. In this case, adding some supplements that add to the body mass and aid in muscle development is the best route to take. Throw in some whey proteins with your milk or smoothies. But one product that has been spoken off a lot off late is the weight gainers supplement.
5. Workout to gain weight:
Sometimes gaining weight isn’t just about adding a few pounds but it is also about building muscles. The best way to go about this is to start working out. Developing your muscles not only makes them stronger but it also adds mass. This is definitely the right mix to gain weight.
Don’t rush yourself! Gaining weight is not an overnight miracle. It requires a lot of patience and perseverance from your end. Remember to eat healthy and exercise every day. You will succeed in your weight gain mission. Stay fit, stay healthy!
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