Straight, No Chaser Reader Request: What’s a Healthy Approach to Gaining Weight?


If you are even an occasional reader of Straight, No Chaser, you likely never thought you’d see the day when promoting weight gain was the topic of discussion. However, there are multiple medical circumstances for which weight gain is warranted, such as after an illness, in the presence of malnutrition, or during pregnancy. There are still other instances in which you may simply make the choice to gain weight. In either of these cases, you would do well to understand that all weight gain isn’t created equal, and if you’d like to gain weight, you should do so in the healthiest way possible. Just be sure to coordinate any such efforts with your physician. You really want to try to avoid any unnecessary strain on your heart.


To that end, here are 5 quick tips to help you along.

  1. Exercise. The type of exercise (strength training) that increases your muscle will add pounds. It is true that for the same volume, muscle weighs more than fat.
  2. Eat more frequently. Specifically, you should aim for 5-6 small meals per day, and make sure you don’t allow more than 4 hours to pass without eating. Also be sure to eat a healthy snack before going to bed. Remember sleep is the time when your body repairs and replenishes itself. Loading up on nutrients before bedtime will help your muscles grow and stay strong.
  3. Eat a variety of foods. This increases the likelihood you’re eating a nutrient-rich diet. A diet deficient in vitamins and nutrients leads to your body scavenging your muscles for the energy it needs. Make an effort to include whole-grain foods, fruits and vegetables, lean protein sources, nuts and daily products.
  4. Change what and when you drink. Understanding that fluids in general may be appetite suppressants, change your habit of drinking beverages, and consume them at the end of your meal. You would also do well to remove the “empty” calories of sodas with healthier fruit, milk or juice smoothies.
  5. Concentrate and combine. You can accumulate a lot of nutrition (and calories) by choosing foods delivering the same nutritional value in smaller servings. Think of dried fruits as an example. You can also create higher-powered meals by adding items such as nuts, cheeses, granola or potatoes as would be appropriate for any given meal

Burger made out of pills
Remember, the real name of the objective is health, not weight gain or loss. You can be relatively healthier at any body shape or size than you are right now. Just apply a few tried and true principles, and you will be on your way to your personal goals.
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