Before we start talking about gaining weight you need to know the difference between healthy weight gain and unhealthy weight gain.
You may have heard that if you want to gain weight just eat more of everything regardless of what it is. People often tell skinny guys to just stuff themselves of food wherever they go in order for them to gain weight.
Well, yeah that works and it even makes sense to a certain extent. “Eat big to get big” however, this advice is not sustainable in long term and has other bad consequences to health.
The problem with this advice is that people would also slonk down on unhealthy foods such as chicken nuggets, burgers, pizza and more. Yes it will lead to weight gain but your health will also deteriorates over time. People who follow this approach may face issues such as fatigue, low sex drive, bad mood and digestive upset. This is what’s called unhealthy weight gain.
Heathy weight gain on the other hand involves eating more but in essence it is eating clean and eating whole foods based diet. Gaining weight by eating whole foods rather than processed foods leads to a sustainable and long term results. Not only this but you also get rewarded with good health.
How to gain weight?
1.Eat more calories
Our body runs on energy and it maintains a balance between energy coming in through food with energy expanding out which is what we call calories in and calories out concept.
When you eat surplus of energy through food than actually required by your body you gain weight. Why? because incoming energy is greater than outgoing energy so the body decides to store it as fat.
How do you know you are eating in a caloric surplus? There are two ways to this.
If you want to save time and headache of counting your food just eat little more of everything in your meals. For example; You usually eat 1 cup of white rice daily in your meals so you just start eating 1.5 cups of it. Or let’s say you usually drink 2 glasses of milk per day, you start drinking 3 glasses of it on regular basis.
This approach of intuitively adding up small quantities of food to your meals is very sustainable and will work for most individuals. However, if one wants to get more precise and achieve faster results measuring your food to monitor your food intake is a better way.
In order to actually know the calories in numerical value you need to do two things.
1. Know your maintenance calories. Maintenance calories are the amount of calories needed by your body only to maintain your body weight. In order to gain weight you need to eat more than the maintenance calories. You can calculate your maintenance calories from this site.
2. After you know your maintenance calories. You need to start eating in a caloric surplus which simply means eating 200-300 calories more.
Let’s say your maintenance calories come out to be 2,500 calories. So, you need to eat around 2,700 calories daily in order to gain weight.
You can use a calorie counting app like MyFitnessPal in order to track daily calorie intake.
Is every calorie same?
You maybe wondering do all the calories count same. If I eat 200 calories from a piece of cake does it count same as 200 calories from an omelette?
The short answer is no. Same amount of calories from different foods have different metabolic response in the body. When you eat same amount of calories from an omelette and a piece of cake your body reacts differently.
An omelette has more nutrients, more protein, more good quality fats and is satiating where as a piece of cake is filled with sugar and carbs, contains less nutrients and does not satiate hunger. This can leave you hungry after some time and will cause you to unnecessarily eat more of such foods which will lead to nowhere in long term.
You need more protein and healthy fats to build your body and not just simple energy from carbohydrates.
Here’s what you should eat to achieve caloric surplus. Raw milk and milk products, whole eggs, chicken, beef, mutton, bananas, honey, white rice and potatoes.
Base majority of your diet around these foods and the results will follow.
2.Eat more protein
Protein is the basic building block of our body. Without enough protein you wont be able to gain muscle mass especially when you lift weights or do heavy exercise.
Eat 1.5g per kilogram of body weight worth of protein every day. So, for example if you weigh 50 kilos, you need to eat at least 75 grams of protein in order gain weight and build muscle mass.
What are the best sources of protein? it’s meat, milk, eggs and sea food. Protein from these foods is highly digestible and is of very high quality. Yes you can get enough protein from lentils, soybeans and other plant based protein sources but the quality of protein in them is far lower than animal protein.
Animal protein from foods like eggs, milk and meat also offers vital vitamins and minerals not found in plant proteins. Nutrients like zinc, iron, vitaminB12, cholesterol and other.
Basically, you have to eat animal based foods to get adequate amount of protein in your diet. Form your protein intake around these foods and watch your gains touch the sky.
If you want to understand more about the quality of protein and how to incorporate more of it in your diet then visit this article.
3.Eat more carbs
Carbs are very essential for proper energy production in the body and they are very good for bulking. The problem is that people would go out and eat their carbs from crap foods like burgers, fries, pasta, cakes and other fast food based things which does more harm than good.
As we talked earlier this approach causes unhealthy weight gain and poor health in long term. Instead of going out and chugging on pastries, cakes, fries, burgers get the right kind of carbs in your diet such as boiled potatoes, white rice, honey, and fruit.
Other carb sources such as pastries, pies, pastas, burgers can also be good but only when prepared at home in traditional old fashioned way using right ingredients.
4.Lift Heavy weights
If you want to pack on muscle mass and overall size lifting weights is a must. Our bodies were designed to move and not sitting on a desk all day long.
Movement is necessary in order to keep the body fit and healthy. Lifting heavy especially increases one’s muscle mass and is good for improving overall body size.
Compound exercises which are performed with a barbell are best to gain size and strength. Exercises such as row, deadlift, squat, bench press, shoulder press, dips, pullups, will be the best use of your time. Even if you are a beginner do not waste your time in training just small movements all the time since, it only improves muscle definition and not overall size.
5.Eat Animal fats
Animal fats like butter, ghee, lard, tallow, egg yolks and cream supply ample of good calories and body building nutrients like fat soluble vitamins, minerals and cholesterol.
They are anabolic in nature meaning that they promote building and repairing of tissue which ultimately leads to healthy weight gain.
What you should avoid is seed oils like canola oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, peanut oil and margarine. These fats are highly toxic and leads to poor health. Replace all of these fats in your kitchen and food with highly nourishing animal fats.
Other great sources of such fats is whole milk and it’s products, red meat like mutton and beef, egg yolks.