In a world afflicted with obesity and where almost everyone is fixated on losing pounds, rarely can you find people who are looking to gain weight and build more muscle. However, that doesn’t mean that such people don’t exist. If you are super skinny and are looking for ways to gain weight you will find that there isn’t much difference between the diet plans being followed by those trying to shed some kilos.
The basic thumb rule of eating nutrition-packed meals remains the same for both groups. The only difference is in the portion size and in the number of fats (healthy ones) you get to consume.
Health Issues with Being Underweight
To begin with, your beauty is not defined by whether you are overweight or underweight. Saying that the benefits of having an active lifestyle, following a healthy diet plan are essential in keeping your mind and body fit and free from diseases. Here are some potential health risks associated with being underweight or malnourished.
Malnutrition doesn’t always mean that you are going to be super skinny, it could also take place as a result of consuming empty calories (food items lacking in nutrients such as fried junk food or sugary items such as candies, doughnuts, soft drinks and so on) regularly. If you are malnourished you are likely to face these symptoms.
- Feel fatigued all the time and do not find the energy to engage in fitness activities
- Have irregular or missed periods often
- Experience dental problems, dry skin or even hair loss
- Nutritional deficiencies leading to anaemia
Nutritional intake is a huge factor determining immune function and the rate of infection. According to some research published in the National Library of Medicine, susceptibility to infection and constantly falling sick also leads to weight loss which further makes you underweight. So, this is a vicious cycle that needs to be put an end to.
A study has revealed that being underweight also increases the propensity to develop osteoporosis. This is because a low Body Mass Index (BMI) puts you at risk of having low bone mineral density. The same study showed that 24% of women with a BMI lower than 18 suffered from low BMD.
All of these reasons make it essential for you to endeavour towards a healthy and steady weight gain mission.
Whether you are trying to lose or gain weight, you should ensure that you are consuming a healthy and power-packed breakfast every day. Having your breakfast every day within a certain time provides you with energy, the stamina to focus on your work/studies and your daily dose of essential minerals and vitamins. The Indian diet provides you with a plethora of meal options that you can enjoy every morning that is both quick and yummy.
If you are looking for some comfort food then vegetable poha with a bowl of sprouted beans or vegetable stuffed/paneer paratha with yoghurt never gets old. If there is time constraint then going for some cheese Anda bhurji (vegetarians can opt for a tofu vegetable scramble) with 3-4 slices of brown/multigrain bread and a glass of milk with crushed almonds/cashews/walnuts should be of use to you. Additionally, those facing gastric issues would be better off with a cold breakfast option such as a Mango protein shake or even peanut oatmeal porridge with lots of seasonal fruits.
Lunch / Dinner Ideas
When someone starts on their weight loss journey, they are immediately asked to cut down or completely omit their rice intake. Rice is a high carbohydrate food item rich in calories. When you are on your weight loss journey, you can indulge yourself in some home-cooked fried rice or simply plain rice or 2-3 pieces of ghee roti with a bowl of dal and vegetables or paneer or rajma for your lunch and dinner. If you are a non-vegetarian then you can opt for fatty fish like rohu, pomfret or salmon to gain weight as well your dose of omega-3 fats the right way. Those who are looking to lose weight are often asked to stick with lean meat such as chicken that is devoid of fat and easy to digest. If you are looking to gain more muscle you can add red meat to your diet as well a couple of times a week in large portion sizes.
Snacking Made Fun & Nutritious
In India, snacking options are unlimited. But the key is to not get carried away and stick with a diet that is nutritious, tasty and at the same time helps you to gain weight healthily. Often those on a weight loss journey would skip their snacks as a way to limit their calorie intake. However, on a weight gain journey, you have some leeway but with conditions of course. You can opt to go for a plate of dhokla (4-5 pieces), some peanut chikki, bhel puri (minus the chutney), a fruit bowl, popcorn, makhana chat, a paneer sandwich or even a dosa!
No matter the end goal of your daily diet- weight loss or weight gain, ensure to always replace your meals with protein-rich, nutritious and filling food items. Packaged foods and sugary items should be avoided by both groups. Remember if weight gain is what you are trying to achieve, consuming 500 calories more each day than what you would normally consume to maintain your weight should be your agenda. Compliment your diet with some light-weight training, have sufficient quantity of water to keep your body functioning properly and you should be all set to see visible results in one or two months.