“You are so thin!” Some people might think that is a compliment. However, if you are very slim, cannot gain weight despite a healthy appetite and feel uncomfortable, remarks like these will further upset you. We outline how to gain weight healthily, with expert tips for men, women, and people with fast metabolisms who find it hard to reach a healthy weight.
Overview to underweight problems
A slim physique is often genetic. “Poor feed converters” can eat a lot without gaining weight, because their body does not store the energy it has absorbed in the form of calories in fat deposits, but uses it directly and converts it into heat.
Many underweight people want to know how to gain weight healthily. But the first rule is that it should not be too fast and should be achieved through nutrition and healthy eating. Half a kilo to a kilo per week is the recommendation for how to gain weight healthily – the same applies to those who want to lose weight, by the way. Patience is important: The body is not a machine: it can happen that, despite efforts, nothing happens on the scales for a few weeks.
Underweight is just as harmful to the body as being overweight. Hardly anyone can imagine that it can be difficult to gain weight. Most people want to lose weight, or at least keep their weight off. But there are also people who want to gain weight and who do not succeed. Also read how to gain muscle and lose fat: 5 key steps and complete guide.
How to gain weight healthily: Dangers of being underweight
Underweight people are more prone to infections and recover more slowly from illness. Often they are not resilient, tired and irritable. Long-term underweight can result in osteoporosis or hormonal changes, among other things. Girls and women who are severely underweight may have no menstrual period.
If the body is optimally supplied with nutrients through food, a slight underweight does not have to be a problem. However, those affected usually still suffer from their physical appearance.
How to gain weight healthily: how to know if you are underweight?
To assess body weight and thus underweight as well as overweight or ideal weight, doctors and nutritionists calculate the body mass index (BMI).
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), you are underweight if your body mass index (BMI) is below 18.5. From the age of 65, the limit is 22. There are separate values for children and young people, depending on age and gender. To calculate your body mass index, you need your height and weight.
Formula: BMI (kg / m²) = body weight [kg] / body size x body size [m²]
This means: BMI = (weight in kg) divided by (height in meters times height in meters)
With the BMI calculator you can quickly find out whether your body weight is within the normal range.
While a BMI of less than 18.5 is considered to be underweight, this does not have to be a cause for concern in the case of minor shortfalls. A health survey by the Robert Koch Institute from 2014/2015 showed: 1.8 percent of the adults questioned were underweight according to their own information. Women were affected significantly more often than men.
However, if the underweight is below 17.5, World Health Organization speaks of pronounced underweight, which not only puts a strain on the psyche.
Being underweight is often associated with nutritional deficiencies, which can have serious health consequences. If the body lacks energy in the form of carbohydrates , protein, fat, vitamins and important minerals such as calcium and magnesium, this can cause the following symptoms:
- decreased performance
- slight irritability
- weakened immune system due to the breakdown of muscles, adipose tissue and metabolically active cells
- increased risk of osteoporosis
- Cardiac arrhythmias up to heart failure due to electrolyte deficiency
- Muscle weakness
- Circulatory disorders and the resulting dizziness
- frequent freezing
- dull, dry hair
- dry skin and skin diseases
- hormonal changes (lack of menstruation up to infertility is possible)
- Stunted growth in children and adolescents
How to gain weight healthily: Causes of being underweight
There are people who, for genetic reasons, can eat as much as they want – but not gain weight. The reason for this lies in a very active metabolism: The calorie requirement of the “bad feed converters” is on average 300 to 400 calories higher than that of people who are among the “good feed converters” and tend to gain weight quickly. In addition to congenital underweight, there are other reasons for too few pounds on the scales:
- Lack of appetite, for example due to stress, hectic rush, grief or grief
- Diseases such as hyperthyroidism , chronic inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn ‘s disease or ulcerative colitis, metabolic disorders
- Food intolerance
- Eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia
How to gain weight healthily: when to get medical help
Just eat more – advice that people who are underweight hear often. However, gaining weight is not that easy, especially if you are underweight because of an illness. In this case, a doctor, psychotherapist or nutritionist can help and provide information about therapy options and the right diet.
