Gaining weight isn’t just about getting fat. The fact of gaining pounds too quickly by only eating junk food can be hazardous to your health. To preserve it, while increasing the score on the scale, you must maintain a healthy lifestyle and respect certain rules. We guide you.
Why do you want to gain weight? Can you really gain 5 or 10 kilos in a week?
Most people who want to gain weight find themselves too thin. We are talking about constitutional thinness for people who eat normally, whose weight is stable and who have always been very thin. In some cases, it is voluntary weight loss, linked for example to a restrictive diet or an eating disorder like anorexia. A distinction must also be made between restrictive weight-loss diets and strict diets followed for health reasons (diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome, high blood pressure, etc.) which can induce unintended weight loss.
Be that as it may, thinness can be a source of complexes, not to mention that it can endanger health. Pathological thinness is often accompanied by:
- early bone disorders (osteoporosis);
- skin, hair or dental problems;
- a reduced capacity for effort (due to muscle wasting in particular);
- fertility disorders and problems with menstruation (amenorrhoea);
- a weakening of the immune system (increasing exposure to infections);
- a longer healing or scarring time in the event of illness or surgery.
How do you know if you are too skinny?
According to the World Health Organization, a healthy weight equivalent to a good state of health corresponds to a body mass index (BMI) between 18.5 and 25. Beyond that, we are considered “overweight” and below, we are considered “skinny”. However, nothing is set in stone. People who have always had a thin build can have a BMI of 17.5 without having any health problems.
To calculate your BMI, simply divide your weight (in kilos) by your height (in m) and again divide the result by your height.
Secondly, the body composition measurement can also give a good indication of the distribution of lean mass and fat mass in your body. Knowing that the lower the muscle mass, the more the thinness presents health risks.
Gain weight quickly: our tips for gaining weight without putting yourself in danger
Whatever the reason you need to gain weight, it’s not about doing anything.
What to change in his diet?
To gain weight without having the impression of “gorging” and feeling perpetually nauseous, you must follow certain rules:
- Be sure to keep a balanced diet according to the benchmarks of the National Nutrition and Health Program: 3 to 4 dairy products and at least 5 fruits or vegetables per day, meat, fish, eggs or legumes at least once a day, bread or starches at each meal , rapeseed or walnut oil in the kitchen, at least 1.5 l of drinks daily. Moderate very sweet, very fatty or very salty foods (and drinks) (sodas, pastries, pastries, deli meats, ready meals, etc.).
- If you have a very small appetite, enrich your yogurts, purées, soups, etc. powdered milk, egg yolk, grated cheese, chopped ham, etc.
- Add flavor to your dishes and stimulate your gluttony with herbs and spices to whet your appetite.
- With the agreement of your doctor, relax any diet followed for health reasons (salt-free, fat-free, sugar-free, etc.).
What foods are the most fattening?
High calorie diets allow people who are too thin to gain weight. For this, some foods are more suitable than others, including protein sources (which facilitate muscle mass gain) and complex carbohydrates (which provide energy):
- Fruits: grapes, cherries, mangoes, bananas, avocados, olives, dried and canned fruits, etc.
- Starches: sweet potato, potato, etc.
- Legumes: lentils, peas, kidney beans, etc.
- Cereals: breads, cereal bars, breads with olives, nuts, corn, cheese, etc.
- Dairy products and substitutes: cream, cheeses, whole milk, whole yogurts, soy yogurts, etc.
- Animal proteins and substitutes: fatty fish (salmon, sardines, tuna, etc.), liver, beef, pork, lamb, poultry with the skin on, eggs, etc.
To complete this list, you should know that it is interesting to add vegetable oils when preparing meals. At the same time, limit foods that cut hunger without bringing a lot of calories (apple, green salad, raw vegetables, white fish, lean meat, etc.). And in addition to the 3 daily meals, bet on 2 to 3 snacks during the day (cereals, nuts, basic biscuits, chocolate, cheese, yogurts, compotes, etc.), morning, afternoon and evening.
Physical activity: should we do less sport?
Contrary to what one might think, physical activity should not be neglected! Not only is it essential for health, but it also allows muscle mass gain, and therefore weight gain, since muscle is much heavier than fat on the scale. Favor resistance and bodybuilding exercises to gain muscle, associated, or not, with endurance exercises to melt fatty tissue.
Stay hydrated and limit toxic substances
Avoid drinking water just before eating, it could spoil your appetite. But be sure to drink enough (up to two liters of water a day) to allow your body to build muscle.
Also limit consumption of tobacco, caffeine (coffee, tea, cola-based sodas, etc.) or alcohol, which increase energy expenditure and/or suppress appetite.
Which plants to gain weight?
If you lack appetite, certain plants can help you regain the feeling of hunger to eat heartily, provided you are well informed:
- Fenugreek, a spice traditionally used in cooking in India and the Middle East, has hypoglycemic effects (it lowers blood sugar levels). Consume in capsules or in decoction on medical advice if you are allergic to peanuts or if you have anticoagulant treatment, against diabetes or asthma. Fenugreek is not recommended during pregnancy.
- Gentian, which stimulates digestive secretions and opens the appetite. To be consumed in decoction or in the form of extracts in drinkable solutions. However, it is contraindicated for pregnant or breastfeeding women, in case of ulcer, cancer of the duodenum or stomach and high blood pressure.
- oregano stimulates the appetite thanks to its richness in tannins. To consume in decoction or in the form of essential oil. Avoid during pregnancy or in case of epilepsy.
- Ginger, to be consumed fresh in cooked dishes, in powder, or in the form of essential oil. However, it is contraindicated before an operation, in case of anti-coagulant treatment, diabetes, heart disease or gallstones.
In any case, seek advice from a professional and respect the dosages.
Avoid dangerous dietary supplements!
Capsules to develop your muscles? It’s tempting. But according to the National Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health Safety (Anses), “the interest is questionable in view of the risks involved”. As part of the nutrivigilance system applying to food supplements and following numerous reports, the Agency produced a report in 2016 on “the risks associated with the consumption of food supplements intended for athletes aimed at muscle development or decrease in fat mass.
The main products concerned are amino acids (which make up proteins) or compounds derived therefrom. Arginine, which has hypotensive and vasodilating effects, increases the risk of sudden death in people who have already suffered a myocardial infarction. About the beta-alaninein high doses, it causes paresthesias. Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) could ultimately stimulate the growth of hormone-dependent cancers (prostate, breast, uterus, etc.). Otherwise, cyproheptadine does not whet the appetite. This molecule, which is one of the antihistamines, is reserved for the treatment of allergic manifestations. Like all medicines, it has various undesirable effects, in particular a marked sedative effect.
Why can’t I gain weight?
People who have trouble gaining weight usually owe it to their genetic patrimony and/or to a high basal metabolic rate. They need more calories than average to run their body, because even if they consume a lot of calories, these will all be burned quickly by their body. Other environmental factors can increase the difficulty of gaining weight, such as stress, exposure to extreme temperatures, excessive consumption of tobacco or caffeine, etc. L’physical hyperactivity can also play. Not to mention diseases such as diarrhea, diabetes, cancers and digestive pathologies.
The importance of being accompanied by a professional.
If you are unable to gain weight, it is important to see a doctor, who will rule out health issues, and perform some tests to assess your caloric expenditure at rest.
In a second time, a general practitioner, a dietician or a nutritionist can support you in your weight gain by developing personalized programs. The help of a psychologist or a psychiatrist can also be interesting in case of eating disorders.