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While most people are busy trying to shed a few kilos, there is a completely opposite set who find it difficult to gain weight. Yes, you are not alone. There are a lot of people who for one reason or another just can’t seem to put on a curvy waistline no matter what they eat. Some may call it a blessing, but poorly fitting clothes are not the only grief of underweight women, it may also lead to menstrual problems and pregnancy complications.
In an attempt to ward off these problems some may start munching on junk food, just worsening the situation. It has been scientifically proven that thin people who consume fatty foods have a body composition like that of an obese individual. Popularly known as skinny fat.
But don’t worry, gaining weight is not as difficult as you may think. You just need to know the right tricks to gain muscle mass. Thanks to your metabolism, your body will not horde fats as quickly, might as well use this in your favour and get yourself those luscious curves to flaunt?

(Read more- Diet chart for weight gain)

  1. Do you really need to put on weight?
  2. Health issues with being underweight in women
  3. Reasons for being underweight for women
  4. How to gain weight for women
  5. Tips to gain weight for women

Absence of body curves and poorly fitting clothes is a huge grief for thin women. But you can’t just decide to gain extra kilos on the basis of a dress fitting. Instead, to ascertain if you are indeed underweight you need to know your body mass index or BMI.
BMI helps you measure your body fat on the basis of your height and weight.

Mathematically: BMI = Weight (Kg)/Height (m2)

Once you calculate yours, use the following chart to find out which category you fall in and exactly how much weight you need to put on.

  • Underweight: <18.5
  • Normal weight: 18.5–24.9
  • Overweight: 25–29.9
  • Obesity: BMI of 30 or greater

A woman’s body undergoes various changes throughout her life. Being underweight can not hinder those transitions and also lead to many health conditions. Here is a small list of such conditions that underweight women are prone to:

  • Menstrual irregularities: The regularity of menstrual cycle reflects how healthy a woman is. If a woman becomes underweight, her period cycle also gets affected. In extreme cases, underweight issues may even stop ovulation (Read more: Irregular periods treatment)
  • Difficulty in pregnancy: Irregularities in the menstrual cycle make it difficult to conceive, especially if the woman has completely stopped ovulating. Underweight women are also at a high risk of mortality during pregnancy. Most women with lower than normal body weight tend to give birth to preterm babies with low birth weight. So, it is important for women to be healthy and fit to get pregnant
  • Health issues: Apart from the difficulty in pregnancy and menstrual cycles, medical issues like anaemia and osteoporosis are seen quite frequently in skinny women. Moreover, due to being underweight, their immune system also becomes weak. Hence, there is a high chance that such women will get affected by infectious disease easily and frequently
  • Depression:  Being underweight does not just affect one's physical health but also mental health. Research evidence suggests that women who are underweight are more prone to depression than normal-weight women. So, if you are underweight and often find it difficult to lighten up your mood, you know who to blame

There can be many reasons for being underweight. Genetics for once could be a major reason that you are not able to put up extra kilos. Just have a look at your family, if none seems to pile up weight, chances are it runs in your family. Apart from this, certain medical issues that affect your metabolisms like thyroid and diabetes can be a reason for you being underweight. Other issues that can lead to weight loss include:

  • Lack of appetite: This is the most common reason for underweight. Eating too less does not fulfil metabolic needs and leads to a skinny body. Stress, illness and substance abuse can be reasons for lack of appetite
  • Over-exercising: If you love to work out or have to do a lot of physical work throughout the day, it might be keeping you from putting on weight. Exercising is good for toning muscles but it also burns a lot of calories. If you are already underweight, it might be counterproductive for your health
  • Age: Most individuals after reaching their old age, lose their appetite. Older people also find it difficult to chew and have other health issues that degrade their appetite, ultimately leading to weight loss

Once you find out the reason for your underweight issues, it becomes pretty easy to get that curvy figure of your dreams. All you have to do is make minor lifestyle and dietary changes that is unless you are genetically gifted to be skinny. Unless they can pull out a miracle, there is only so much weight genetically thin people can put on before their genes start to resist it. But that doesn’t mean they can’t gain weight at all. With just the right incentive you can train your body to store more of its energy for muscle building, making you look toned and shapely at all the right places. Here are some tricks and tips you can use to gain weight fast and easily.

  1. Changing food habits to gain weight for women
  2. Foods to avoid to gain weight for women
  3. Treating medical conditions to gain weight for women
  4. Exercising to gain weight for women

Changing food habits to gain weight for women

Your food habits have a major role in determining your overall health. When it comes to weight issues, it’s not just what you eat but how much you eat that can impact your metabolism and total calorie intake. This section covers some such dietary changes that can aid you in putting on the kilos easily. 

  • Eat more: The first step to any weight gain diet is eating a little extra. Portion size is suggested to be the key factor responsible for overweight and obesity problems. But if you are underweight, you can use this factor in moderation and achieve your weight gain goals in no time. Bigger portion size will increase your total calorie intake throughout the day, leaving more energy for your body to use in muscle buildup. There are two ways you can do this:
    • Increase the amount of food you consume in every meal
    • Increase the number of meals you are consuming

Sudden drastic changes in food habits can lead to discomfort. So, it is best not to rush or start binge eating suddenly. Try increasing the portion of your meal day by day and one food at a time.

  • Eat smart: Increasing your total calorie intake is not the ultimate goal of a weight gain diet. Without the required nutrients all those calories are as good as empty fuel that does nothing for your health. So, along with going energy-dense you also need to think nutrient-dense. In other words, focus on eating healthy and rich food items, which are high in calories.
    Consider adding a complete package of protein, fats, vitamins and fibre to your meals. Every mineral and vitamin that you consume is required by the body for different functions. These functions are interdependent and equally important. Nutrient deficiency not only affects body functions but also makes you sick and lean with time. 

