Monday, October 12, 2009

Gain Weight

Gain weight? This is an article many of you won’t want to read, nor need to read. Why would anyone want to gain weight?

Well, you cannot believe how concerned people can be when they feel they’re too skinny. They don’t like their body shape and they’re very unhappy. Here are a few questions I’ve received lately:

Reader: I find your articles interesting but so much is written on weight loss. I am interested in weight gain. I am a very tiny woman who is approaching mid forties and weigh less than 90 lbs. I have seen several dietitians over the years and just never seem to get any help.
Maye: I’ve had many underweight clients come and see me. Surprisingly it is more difficult to get them to change their eating habits than for those who need to lose weight. Overweight people have consistently tried to lose weight and know the focus involved in the process. Underweight people don’t find food an important part of their lives and don’t like to focus on it. All of a sudden they have to have food around them all the time. Yes, ALL THE TIME.
My suggestions are EAT:
1. Eat 3 meals a day, each meal containing some kind of good fat like olive oil, canola oil, avocado, nuts, seeds and fatty fishes.
2. Eat until you’re full, then 1/3 more.
3. Eat a midmorning snack such as a milkshake.
4. Eat an afternoon snack such as crackers and cheese.
5. Eat an evening snack such as nuts and dried fruits.
6. Eat when you’re not hungry.
7. Eat when you’re stressed.
8. Limit exercise to one hour a day. Include stretching and weights to build up muscle.
9. Find a dietitian to plan your meals and snacks and keep you motivated, on www.eatright.org.

With that plan, you should gain 2 – 3 pounds per month.

Just a warning, sudden increase in food intake will make you feel very full, actually stuffed, after each meal. Your stomach will feel bloated which is uncomfortable for you. It takes a while for the weight to move from the stomach to the rest of the body. After a week, you’ll find your appetite increases. Don’t lose focus. Keep your food quantities up. Similar to people trying to lose weight, when you lose focus, your old eating habits return and you gain weight. What do I find is the biggest problem? In just two days of stress, the 2 – 3 extra pounds you’ve worked so hard to gain can be lost. During stress, thin people lose their appetite and don’t eat. They then have to start again. If you look at my tips, most say “eat.” This is tough when you’re not used to eating so much. Just as the weight reducers have to focus on making healthy choices and limiting their quantities, you have to focus on making healthy choices and increasing your quantities.

I know you won’t get sympathy from your friends, who would love this advice, but you have to do what’s best for you. Persistence will lead to success.
Reader: What about supplements?
Maye: If you increase your food intake and include a wide variety of foods, you won’t need any pills, however energy bars and drinks can supply many calories. They are also easy to consume and portable. Be sure you enjoy the taste otherwise you’ll lose interest and give up.

Reader: I'm about 5'10 and weigh 150. Is this right for me or am I underweight?
Maye: I like to use the Body Mass Index (BMI) method of calculating a healthy weight. With a BMI of 21.5, it means you’re spot on with a healthy weight. This is a very slim look.

Again, the bottom line, if you want to gain weight, plan to EAT a lot and often.


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