How to gain weight
Gaining weight is as difficult for some as losing weight is for others. But simply increasing your calorie intake may not be the right answer. You want to add calories to your diet, but you don’t want to add unneeded fat to your body. Follow a basic healthy eating plan and exercise routine to add muscle and needed fat to your body. Your eating plan should be made up of healthy food choices, with emphasis on fresh fruits and vegetables, and high in protein. Your goal is to gain and maintain a reasonable weight.
Before starting your weight gain diet, visit your doctor. She may want to test for digestive disorders that cause weight loss or the inability to gain weight, such as celiac disease.
Start a food journal
Keep a food journal for two weeks. The entry should include your current weight. Write down everything you eat, including portion size and the time of day for each meal and snack. Write down the amount of calories each food provided. You may need to use a calorie count book or scale to get this information. You may also use an online site for this activity, such as A Calorie Counter.com. After two weeks, weigh yourself again and include it in your journal.
Assess your calorie and exercise needs
Count the total amount of calories you consume each day. Add the amount of calories from each day and determine how many calories you consumed each week. This is your baseline for adding calories to your diet.
To gain weight and muscle, and not gain unneeded fat, you must consume more calories than you burn, but you also need to exercise to build muscle. You need to provide your body with enough calories to burn while you exercise, and have a surplus of calories to convert to additional muscle and needed fat.
Start by adding an additional 500 calories to your daily dietary intake. You may need to build up over a few days time to reach that goal. Along with a resistance exercise routine directed at specific musle building, an additional 500 calories should result in a weight gain of approximately 1/2 pound a week.
Increase your calorie intake
Write up a meal plan in your food journal that includes three full meals and at least two snacks. Each meal should include grains, dairy, fruits and vegetables, protein and fats. Fats include vegetable oil for cooking, fatty acids such as those in fish, and margarines that are trans fat free.
Divide the additional calories needed between the meals and snacks. For example: 500 divided by 3 equals 166.66 so you can add an additional 167 calories to each main meal to gain the additional calories. You can divide the calories up as you decide, but you must increase your daily calorie intake by 500.
Continue to keep your food journal. In addition to tracking your meals and calories, track when you worked out and for how long.
Start your exercise routine
Resistance exercise, in which you work against a set amount of weight, builds specific muscles. Arm curls with dumbbells, leg squats and sit ups are examples of resistance exercises.
Set aside 15 minutes a day and develop a rountine using these three exercises. The dumbbells should be heavy enough that you can only do 7 to 8 curls at a time. Start with a 5 lb. dumbbell and adjust upwards as you build muscle.
Do 7 to 8 leg squats and 10 sit ups. Between each set of exercises, stop, breathe deeply and drink water.
Eat a snack after working out. Include fresh juice or water with your snack. Note in your journal the time of day you worked out and what you had to eat afterwards.
Continue to add time to your workout until you reach 30 minutes a day. Add new exercises to your routine as well. Visit Sports Fitness Advisor.com for animated diagrams of various resistance exercises. Once a week, weigh yourself and make a note in your journal. Consider increasing your calorie intake at the end of the second month. Depending on your age and height, try to reach a goal of approximately 2500 to 3000 calories a day.