Here are some facts about the different category of nutrients you should know before you plan your diet:

  • Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates are considered to be the best foods for weight gain. As primary sources of energy, they are constantly needed for maintaining metabolic functions. However, it is important to choose your carbs wisely. 
    Instead of simple carbs and starchy foods, take in fibre rich foods, such as whole grains, fruits, leafy greens and cereals. Fibres not only help in proper digestion of food but also keep your digestive system healthy. And we all know that a healthy gut is a key to a healthy body.

  • Fats: Fats are a really important part of any weight gain diet. Though any kind of fat may help you put on some kilos, not all fats are good for your health. Fatty foods are characterised into three categories: saturated fats, unsaturated fat and trans fat. 
    For a healthy weight gain, you need to keep a balance between the intake of all of these. As a rule of thumb, reduce saturated fats (coconut oil, junk food) and increase the amount of unsaturated fats (canola oil, olive oil, nuts, avocados) in your diet. 
    Saturated fats are said to increase the risk of heart problems and also increase cholesterol level. On the other hand, trans fat is processed unsaturated fat and is responsible for cardiovascular diseases, breast cancer and many more conditions. Unsaturated fats are considered good fats and have been proven to be really healthy for both your heart and overall health.
  • ​Proteins and minerals: Proteins are the building blocks of the body. They help repair all the wear and tear your body goes through the day and are also helpful in increasing total muscle mass. So, to gain weight, it is really important that you take a sufficient amount of protein in your diet. Some food items rich in protein include egg, milk, bean, soy products, poultry and peas. You can also take protein supplements. Make sure you check in with a dietician to know the right amount of protein intake as per your age as excess protein may lead to uric acid accumulation and joint pain

Foods to avoid to gain weight for women

Just because you are aiming for weight gain doesn’t really mean you can eat anything. Think healthy!
Here is a list of foods that you should avoid as much as you can if you don’t want to be fat:

  • Packaged and preserved food 
  • Aerated drinks
  • Alcohol
  • Fruit juices
  • Junk food
  • Fried food
  • Sweets and candies

​Consumption of unhealthy food will lead to diseases like diarrhoea, which will ultimately make you weak. So, think twice before you eat anything.

Treating medical conditions to gain weight for women

As mentioned above, being underweight can also be because of an ongoing illness. Gaining weight in such situation may take some time.
In such cases, apart from changes in food habits, you need to take appropriate measures for the proper management of the disease. Follow the instructions of your doctor properly and consult him/her before making any changes in your diet. With continuous medications and a balanced diet, it is quite possible that you may gain the required amount of weight. 

Exercising to gain weight for women

Exercising or working out demands a lot of calories or energy. Some physical activities like swimming also burn out too many calories. These activities can become a speed breaker on your way to gain weight. Hence it is really important that you do not indulge in too many of such activities.
Yes, It is important that you conserve calories in order to improve your weight. But, can zero workout be a good idea? Well, our body always demands some kind of exercise to remain fit and healthy. Gaining weight is definitely the aim here, but not at the cost of your health. Exercises help tone the body and strengthen muscles, giving you the desired shape or curves. It also improves mood and constantly motivates you to keep going. So, there is no reason to totally cut off from exercise even when you are looking for weight gain.
Here are some tips you can keep in mind regarding exercises in a weight gain regime:

  • Since the goal here is to put on weight, you do not need to perform any vigorous and rough exercises that will burn all your calories. Just light exercises will do 
  • If you are too worried about putting on extra muscles, yoga can also be a good idea 
  • Fix a time for your daily exercise. Early morning is the best time for yoga and exercise, though, you can also workout in the evening 
  • You can also opt for strength training exercises to promote muscle buildup if that is your goal. Generally, these exercises are done 2-3 times a week with rest days in between. For quick results, it is best to do these exercises under the supervision of an expert

Apart from the above-mentioned strategies, there are certain tips that you should keep in mind while preparing a weight gain regime. Let's have a look at them.

  • Stop smoking
  • Drink more water. This will keep you hydrated and help in digestion and absorption of food 
  • You can talk to a dietician too for better guidance and to get a proper diet chart 
  • Have nuts like cashews and walnuts every morning
  • You can also have some extra fat supplements apart from your general meal like fish oil 
और पढ़ें ...

References

  1. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Pregnancy Outcomes in Underweight Versus Ideal Weight Women at Time of Delivery. Washington, DC; USA
  2. de Wit LM, van Straten A, van Herten M, Penninx BW, Cuijpers P. Depression and body mass index, a u-shaped association. BMC Public Health. 2009 Jan 13;9:14. PMID: 19144098
  3. Office on women's health [internet]: US Department of Health and Human Services; Underweight
  4. Better health channel. Department of Health and Human Services [internet]. State government of Victoria; Weight and muscle gain
  5. M. Barbara E. Livingstone, L. Kirsty Pourshahidi. Portion Size and Obesity. Advances in Nutrition, Volume 5, Issue 6, November 2014
  6. Girls Health. If you need to gain weight. Office on Women's Health; Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health.
  7. health.gov. Health Facts. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.[internet].
  8. Slavin J, Carlson J. Carbohydrates. Adv Nutr. 2014 Nov 3;5(6):760-1. PMID: 25398736
  9. Better health channel. Department of Health and Human Services [internet]. State government of Victoria; Fibre in food
  10. Dhaka V, Gulia N, Ahlawat KS, Khatkar BS. Trans fats—sources, health risks and alternative approach - A review. J Food Sci Technol. 2011 Oct;48(5):534-41. PMID: 23572785
  11. Better health channel. Department of Health and Human Services [internet]. State government of Victoria; Physical activity - it's important