How to Gain Weight
Most women would like a few (or several) pounds to lose weight. Yet I regularly receive emails from women who really want to gain weight, but of course in a healthy way. In this blog, we will discuss in detail how to gain weight fast. That seems easy, but it is often not. Here is my healthy advice for them.
Gaining weight is not that easy
For every woman who wants to lose weight and who often eats less than she would actually like, it seems so easy: if you want to gain weight, you just eat and drink more? Especially those delicious creamy, sweet things that they often have to leave because otherwise, their waist becomes a powerful magnet for unnecessary kilos of fat. It can’t be that difficult to gain weight, can it?
Unfortunately, it is not that easy. Recently, I was on a six-day workout with twenty women. One of them had never weighed more than 50 pounds in her life, she said, but if there was anyone who filled her plate with all the delicious food we were served those days, it was her! If I were to eat what she was used to eating I would feel full after each meal and would definitely put on many pounds.
Counting calories is nonsense
A calorie is described as a unit of energy: your body constantly needs energy for all bodily functions such as digestion, breathing, and performance in the gym, at home, or at work. Lake calories would, according to this definition, mean more energy. If it were that simple, all people who eat junk food and consume loads of calories should be bursting with energy! Yet that is never the case.
I have already written an article about the nonsense of counting calories. Your body is much more complex than that; one calorie has a completely different effect on your body than another. If you still have doubts about the nonsense of counting calories, read this article: Counting calories; seven reasons why it’s all nonsense.
It’s always about how you feel
Let me first say that it is always about how you feel, no matter what weight you have and what you look like. We put a ‘healthy weight’ for women into a fairly tight BMI table on the basis of which we could then determine whether we are at a healthy weight or not. But we women are so different! Just as there are naturally tall and short women, there are naturally thicker and thinner women. We accept that a 1.48m woman cannot shorten herself and a 2.03m woman cannot shorten herself, but our weight must fit in that table!
Regardless of your weight, it is ultimately about whether you have the energy to live your life to the fullest and make the dreams you have come true. And by ‘full life’ I mean a lot more than just seeing that your heart is beating!
Reasons why you don’t gain weight
Of course, it may be that you do not feel good with your (under) weight. There can be many reasons why you don’t gain weight, even if you eat plenty. To be honest, it is quite a complex phenomenon; eat a lot and still stay too thin. You may be thyroid works too fast so that your metabolism works too fast and you burn your food quickly. Usually, this is accompanied by a rushed feeling. You can have this checked by your doctor. It may be that your intestinal flora is not working properly, causing you to excrete a lot of nutrients unused. You may be under a lot of stress and you are someone whose metabolism goes into overdrive. It could also be that you simply eat too little, even if you don’t think so. Let’s take a look at that. What can you do if you really want to gain weight?
Nutrition tips to gain weight
The same applies to gaining weight as to losing weight; give your body time. Don’t expect to gain five healthy pounds in two weeks. Your body will have to get used to a new balance, take your time. Eat six times a day; so add snacks in between your meals. Slowly eat a little more than you are used to, but make sure you keep feeling good. Do not drink with your meal. Eat some fats/proteins in the evening, but preferably no sweets or fast carbohydrates; they can disturb your sleep. If you eat dairy, choose the full-fat products. Make room in your kitchen, buy lots of storage jars and ensure a great variety.
See below which tips appeal to you the most and start with this. Then build it up slowly.
1. Use raw nuts in a variety of variations
Unroasted nuts are packets full of protein and healthy fats. Put them at the top of your list and eat them daily: almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, unroasted cashews, macadamias and pistachios. Peanuts are legumes, not nuts, so leave them alone.
You can make vegetable milk, or nut butters, or just eat them like that. Sprinkle them generously over your breakfast and salads. If you don’t want to make your own pasta in your blender, buy ready-to-eat nut butters and snack with a bowl of fruit with a nice spoonful of nut butter over it.