How to gain weight healthily: How to gain weight fast women
Most women who feel too thin themselves not only want to see a certain number on the scales, they also want to feel good about themselves in their bodies. These include feminine curves. So it can be a little more fat – but please taut and in the right places.
If overweight women gain weight, the extra pounds often go to the usual places: the fat deposits move to the stomach, hips, thighs and buttocks. With thin or underweight women,
How to gain weight healthily: the right foods to choose
The goal for underweight people should be to gain through a balanced diet — the most intelligent method for how to gain weight fast for skinny people — and for this you need to know which food to gain weight with in a healthy manner. Eating high in calories without filling up too quickly is the method, but with the right foods, and to keep an eye on how many calories to gain weight.
So keep in mind how many calories to gain a pound: 3,500 … but also don’t assume this means just eating high calorie and fatty foods. That’s not the healthy path. Under no circumstances should you randomly cram fatty foods or sweets into yourself. With a healthy nutrition plan you supply your body with all the important nutrients and still increase your overall weight. Make sure to consume foods that are high in energy density. These include foods high in carbohydrates like pasta, rice, and potatoes.
The basis for how to gain weight healthily is a wholesome diet with many nutrient-rich foods such as fruit, vegetables, whole grain products, milk and dairy products.
Your diet should contain plenty of vitamins, trace elements and minerals, such as fruits and vegetables. Increase your fat intake, for example with high-quality vegetable oils such as olive and sunflower oil or fish, so that the body does not rely on its own fat stores for energy.
High calorie and healthy foods
Give full fat products priority over light variants. You can enjoy cheese, yoghurt and cream with full fat content. Fish is a great source of fat and cold water fish such as salmon, mackerel and herring in particular contain valuable omega-3 fatty acids. Caution should be exercised with other animal fats. Too much meat and sausage are not necessarily healthy for our bodies. But you don’t have to resist a good steak or the Sunday roast. We also recommend potatoes with butter, pasta with minced meat or cream sauce and whole grain products in general. If you don’t want to do without your beloved salad, enrich it with grains, cheese cubes, oil, avocado and pickled tomatoes.
You can use a few tricks to further increase the calorie content of your food: Mix the muesli with a little creme fraiche in the morning. You can refine your soup with cream. Enjoy pasta with lots of parmesan and don’t skimp on sandwiches with the camembert.
A few diet strategies can help underweight people who are otherwise healthy to bring the missing pounds back on the scales.
- Keep a nutrition log for about a week and calculate your current daily energy intake (for example with our food calculator ). The goal is to increase this value by 500 kilocalories.
- The easiest way to do this is to eat several small meals throughout the day. About five to six. Then you don’t even have to stuff yourself until you feel sick.
- Increase your weight with healthy foods. If you only eat fatty French fries, you are doing yourself and your body a disservice. You need foods that provide energy (carbohydrates) and also contain vitamins , minerals and trace elements. Of course, you also have to increase your fat intake so that your body uses less of its own fat stores for energy.
- There are plenty of high-calorie and healthy foods. A few examples: nuts, almonds, legumes, avocados, olives, dried fruits, bananas, whole wheat bread and whole wheat pasta. High-fat dairy products are also recommended, for example in the form of potatoes with sour cream, meatballs with cream quark, carrot and pea vegetables with butter, with a whole milk shake or whole milk yoghurt in between.
- Treat yourself to fish twice a week – ideal for example: fatty salmon – and a dish with quality meat. With vegetable and salad side dishes, which you prepare with a high-quality vegetable oil. And nibble on a few shortbread biscuits or homemade cakes. You can always have one or two granola bars or fruit slices with you for a short break.
- Arrange the food in an appetizing way. Quark with fresh strawberries from a porcelain bowl, garnished with a peppermint leaf, is more enjoyable to eat than a bland natural quark from a plastic cup.
- Increase the calorie content of your food. For example, you can mix a little cream under the morning muesli. You can enrich your soup with creme fraiche or a good vegetable oil such as cold-pressed olive oil. Parmesan is served over the pasta and, for example, a thick slice of full-fat cheese on the sandwich.
