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How to Gain Weight Safely

Updated on December 24, 2010

When most people think about trying to change their weight, they're thinking about weight loss. However, that's not always the case. There are some people out there who feel that they are too thin and want to be able to gain some weight. Those folks who have always been on the heavy side laugh and think, "just eat more" but the truth of the matter is that this can be a serious problem. There are health risks associated with being too thin, just like there are risks associated with being overweight. And in the same way that just "eat less" doesn't work for weight loss, "eat more" isn't the solution for gaining weight.

To gain weight safely, you need to practice moderation. Any rapid weight change - whether the scale goes up or down - is hard on the body. So bingeing is definitely not the answer when you're looking for solutions to low body weight. You need to be aware that gaining weight correctly is going to take some time. It can't be done overnight; but it can be done.

Here are some tips for gaining weight safely:

  • Decrease your cardio exercise. Cardio increases your metabolism significantly which means that you burn food faster. By decreasing your cardio, you can reduce your metabolism and stop burning food so quickly. However, you shouldn't stop cardio altogether. It's something your heart needs to work well. Just decrease the amount that you do in moderation until you're at a comfortable level.
  • Increase your muscle-building exercising. Replace your cardio workout time with time spent building muscles. Muscles are mass and mass means weight gain. Make sure that you tone the entire body by selecting a strength-building workout that will work every muscle group.
  • Eat three meals a day; no more and no less. When people are trying to lose weight, they often reduce the size of their meals and eat more frequently. That's because this increases the body's metabolism. To gain weight, cut back to three normal-sized meals each day. This will give you the nutrients you need to stay healthy and the calories you need to maintain your weight but will allow your metabolism to slow a bit.
  • Shakes help in moderation. If you can't stick with just three meals a day, add a protein shake or smoothie in between two of those meals. You don't want to go overboard trying to gain weight by bulking up on these. But the extra calories can help if you're hungry enough to want another meal between the normal three.
  • Add good fats to your diet. Gaining weight doesn't mean gaining fat. You don't want to start eating a bunch of fatty sweets to put on weight. But you do want to increase the fats that are in your diet. Nuts, oils, bran muffins and the like are good sources of good fats.
  • Drink milk. Milk will add weight in a few different ways, including that it strengthens your bones. If you drink coffee or tea, start adding a larger proportion of milk to it. Or switch to milk-based hot chocolate or steamed milk drinks instead.
  • Meditate. Or just generally slow down. Take some time to just relax and not move your body. This is good for your mind anyway and the added benefit will be that you'll let your metabolism chill out a bit.
  • Make weight goals. You'll want to know what you're working towards as you try to gain weight. Work with a doctor if at all possible to discuss healthy goals for adding weight to your body.
  • Keep a diary of what works and what doesn't. Keep a food and exercise log. This will assist you in gaining insight into the weight gain techniques that work for your body and those that don't so that you can adjust your approach accordingly. Not all things will work right for all people.

Gaining weight is something that should be taken seriously by those people who need to do it. Make sure that you don't do anything rash when trying to add the pounds; always think about what seems best for your body.


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