You have a higher risk of developing health complications when you are underweight than when you are overweight. Weight is assessed using Body Mass Index or your weight divided by the square of your height in centimetres.
A healthy adult should have a BMI of between 18.5 and 24.9. You can get your BMI during your next visit to the clinic or you can calculate it at home if you know your weight and height. If you find that your BMI is less than 18.5, then you need to find ways to add weight. The following are a few tips you can try.
Eat more protein
Protein helps your body in building muscles and is thus a must-have in your weight gain journey. You can either choose to indulge in plant or animal protein and the choices are endless. Ensure that you do not eat too much protein at once as it reduces your appetite and prevents you from getting the required calories.
Do not skip meals
This is the number one item on the list of things you should not do when trying to gain weight. The goal is to ensure that your body gets enough calories and skipping meals has the opposite effect. Therefore, ensure that you have at least three meals a day with enough protein, fat and carbs. You can also snack on energy-dense foods in between meals.
Exercise and strength training ensures that all the excess calories are burnt up and used in building your muscles instead of becoming excess fat. However, be mindful of your health status. Do not start with heavy exercise. Try to start light and increase the intensity as your body develops endurance. If you have any medical issues, consult your doctor before you settle on any exercise regimen.
Nothing comes easy in life. It may take some time to see the results but don’t give up. Stay consistent in your endeavour and track your progress. Though the process may seem discouraging, the reward is greater as you will have saved yourself from the risk of complications associated with being underweight.
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Seek help for eating disorders
Some people are unable to gain weight due to certain conditions like anorexia and bulimia nervosa. If you are such a person, get professional help before beginning your weight gain journey. If you have any other underlying health issue that is causing weight loss, consult your doctor.
Do not drink water before meals
Drinking water before meals will only fill your stomach and make it impossible for you to have any meals. If you must take water with your meals try waiting for at least 15 minutes after a meal before taking water.
Choose nutrient-packed foods
Ensure that the foods you consume are full of nutrients. Eat more fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds.
Get enough sleep and stay positive
Sleep is very important for muscle growth. If you have been exercising regularly your muscles get repaired during sleep. Moreover, the body secrets hormones that are necessary for muscle growth during sleep. Do not forget to stay optimistic. Avoid anything that can trigger stress as this is one of the reasons why you may have lost weight in the first place.
Smoking has been known to affect the sense of smell and taste. As a result, smoking reduces your appetite and prevents you from getting the much-needed calories.
The only way you can tell if you are underweight is by knowing your BMI; you may have a small frame but have healthy weight and vice-versa. Once you are sure that you are underweight, use the above tips to work your way up to a healthy weight.