- Fruit juice also provides a lot of calories: A 250 milliliter glass of apple juice has 115 kilocalories, mainly due to the sugar it contains. Here, too, you can strike. For a change, you can use many types of fruit to prepare a delicious smoothie for in between.
Eat regularly, about five times a day. In addition to breakfast, lunch and dinner, at least two healthy snacks should be on the menu. The body can cope better with the larger amounts of energy anyway if you split it up over several meals instead of three large ones. And make time for your daily meals. Do not eat while standing, on the side and in stress, but concentrate on every bite.
Snacks for in between
Five to six small meals a day help you gain weight. Important: Eat in a quiet, stress-free atmosphere. As a late meal, a full-fat yogurt is better than a bag of chips. Fast food does little to meet the daily need for nutrients. However, you need to avoid burgers, fries and the like above all .
- Cheese cubes, olives, nuts, trail mix, cream yoghurts, muesli bars, yoghurt drinks, grains, bananas and dried fruit are ideal for nibbling between meals. You can also snack on a few shortbread cookies or treat yourself to a piece of cream cake at a family birthday without a guilty conscience.
- Even high-quality vegetable oils, nuts , cream or crème fraiche increase the energy content of soups, stews, potatoes, vegetables, pasta or rice dishes.
- Reach for foods with a high energy density : spreads such as nut butter and pesto and high-fat fish such as mackerel or salmon.
- For milk, yoghurt and cheese, prefer the cream and cream variants .
- The addition of sugar, syrup, honey, nuts or cream turns desserts into delicious calorie bombs.
- The high-energy variant choose: instead watermelon prefer bananas or prunes and cream mixture of milk and cereal cook instead of just using milk with a.
Avoid diet and light products
- Instead of mineral water, drink undiluted fruit and vegetable juices . Whole milk, cocoa, soy milk, lemonade, cola or milkshakes also help you gain weight. It is best to sweeten tea with honey or syrup.
- If you are underweight, you can stimulate your appetite with fresh herbs and spices such as parsley, coriander and caraway seeds.
- Variety on the plate and several courses also stimulate the appetite.
- It’s best to always have something to snack on in between, such as trail mix , nuts, dried fruit or chocolate.
- High-calorie drinking food from the pharmacy or drugstore is available in many different flavors and promotes weight gain .
Exercise helps to gain weight
Exercise is just as important in gaining weight as it is in losing weight. So that the new pounds do not turn into fat deposits, you should exercise specifically.
Regular exercise such as walking, gymnastics , cycling or swimming is important so that not only fat but also metabolically active muscle mass is added . A positive side effect: exercise whets your appetite.
Yoga , Pilates or muscle training on fitness equipment are best . If you want to gain weight, these activities are even more effective than endurance sports such as swimming, jogging, cycling or walking.
How to gain weight with a fast metabolism
When it comes to how to gain weight fast metabolism people face more challenges. A faster metabolism means your body burns calories faster. Therefore, you should eat more to gain weight. But pay attention to what you eat. If you consume too much processed sugar, for example in candy or sweetened beverages, it can have a negative impact on your health.
For how to gain weight with fast metabolism, first try to increase your caloric intake by eating regularly, eating larger meals, and choosing foods with natural sugars like whole grains or fruits.
Some women desire a faster metabolism because they think that this will make them lose weight. On the other hand, women with a high metabolism can get frustrated trying to gain weight and ask, “Why is my metabolism so fast?” Use this as a reminder that the cherries in your neighbor’s garden don’t always taste sweeter. Accept the uniqueness of your body and remember that you can be healthy with any body weight.
The fight for every single kilogram is tough in how to gain weight with high metabolism. Because there are good and ‘bad feed converters’ – slim and thin people who do not gain weight quickly usually belong to the bad feed converters. The body is simply not geared towards gaining weight. Being underweight is also always an expression of an energy deficit. That is, the body uses more energy than is supplied to it. The result: the body loses weight in order to meet its energy needs.
