There are many people with the problem of being too skinny, and this is a concern, as being underweight can be just as bad for your health as being obese.
Whether you’re clinically underweight or simply struggling to gain muscle weight, the main principles are the same, and many people who are not clinically underweight still want to gain some muscle.
Being underweight is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) below 18.5. , which is estimated to be less than the body mass needed to sustain the most favorable health. 25+ is considered overweight and over 30 is considered obese.
However, the problem with the BMI scale is that it only looks at weight and height, and does not take muscle mass into account.
Being underweight according to this scale does not necessarily mean that you have a health problem, as some people are naturally very skinny but still healthy.
Being underweight is more common among girls and women, compared to men, and a person who is underweight is likely to experience health issues, including:
- developmental delays
- an increased risk of complication during surgery
- a weakened immune system
Possible Causes of Being Underweight
There are several conditions that can cause weight loss:
- Eating disorders that include anorexia nervosa (a serious mental disorder).
- Thyroid problems, like an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism), which can boost metabolism and cause unhealthy weight loss.
- Celiac disease, which is the most severe form of gluten intolerance.
- Diabetes, especially, uncontrolled diabetes (type 1) can lead to weight loss.
- Cancerous tumors often burn large amounts of calories and can cause someone to lose weight.
- Finally, certain infections can cause someone to become severely underweight; Infections like tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS.
Good Way To Gain Weight If You’re Underweight
Although being lean can often be healthy, being underweight can be a concern if it’s the result of poor nutrition or other health concerns. If you’re underweight, see your doctor or dietitian for an evaluation.
Here are some healthy ways to gain weight:
- Eat more frequently and eat five to six smaller meals during the day rather than two or three large meals.
- Choose nutrient-rich foods. As part of an overall healthy diet, choose whole-grain bread, pasta and cereals; fruits and vegetables; dairy products; lean protein sources; and nuts and seeds.
- Try smoothies and shakes, and leave out the diet soda, coffee and other drinks with few calories and little nutritional value. Drink smoothies or healthy shakes made with milk and fresh fruits.
- Sip higher calorie beverages along with a meal or snack, or drink 30 minutes after a meal, not with it. Either of these two methods may work.
- Snack on nuts, peanut butter, cheese, dried fruits, and avocados.
- Add extras to your dishes for more calories.
- When you’re underweight, be mindful of excess sugar and fat, but bran muffins, yogurt, and granola bars are good choices.
- Exercise regularly, especially strength training, as that can help you gain weight by building up your muscles. Exercise may also fuel your appetite.
More Tips To Gain Weight:
- Don’t drink water before meals, as that can fill your stomach and make it harder to get in adequate calories.
- Squeeze in an additional meal or snack whenever you can, even before bed.
- Drink more milk, since drinking whole milk to quench thirst is a simple way to get in more high-quality protein and calories.
- Try weight gainer shakes, as they are very high in protein, carbs, and calories.
- Use bigger plates when serving food, as smaller plates cause people to automatically eat less.
- Add cream to your coffee to simply add in more calories.
- Take creatine supplements, as they can help you gain a few pounds in muscle weight.
- Get quality sleep, as that is very important for muscle growth.
- Do not smoke, as smokers tend to weigh less than non-smokers, and quitting smoking often leads to weight gain.