Although there's an abundance of information available about how to lose weight, the lucky few who struggle with being too thin may struggle to find both information and support. While people might tell you to enjoy your gift of thinness, being underweight carries health risks, including problems with pregnancy and fertility, brittle bones and cardiovascular problems. If you're hoping to gain a few pounds, it can be challenging to do so without loading up on unhealthy calories or feeling uncomfortably full. But by regularly eating calorie-rich, balanced meals, you can gain weight without overeating.
If you struggle with eating enough to gain weight without feeling uncomfortably full, try eating more frequently. Regular snacks and frequent small portions can help you get the calories you need and ensure that your body always has sufficient energy. Over time, grazing can help you gain weight.
High-protein foods tend to be higher calorie, which means they can help you gain weight. Meat, nuts, legumes, cheese and dairy products are all relatively high in calories. Try snacking on peanuts or peanut butter between meals, adding cheese as a topping to your food or drinking a glass or two of milk each day. These foods can also help you pack on muscle, and the calcium in milk and cheese can help prevent the brittle bones with which thin people often struggle.
If you find you're still struggling to get enough calories, try incorporating a calorie-boosting supplement into your day. Protein shakes and nutritional supplements come in a variety of flavors and are readily available at most grocery and health food stores. Drink one of these shakes when you're on the go or don't have time to sit down for a full meal. Choose full-calorie versions of these drinks rather than reduced-calorie options.
It may seem counterintuitive, but exercise can actually help you gain weight by boosting your muscle mass, according to the Mayo Clinic. Because exercise burns calories to obtain energy, it may also help you feel hungry, making it easier to eat healthy meals regularly. Moreover, exercise offers numerous health benefits. Being thin doesn't mean you don't need exercise. Instead, focus on regular, low-intensity exercise such as walking or weight training.
- MayoClinic.com: What's a Good Way to Gain Weight if You're Underweight?
- CNN Health: All the 2 Percent Want to Do Is Gain Weight
- Babycenter: Pregnant and Underweight: How to Get the Nutrients You Need
- What You Need to Know About Being Underweight; Gaby Alez
- The Journal of the American Medical Association: Excess Deaths Associated With Underweight, Overweight and Obesity
Van Thompson is an attorney and writer. A former martial arts instructor, he holds bachelor's degrees in music and computer science from Westchester University, and a juris doctor from Georgia State University. He is the recipient of numerous writing awards, including a 2009 CALI Legal Writing Award.