Gaining weight In particular, gaining weight quickly poses a major challenge for healthy underweight people. Often too much is expected too quickly – the motto is step by step.
Gain weight fast: calories at all costs
Both the targeted and individual intake of calories and the appropriate composition of the energy-supplying nutrients are essential for gaining weight quickly and healthily. Carbohydrates, fat and protein form the basis as the main energy source. In the case of high-quality fats, a lot of the food is allowed, because these are the best suppliers of calories.
During periods of intense weight gain, the amount of fat, which usually makes up 30 to 35 percent of food energy, can be increased to up to 50 percent. MCT fat products offer a good alternative for those with fat intolerance. If you want to gain weight quickly, there is no getting around carbohydrates. However, they often fill you up very quickly. Our tip: Simply refine the plate of noodles with two tablespoons of oil – then it slips better and you also fill up on valuable calories. The protein requirement is easily met with the consumption of fresh fish , meat and dairy products.
The energy requirement of every person is very different and depends on various factors – such as the basal metabolic rate, Gender, age and physical activity. Nevertheless, everyone can use reference values to calculate their personal additional energy requirements for effective and long-term weight gain.
If you can see the first progress in weight, it’s time to stick with it! Because if you fall back into old eating patterns after the first kilo, you can watch the pointer of the scale sink. In addition to a healthy, calorie-rich diet can sport also contribute to weight gain.
How to gain weight on legs
When you are gaining weight, there are two ways you can make your legs thicker. The first way is by increasing body fat. As a result, fat pads accumulate in certain areas of the body. For women, this is the area of the chest, hips and thighs.
In men, this is mainly the abdominal area. In a more targeted manner, you can make certain parts of the body, like the thighs, gain weight. Strength training in the lower half of the body means that the upper body does not grow with it.
The catch to how to gain weight in legs is, of course, you want muscle instead of gaining fat, as more muscle has numerous positive effects on our well-being, but one cannot be obtained without the other. Also read how to get bigger arms: training strategies and expert tips
In order to gain weight muscle, you have to be in a calorie surplus. This means that your body is consuming more energy than it is using. As a result, you build up new body fat in addition to new muscles. You have to accept that if you want to gain weight on your thighs, you also have to accept more body fat.
Of course, your diet shouldn’t consist solely of fast food and other very high-calorie foods. You should also consume fruits, vegetables, and especially foods that contain protein.
In order to build muscle, your body needs large amounts of protein. Experts recommend amounts of up to 2 grams per kilogram of body weight. For a woman weighing 60 kg, that’s 120 grams of protein.
To get this amount, you can also access a variety of foods. In the first place are animal foods such as cheese, eggs or meat, closely followed by vegetable protein bombs such as lentils, beans or soy products. Make sure that you do not only get yourself from one protein source, but also have a variety of products on the menu.
If you want to gain weight on your legs, you should definitely train your legs too. How you do that depends on your personal circumstances. If you go to the gym regularly, you have a lot more options than when you work out without special equipment in your living room at home.
One exercise that you can definitely do is squat. Squats have always been a favorite exercise, first because they are so effective and second because they are so strenuous. At home without equipment, you can squat with only your body weight and in the gym with a barbell or on a machine, or do strength training. You can also do interval training with running to focus on your legs.
How to gain weight healthily: top tips in summary
- Refrain from eating more fast food such as French fries or the like.
- Rather, choose healthy foods that provide you with plenty of calories and energy.
- These include whole grain bread, nuts, dried fruits, bananas, salmon, high fat cheese, cream, coconut milk, olives, avocado, and fruit juices.
- For milk, prefer the high-fat variant and avoid light products.
- You can prepare your muesli with cream instead of milk or with a spoonful of creme fraiche. Honey and nuts also enrich muesli and can make desserts more nutritious.
- In addition to the three main meals, take 2-3 snacks between meals.
- Do sport so that the pounds you gain are distributed in the right places.
- As soon as you have reached normal weight, you should reduce the daily amount of calories again.
Note : If you lose weight significantly or lose weight noticeably quickly without your eating habits having changed, you should consult a doctor to rule out serious illnesses.