Losing weight is hard. For some people, putting weight on is just as bad. Being too thin isn’t any healthier than being overweight, so it’s critical that people who are too skinny increase their body fat to help protect them against illness and injury. Unfortunately, a lot of people who are too thin have a really hard time gaining the weight they need.
Fattening up the easy way
A pound of fat equates to about 3,500 calories. By doing some easy math, you can see that a person who wants to gain one pound, or .45 kilograms, over the course of a week would need to eat an additional 500 calories per day above the number of calories that their body needs already. This means that for a hundred pound (roughly 45 kilogram) woman whose body requires 1,500 calories per day to live, a 2,000 calorie per day diet would allow her to put on one pound at the end of a week. The more weight she wants to gain, the more calories she would need to eat per day.
Things like exercise and stimulants can complicate this. Exercise burns more calories than simple breathing and metabolism does, so the more exercise someone does, the more calories they will need to eat to be able to gain weight. Therefore, someone who wants to find the easiest way to gain weight needs to look at their exercise regimen- are they working out too much? How are their daily activities impacting their body’s needs? Sometimes, people can gain weight simply by switching to a more moderate exercise regimen, without having to change their diet at all.
Dieting to gain weight
For many other people, diet plays a large role in weight gain and loss. It isn’t just the amount of calories consumed that’s important, it’s also where these calories come from. Protein, for example, has about 4 calories per gram. For the hundred pound (45 kg) woman mentioned above to get her extra 500 calories per day, she would need to eat over 120 extra grams of protein per day. Fat has about 9 calories per gram. Therefore, for the same 500 calories, she only needs to eat about 56 grams of fat instead.
Some foods are high in fat, but not necessarily good for gaining weight healthily. Saturated animal fat, hydrogenated oil, and trans fats are calorie-rich, but not good for you. Instead, high-fat foods like avocado, coconut, nuts and seeds, or dairy products are a better choice. These provide fats and calories, as well as protein, vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids.
Liquids versus solids
It’s also been proven that it’s easier to gain weight with liquids than with solids. Solid food is filling, which means it can keep you from being hungry enough to eat extra calories. Beverages, shakes, and smoothies aren’t as filling, and are easier to fit in around regular meals. So, for many people, the easiest way to gain weight is to add shakes or smoothies made with healthful, high-fat foods into their diet.