Healthy weight gain in case of underweight
Although one can get the impression that almost everyone seems to fight against superfluous pounds, there are also people who suffer from underweight. Starting with small children, there are underweight people in every age group.
Too little body weight can have different reasons. Natural underweight can be genetic, for example, while physical or psychological causes such as excessive stress can also be responsible for too little weight.
When is one underweight?
According to a generally accepted definition of the World Health Organization, the so-called body mass index (BMI) serves as an objective assessment of healthy body weight. According to this definition, a person is considered underweight if he or she has a BMI of 18.5 or less. The BMI is calculated from the ratio of height and body weight. Somewhat more accurate are calculations that also include gender and age.
Despite all the differentiations, however, this official calculation also remains only an approximate guide value. Thus body fat, muscle percentage or individual bone structure are left out of the calculation. Those who are small and petite due to genetic predisposition do not necessarily have to suffer from pathological underweight.
Causes of underweight
In addition to a family-related underweight, the individual metabolism can also be a cause for too little body weight, because the calorie consumption is quite different among people. If one has a „fast“ metabolism, a lightweight person quickly consumes several hundred calories more per day. This is mostly hormonal, but is not necessarily pathological.
In children, being underweight can mean being a poor eater, meaning the child simply has no appetite, which also does not necessarily indicate illness. In most cases, it is only a developmental phase that requires patience and perseverance on the part of parents.
Underweight can easily occur even in old age. Older single people in particular often have no drive to independently ensure a sufficient balanced diet. In addition, there are physical limitations. Dental problems, digestive problems, illnesses and loss of appetite then easily lead to unwanted weight loss.
In all age groups, however, diseases such as food intolerances can also be the cause of underweight. Lactose intolerance, an intolerance to fructose or even allergies lead to a severely restricted menu, resulting in weight loss. This is also the case with serious illnesses such as celiac disease, thyroid disorders, Crohn’s disease or even tumor diseases.
Psychological causes of underweight are mainly stress, eating disorders of any kind and depression.
How to gain weight
If there is no serious illness, it makes sense to first take stock of the situation. It makes sense to keep a food diary for one or two weeks. This gives us an overview of the average food intake. Use a calorie calculator to calculate both basal metabolic rate (the amount of calories you need to maintain your weight) and power metabolic rate. The calculated numbers can then be compared to the amount of calories consumed.
To gain weight healthily, you should eat about 500 calories more than you consume. And this should be done as regularly as possible and not just on one or two days a week. This simple calculation can then be used to plan the meals and quantities of food that should be eaten.
Gain weight with pleasure
Basically, food should be fun and a pleasure to eat. For many underweight people, however, eating is not a pleasure, but a chore, which is often even forgotten. To gain weight in a healthy way, however, four to six meals per day (incl. snacks) necessary, so you should create a pleasant and relaxed atmosphere for eating.
For working people, it is a good idea to prepare small snacks the evening before for in-between meals and take them with you. A balanced diet with plenty of fruit, whole grain products and vegetables should then also be maintained. Nutritious become these snacks with full-fat yogurt, cottage cheese and nuts, the cheese roll with full-fat cheese and tomatoes with cottage cheese, for example, are nutritious and healthy at the same time.
If you cook at home, it is of course a little easier to do so. Healthy, balanced and high-calorie food is easy to organize. With a weekly plan, supplies and fresh ingredients the meals can be well prepared. However, you should concentrate on healthy foods, even if other meals suggest a more positive effect. Although fatty fries are high in calories, they harm the body with too much unhealthy fat and harmful spices.
On the menu for balanced calorie-rich food belong in any case wholemeal pasta and rice, legumes, bananas, avocado, nuts and potatoes. Fatty fish should be eaten twice a week; salmon and herring, for example, provide healthy fats. All dishes can be effectively enriched with high-quality oils, olive oil or cold-pressed kernel oils.
Stay and become healthy
With underweight, which is illness-conditioned, a physician should be consulted naturally always, because depending upon the individual causes for underweight a medical therapy is absolutely necessary. If no illness is the cause, one should absolutely deal intensively with the own nutrition.
Find out how many nutrients you are eating and increase them. Take time for meals and do not eat „between the door and the corner“. And the most important thing: be patient, because gaining weight successfully is a process that takes time.