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Need To Gain Weight?

While most people have problems losing weight and combating obesity, a great number of people also want to, and need to, gain weight.

“Impossible!” those of you who struggle to lose a kilogram a week might say. “Why would anyone want to gain weight?” No, it’s not impossible, or improbable, that a fair number of people are very thin and are desperate because they aspire to look attractive with well defined muscles and sexy curves.

Causes of being underweight
Very rapid metabolic turnover, very high stress levels, problems with absorption, hyperactivity, excessive exercise, eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia, hyperthyroidism, depression, wasting illnesses, eating too little, unbalanced eating patterns and eating too much of only a few foods are some of the reasons why someone might be underweight.

Rapid metabolism: If you’ve been born with a rapid metabolic turnover, then you need to increase your daily intake of healthy foods to compensate for the rate at which you burn energy. Make use of six or more smaller meals a day, increase your intake of carbohydrates to provide the energy you are burning, and if necessary, take a carbobooster formula. If you need to gain weight, you’ll need to make sure you’re following the basic rules for healthy eating.

Again, this means eating regularly; something starchy at each meal (bread, pasta, potatoes, rice, cereals, etc); plenty of fruit and vegetables; daily servings of pulses, nuts and seeds; and a regular source of vitamin B12.

Increasing the amount of energy – dense food will help – using oils, sprinkling or blending nuts and seeds in dishes where appropriate, and consuming other relatively calorie-dense foods such as dried fruit and avocados, can also help. But remember that eating junk food in order to gain weight is not a healthy idea. Ensure that your diet
is healthy and nutritious.

Very high stress levels: If you’re constantly exposed to very high stress levels and anxiety at work or at home, then you should try and address the underlying problem by consulting a clinical psychologist to help you cope.

Problems with absorption: There are a variety of clinical conditions that can cause poor absorption of food. Patients suffering from coeliac disease, cystic fibrosis or steatorrhoea (inability to absorb fats from the gastrointestinal tract), are often underweight and have trouble gaining weight.

Such patients need to be treated by a doctor who will prescribe the required medications, such as enzymes, to aid digestion. Because of the complexity of such absorption illnesses, it’s always a good idea to consult a clinical dietitian who’ll work out a balanced diet that compensates for the absorption problems.

Hyperactivity: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the conditions that can make gaining weight a problem for children. The reason is that such children are so physically active that they burn up energy at an alarming rate. It is essential to ensure that these children eat a balanced diet, and plenty of it. ADHD kids need snacks between meals, especially in the late afternoon when they often go into a total dip because their blood sugar levels are at rock bottom. Don’t tell such children to wait till teatime. Give them a healthy snack when they say they’re hungry. You’ll find that they’ll be much calmer afterwards.

Excessive exercise: Exercise is good, but some tend to overdo it. They push themselves mercilessly until they reach a point of exhaustion and if they don’t ensure that they are putting back the energy they’ve used, they’ll struggle to gain weight.

March 1, 2010


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