While others may be watching their weight, going to the gym and striving to stay in shape, others may stay effortlessly slim no matter what they eat. We all know or are one such person who categorically can eat “what they want in whatever the proportions” and remain metabolically healthy.
Nutrition science has studied Obesity over the years and has in fact documented a Fat gene by the name FTO (Fat Mass and Obesity Associated protein). FTO has been linked to changes in weight, brain function, impulse eating and dietary intake as people age.
Recently in May 2020, a study about a gene associated with thinness was published. The study found that mice without the ALK gene(Anaplastic lymphoma kinase) remain thin and are resistant to any diet induced obesity. While that is an ongoing study, it is crucial to understand how to gain weight the healthy way.
Yes, an underweight person can be at risk of immunity, could wish to gain a few pounds to boost their self esteem or even begin recovering from an illness they may have suffered from, be in a position to donate blood among many other factors.
Gaining weight is equally an uphill task as losing it. The initial thing to do is to identify the reason for being underweight and then work around it. You could be underweight because of thyroid problems, eating disorder,celiac disease, diabetes, cancer, infections, besides simply having a high metabolic activity that guarantees a slim silhouette year in, year out.
Invest in a food journal and a calorie counter to keep track of every single thing you eat on a daily basis as well. Remember a calorie calculator is simply an estimate and works best as a start for your weight gain journey. You need a calorie surplus for you to begin gaining weight. This means that you need to eat more than you are burning. Scientifically, you can aim to increase between 300 to 1000 calories all depending on the speed of weight gain and your physical activity.
It does not mean that you can start stocking up on fast food to quick fix the weight, instead choose nutrient dense food options which could include and are not limited to healthy fats such as lean meats, eggs, nuts, grains, tubers,avocado, olive oil, coconut oil,peanut butter not eliminating your vegetables. As a rule of thumb, for your calorie surplus to be met, you can consume 3 main meals within a day, incorporating snacks in between the meals.
If you are looking to gain more muscle, then stocking up on proteins to about 1.5 to 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram alongside weight lifting exercises.
Another tip to use is to avoid water intake before a meal to ensure that you can actually consume food on an empty stomach. Eating constantly, using a larger diameter of plate, adequate sleep, avoid smoking.
Now I know you might say you have tried all these methods and nothing seems to work! Yes, that could also happen. Remember genetics could be in play and although Nutrition Science is still decoding the genes that may or may not be to blame for the size of your jeans, as soon as you realize the root of your low weight, you understand your body better and can begin deliberately making the changes we talked about! Until next time, your body only gravitates towards how you treat it. So do right by yourself!