You may want to get ripped with bulky muscles. Or, you may be desperate to add any kind of body fat so clothes don’t drape on you like you’re a hanger. Regardless, the general population might not be able to relate.
There was a time when a round figure was culturally acceptable, even appreciated. Curves on women were the trend and good-looking guys were considered “hunks.” Obviously, a hunk implies something substantial and not a sliver of a person. And voluptuous was Marilyn Monroe’s well sought-after figure.
Today, thin is in. Less is more when it comes to happy weight and, as celebrity styles’ reflect, the outfits worn. Not to digress on fashion trends, but most agree low-riders are more comfortable without a mid-section bulge. Hence, the thin person’s weight issues are often forgotten at best, or considered downright ridiculous.
Lament your angular shape no longer. It’s time to address how to gain weight. Safely.
Thin Doesn’t Always Mean Healthy
Obesity increases risks for all sorts of health issues. Yet being thin isn’t an easy pass to a healthy life. For example, cholesterol levels can be high even when numbers on the scale are not. Additionally, those underweight have increased risk for issues like osteoporosis and weakened immunity.
Some define underweight as having a body mass index below 18.5. Others will argue the reliability of body mass indexing (BMI) for any purpose. As a Center member, meet with your on-site nurse. You are entitled to a health assessment every 12 weeks, complete with BMI measurement. Determine your goals with medical insight, including your healthiest weight.
Nutrition versus Diet
Since “diet” often refers to fasting in an attempt for weight loss, it’s best to consider proper “nutrition.” Being thin is not a permission slip to stuff yourself with anything. (Recall blood fat levels aren’t always affected by body weight.) Rather, consume healthful calories with abandon. (Note: Although highly caloric, greasy fries and cheeseburgers aren’t considered healthful.)
Pack Yourself with Energy
Eating more may sound easy to a society constantly tempted with mindless eating opportunities. As a thin person trying to become healthier, eating mindfully remains important, especially during the frequent snacking recommended. You may wish to add small extra meals to your day to avoid feeling over-full. This is often recommended, regardless of weight goals.
Choose foods loaded with nutrients as well as calories. This assures a boost to weight and energy level. You aren’t just eating more; you’re eating healthy. Whether you’re thick or thin, healthy food choices trump all. To increase weight, each day it’s necessary to exceed your calorie maintenance level. Consuming less or the same amount of calories won’t deliver results, regardless of how much weight pumped on the Exercise Floor for bulk.
Feast on these for healthy weight gain:
Avocados: A super food, with over 200 calories each. They contain more potassium than bananas, are loaded with fiber, and rich in vitamins B, K, and E. Studies have linked them to lower blood cholesterol levels. Currently, they’re under investigation to be considered as a cancer-fighting food.
100% Juice: Often touted as one of the causes for childhood weight issues, a fresh glassful gives a boost of calories and nutrients. Loaded with vitamins and minerals, pure fruit juice is a good pick-me-up. Avoid “cocktails” and other tricky labeling like “contains 100% vitamin C.” This distraction technique usually translates as sugar and syrup additives. You need fuel to build your body.
Breakfast Goes Mainstream: Bagels and granola can be enjoyed around-the-clock as healthful snacks. Bagels are loaded with complex carbohydrates and more than double the calories found in a slice of bread. Given the choice, use bagels for sandwich construction. Eat bagels with eggs in place of toasted bread. Add calories with omega-3 butter replacement spread, low-fat cream cheese, or 100-percent fruit preserves.
Go nuts with a granola creation. Add nuts and seeds to dried fruit and cereal for a convenient treat that travels well. Rich in polyunsaturated fats, nuts and seeds offer a healthy crunch with plenty of benefits and calories. Toss in raisins for a quick-cal boost. They don’t take up much space, yet a half-cup has well over 200 calories. Add dark chocolate or peanut butter chips to kick it up. Change the ingredients, but make the trail-mix concept a staple.
Mangia: Go Italian. Pasta drizzled with olive oil adds rich flavor and healthy monounsaturated fats. Top with hearty tomato sauce for lycopene benefits and shredded cheeses for a caloric calcium boost. Enjoy with a crusty piece of bread, the thin person’s condiment.
Increase Muscle Size
Combined with consuming more calories, you can healthfully gain weight by building muscle. The perk: Weight gain from muscle bulk looks as impressive as it feels. Banish insecurities of scrawny stature with an exercise program to supplement your new nutritional requirements.
Personal trainers suggest resistance training to beef up musculature build. Incorporate weight lifting, and use tools like exercise bands, to accomplish a muscle-building program. Consult with a personal trainer to learn the best exercise equipment and execution for accomplishing your goals. S/he can also help calculate the calorie consumption and energy expenditure ratio needed to increase your weight.
Perhaps you’d like a little extra padding in the glutes. Although your neighbor may be more than willing to share excess, shape is something we often have to carve on our own. A trainer can show you how. S/he can also advise on the best approach to cardio fitness. Often, traditional aerobic exercises accomplish fat loss.
Quick Calorie Boosters
- Enjoy a slice of whole-grain bread with meals and snacks.
- Slather on apple or almond butter as a topping.
- Drink whole milk for a nutritious snack or with meals. (Add chocolate syrup.)
- Make shredded cheese a regular topping. (If you have high cholesterol, be moderate.)
- Enjoy yogurt with mix-ins like nuts, honey, and oats.
- Pile your plate with starchy carbohydrates, such as potatoes, corn, rice, or pasta.
Know you aren’t alone. The Center’s diverse membership means we’re about more than the latest fad workouts and diets. By focusing on the individual, you, we can help reach myriad health goals. Team with a trainer, instructor, nutritionist, and nurse. Gaining weight may not be everyone’s aspiration, but achieving optimum health absolutely is.
“Healthy Foods to Help You Gain Weight,” by Shereen Jegtvig at www.about.com.
“How Do I Gain Weight?” by Shereen Jegtvig at www.about.com.
Half-skinny jeans: www.flickr.com/photos/kateconsumption/154409215/
Marilyn Monroe: www.flickr.com/photos/heatherbuckley/4632709193/
Avocado salad: © Matevž Likar at www.dreamstime.com
Body Pump: Les Mills