My daughter has been teased about her weight her whole life. She just turned 21, and she says she still gets comments at work, not only from her co-workers but even from customers. But these aren’t the kinds of comments you might think. People tell her she needs to eat because she’s too skinny and must gain weight. Kids in high school used to call her anorexic. “Chicken Legs” has been a common nickname for her. People don’t seem to understand that insisting a skinny person needs to eat more is just as bad as telling an overweight person to eat less. It seems that while most people understand telling an overweight person to stop eating is in bad taste, they think thin people must not take care of themselves.
Although she is perfectly healthy and in no way anorexic, my daughter has decided to develop a diet and exercise program that will help her gain weight. Pigging out on junk food is certainly not a healthy way to eat nor a good way to gain weight. But there are other nutritional choices that can help you gain weight without compromising your health.
Find out the cause
First, you should eliminate any possibilities of disease or eating disorders. A trip to the doctor for a thorough checkup should help you find if you have a problem that can be fixed with medication, such as thyroid issues. If not, then the next step to gain weight is to examine daily habits.
Add calorie-dense foods
The idea is to increase calorie intake without raising cholesterol and so on. Finding foods that are more calorie-dense will help you gain weight without increasing fat. Nuts are some of the best such foods. Peanuts and peanut butter have qualities that can help prevent cardiovascular problems among other physical ailments, and they don’t deserve the bad reputation they have.
Avocados are a good source of calories for those needing to gain weight.
Fruits and vegetables are also an important part of any healthy diet, so you should continue to eat them if you want to gain weight, as well. Bananas are calorie-dense and also contain large amounts of potassium, a nutrient many of us are lacking in, particularly those who need to gain weight.
Carbohydrates are also typically calorie-dense. Whole grain breads, cereals, pasta and potatoes all can help you gain weight.
Don’t eliminate exercise
Exercise is always an important element of a healthy lifestyle, and it is just as important for people looking to gain weight. Strength training is the best type of workout since excessive aerobic exercise can actually cause you to lose weight.
The overall picture
Eating several small meals a day that are focused on calorie-rich foods and doing a workout routine that focuses on strength training are the keys to gain weight and stay healthy.
My daughter has discovered that she is simply a small person. She will continue to follow the dietary and exercise guidelines and hope to gain weight to a more comfortable size. And she will continue to smile at the people who say she needs to gain weight. But maybe she won’t have to for long.
“Healthy High Calorie Foods to Gain Weight.” Gainingweight.info.
“How to Gain Weight.” About.com.
“List of Calorie Dense Foods.” Livestrong.com.