Tell many Americans that you are trying to gain weight and they’ll give you a look that says “Okay buddy. I see your humble brag.”
With so many people looking to lower the number on their bathroom scale, it can be tough to find healthy advice on how to increase your weight. But there are plenty of reasons someone might want to add a few extra pounds.
Whether you are are trying to build muscle for sports or are trying to recover from an illness, there is a right and a wrong way to go about bulking up. Here are the healthy ways to gain weight.
Slamming a large pepperoni pizza might get you the calories you need, but it won’t be worth it in the long run. If you are going to eat above your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE), then you better be doing so with healthy foods most of the time.
Use a fitness tracker like myfitnesspal to estimate your TDEE and target calories per day. Then keep track of everything you eat for the day. Chances are you are eating way less calories then you think you are. These trackers will also break down the macros and micros of many common food, making it easier to stay on track.
Pick foods that are high in vitamins, minerals, nutrients, and eat more of them than you usually would. That includes high-cal but healthy options like greek yogurt, fruit, nuts, meat, and whole grains.
Plant fats are your best first bet. Animal fats are high in protein, but also contain LDL cholesterol so need to be eaten sparingly.
Spread Out The Eating
If you are working out you will only be able to add between half a pound and 1 pound of muscle per week. Even if you are just trying to gain weight and don’t care about muscle, you should aim for adding about a pound a week. That means eating an excess of 200-500 calories a day, depending on your level of activity.
You don’t need to cram all this into one sitting. An extra serving at dinner might make you feel uncomfortable and bloated. Spread the food out throughout the day in more substantial snacks. Eat every 2 or so hours with a substantial fat like avocado, yogurt, or a smoothie.
If you find your appetite is still slacking, then stimulate your appetite with exercise. A walk around the block will get the hunger pangs started. And make sure that your food is appetizing! Use spices to make things taste amazing and to keep you eating.