Your BMI -- or body mass index -- is a snapshot into your overall health. Knowing your BMI and where it lies on a BMI chart determines if you are underweight, at normal weight, overweight or obese. While being overweight is generally cause for concern, being underweight may not. Genetics or activity may account for your low BMI. See your doctor, though, any time you are losing weight without trying. Check with your doctor before checking into a BMI-increasing diet or if you have questions about your weight.
Check with a registered dietitian before creating your own BMI bulking plan. A skilled dietitian tailors meal plans around your calorie needs and dietary preferences.
Pack your meals with nutritious, healthy fatty foods. Choose monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats over trans and saturated fats. Switch artery-clogging lard and butter for cholesterol lowering, yet still high-calorie, olive or canola oil when you cook. Toss calorie-rich flaxseed and walnuts on a healthy side salad, and add this to a main course of seared tuna or salmon. Both fish are high in brain-boosting omega-3 and healthy fats.
Opt out of fat-burning cardio and take up weight training. Focus on a whole-body approach, and work your arms, legs and chest at least two times per week. Work out up to three times per week. Watch your timing. Thirty minutes is pushing it, and you not may see enough change staying under 20 minutes per workout. Eat protein after weight training to help rebuild muscle.
Eat nutritious meals, and eat often. Three calorie-dense meals a day with snacks between is optimal, but if you cannot eat that much, do not force it. Try several smaller meals and spread them out over the day. Use protein packed smoothies, or add protein powder to individual yogurt or cottage cheese cups.
Spread healthy fat, high-calorie toppings on crackers and whole-grain toast. Couple this with a protein shake for a nutritious and satisfying snack. Look peanut butter with omega-3 added or hummus made with extra virgin olive for a nutrient-packed snack.
Give protein shakes, powders and drinks a try. Add flavorless powders to cereals or soups, or prepare milkshakes with added protein-rich fruit and a powder booster. Protein shakes and drinks can replace snacks if your appetite wanes.
- MayoClinic.com: Unexplained Weight Loss
- Academy of Nutrition of Dietetics: It's about Eating Right
- Help Guide: Choosing Healthy Fats
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- MayoClinic.com: Weight Training: Improve Your Muscular Fitness
- MayoClinic.com: Eating and Exercise: 5 Tips to Maximize Your Workouts
- MayoClinic.com: What's a Good Way to Gain Weight If You're Underweight?
- Frequent snacking helps weight gain. Keep nutritious, high-fat snacks in your purse or bag for when hunger strikes. At mealtime, go back for extra servings. Stick to healthier fair though. Avoid that extra slice of pizza or greasy burger. The wrong type of fat creates unhealthy weight gain. Pile on the extras by adding an extra scoop of almonds to your yogurt, or more avocado slices on your fajita. Do not give in to sugary temptation just because you are underweight. Choose naturally sweet fruits and treats to satisfy your cravings.
Having studied at two top Midwestern universities, Catherine Field holds degrees in professional writing and patient safety. Writing since 2000, Field has worked with regional newspapers while publishing fiction online. She conducts medical communication research at a Midwestern medical institution and is slated to write a book based on her research findings.