2. Vary plenty of seeds and kernels
The same goes for seeds and kernels; the choice is huge. Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, linseed, sesame seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, pine nuts, etc. You can also use these to make plant milk or pastes. Plant-based milk is an excellent basis for creamy smoothies. Sunflower seed paste and pumpkin seed paste are available for purchase in health food stores.
3. Tropical fruit; to eat and drink
Tropical fruits are sweet packages packed with vitamins and minerals and all kinds of substances we don’t even know yet. Pineapple, mango, papaya, passion fruit and bananas are also very tasty. Eat them in a mix for breakfast along with healthy muesli or granola and some healthy fats. You can also blend them with vegetable milk; with this, you have a delicious creamy snack. If necessary, add a date to sweeten it a bit more if you would like this. Regularly replace drinking a glass of water, tea or coffee with such a delicious smoothie.
4. Dried fruit in all shapes and sizes
A lot of fruit is also available dried: banana, mango, apple, plum, goji berries, raisins, figs, dates, etc. Also all good products with healthy sugars to add a little extra. Build up your assortment slowly. You can add them to your breakfast, in a salad, eat them as a snack and use them in healthy desserts.
5. Healthy fats; buy the best quality
Nuts, kernels and seeds already contain healthy fats. But also think of other healthy fats such as extra virgin coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, walnut oil, linseed oil and perilla oil. Pour a splash over your fruit breakfast or into your smoothie. Keep all vegetable oils in your fridge to prevent spoilage. Coconut oil and olive oil are allowed outside of the refrigerator.
6. You never have enough avocados
Avocados deserve a special place, they are bombs full of healthy nutrients and they are so versatile. Use them in salads, eat them as a snack with some salt and pepper on top, use them together with tomatoes as a topping, make a creamy smoothie or use them in a dessert with banana and chocolate!
7. Gluten-free and pseudocereals
Finally, add grains to your daily menu. Choose gluten-free grains or pseudocereals such as oatmeal, quinoa, canihua, buckwheat, millet, amaranth, teff, and brown rice. If you cook them, you can also make vegetable milk from this. You can pop quinoa, rice and buckwheat: very tasty in your breakfast. Pasta is also made from quinoa, rice and buckwheat.
Have your intestinal flora properly measured
If the above tips do not help, I advise you to make an appointment with a good intestinal therapist. Not someone who prescribes probiotic just like that, but one who first wants to measure what your intestinal flora looks like and which bacterial strains you specifically need. Ask carefully on the phone before making an appointment so that you know that someone is really an expert.
Do you want fat or do you (actually) want muscle?
If we don’t use them our muscles off; anyone who has had an arm or leg in a cast can confirm this. Especially over 40, your muscles tend to think they’re redundant if you’re not using them. Stand naked in front of the mirror and be honest: do you want more fat or do you actually want more muscle? Chances are that you envision yourself in your ideal image with more muscles instead of a swimming ring around your waist. Beautiful! This means that you cannot avoid strength training!
At the beginning of this year I decided I wanted more muscles, not because I was too skinny but because I felt I was slowly losing them and this didn’t feel right. Since then I have been doing strength training with a personal trainer twice a week. The difference can be felt and already seen now. Building muscle is very fast, I can heartily recommend it! It feels really good too.
One last piece of advice, only for vigorous women
My personal trainer Jeff told me that as a teenager he weighed only 58 pounds at a height of 1.78. So far too little while he was eating a lot. When he started training seriously he started eating a lot healthier and to gain weight he was advised to use a weight gainer shake before sleeping. A weight gainer shake is a shake full of carbohydrates, proteins and fats, but also sugars. They can be purchased online in stores that sell sports nutrition, among other things. You can also make your own in your blender: mix a cup of vegetable milk with sweet fruit, a cup of cooked pseudo cereals or oatmeal, a few spoonfuls of nut butters and some honey. However, they are only suitable if you are really underweight and exercise a lot, because there is a good chance that otherwise, you will only get an unnecessary swimming ring!
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