yes, you have read correctly! Today I will write about the difficult issue of gaining weight. Not the weight gain in the sense of bodybuilding, but in the sense of underweight people who need to put on weight. They do exist and gaining weight can be just as difficult as losing weight. Believe it or not. People who need to gain weight often get the compassionate look by the rest of the world and are not taken serious at all. Losing weight needs a lot of discipline concerning food restrictions and exercise. I know that. But people who need to gain weight often battle just as desperately and even worse since there is a limit of food intake and the risk of serious illness and damage to the body is very imminent.
I just had lunch with a colleague, a lady of about 60 years, 1,60m of height, who used to be in great shape, slim, but rounded and muscular in the right places and who over the last 6 months due to a lot of stress and personal issues has lost a lot of weight and is now seriously struggling to put the weight back on. Same issue I came across a few years ago when I was approached in Dubai by a worried parent who saw his teenage boy just growing in height, but not at all in weight.
The problem of people like this often is that even though the maybe do like to eat their metabolism burns the calories so fast that they would have to eat heaps and heaps of food in order to gain weight. I myself had the same problem some years ago when my doctor told me “If you want to get pregnant you have to put on at least 3-4kg.” HELP! What to do?
So already at that time I started to look more detailed into the matter since for me it was definitely no option to stuff myself with sweets, cream, fatty cheese etc and then surely gain weight, but in a very unhealthy and uncomfortable way.
We have to be aware that there are many reasons for underweight and it is vital to define the cause of it in a first step and adapt the diet to the individual person. For someone, who has had for example parts of his stomach removed, fatty foods make no sense just as an older person with tooth issues cannot be recommended to eat lots of nuts. There is always an individual approach, designed to the particular patients needs.
But in the end the important thing is – as it always is – to eat the right things and I just would like to present you with this overview of nutritious foods, which are appropriate for a healthy weight gaining diet.
Your diet should – as always – consist of mainly vegetables, fruit, salad, nuts, sprouts, healthy fatty acids, healthy carbohydrates and healthy protein. For an underweight person the consumption of protein and energetic food has to be increased.
1. High quality fatty acids, like nuts, nut mousses, almonds, oil seeds (like hemp, fresh linseed), avocado, coconut, coconut milk olives, organic cream and natural, cold-pressed oil (olive oil, hemp oil, coconut oil, organic butter, ghee etc).
2. High quality carbohydrates, like dried fruits, quinoa, amaranth, chestnuts and derived products, millet, wholegrain rice, buckwheat, spelt and rye, oats.
3. High quality proteins, like nuts, almonds, quinoa, millet, oats, pulses, chia seeds, organic eggs, fish, organic meat, hemp protein, rice protein and natural, organic protein powder.
6-8 meals per day would be ideal, like this the calorie quantity can be systematically increased. It is important to never exhaust the glycogens in the body and thus avoid the reduction of proteins and fat in the body. Bitter food increases the appetite, fruit as a starter stimulates the appetite as well.
As I mentioned before: not everyone can eat just all of these recommended nutrients! It is very important to first determine the reason for a person’s underweight before starting the diet. And never neglect exercise, just stay out of the fatburn mode. Immobility though is a killer for everyone, overweight or underweight.
To all of you, who have to gain weight: good luck! I know how hard it is! ….