Given that the ongoing “battle of the bulge” is front and centre for most people, being too thin may seem like a good problem to have. However, being underweight can cause health problems,” Aisha Nabisubi, a clinical administrator at AAR, Bugolobi explains.
While fat is synonymous with excess weight and obesity, not all fat is bad. In fact, breaking down and storing energy (calories) as fat is good. Calories help you through a strenuous job or workout, aid brain development, prevent inflammation (swelling) and blood clots, and contribute to healthy hair and skin.
“Normal Body Mass Index for men is 18 – 25, while for women it is 18 – 27. Fat content should be 20 per cent and anything below that means that one is under weight,” Dr Sydney Senteza of Derma points out.
He cautions us that when one is put on a weight gain programme, junk food is out of the question; healthy weight gain requires a healthy approach.
While eating junk food may result in weight gain, it will not satisfy the nutrition your body needs besides the fat, sugar, and salt in junk food will harm your body. For a healthy weight gain, the following tips can help:
Eat every four hours: “Your body needs a continuous supply of energy since several processes are happening at the same time continuously,” Nabisubi says, “When you skip meals; you deprive your body of the fuel it needs to keep going hence energy reduction which unfortunately includes muscle mass.”
The best way to prevent that is to eat regular meals, spaced about three to five hours apart. If you are trying to gain new muscle tissue, consistent meal timing is critical. Sometimes people say “we eat all the time” yet they are not consistent.
Eat mini-meals: “If you have a poor appetite, for whatever reason, eating large amounts of food may get tough,” Nabisubi explains. Consider eating smaller meals throughout the day to increase your calorie intake.
Eat several foods at once: “Always aim for at least three food groups,” Nabisubi suggests, “For example, instead of just beans and rice, add pumpkin, vegetables, meat to your plate as well as a glass of milk.” A wider variety provides your body with a broader spectrum of nutrients to work with throughout the day.
Snack away: “Eat snacks regularly between meals,” Dr Senteza advises, “Get snacks that contain plenty of protein, good fat and healthy carbohydrate.” These include nuts, seeds, fruit, yoghurt, carrots, and cassava chips.
Eat healthy, but dense foods: “The best way to get extra nutrition without eating huge quantities of food or junk is to choose nutrient-rich foods that pack a lot of carbohydrates, protein or fat into a small serving like whole grain foods,” Nabisubi advises, “Also consider including all forms of meat, poultry, fish and eggs as often as possible.”
Minced meat, chicken and fish are easier to digest while offals, kidney, intestines are the least expensive source. All this helps to build muscle and ensures that your body is receiving enough, even if you have low appetite.
Add healthy calories; “You do not need to drastically change your diet,” Dr Senteza cautions, “You can increase calories by increasing intake of plant proteins such as beans, soy products, peas, sunflower, and sesame.”
Drink your food: “Liquids are not as filling as solid food. Therefore, they will add nutrition to your body without making you feel stuffed.
or bloated,” Dr Senteza mentions, “A good start would be porridge. It is best when you opt for the enriched kind (ekitobero); any porridge of your choice mixed with milk, peanut paste and the like.” You could also take amaranth porridge; spice it with vanilla to deal with its smell. You could also take smoothies, 100% fruit juice.
Dairy products: “Introduce more dairy products such as full-cream milk, sour milk, buttermilk, yoghurt and cheese into the diet,” Dr Senteza suggests, “You may also add dry milk powder to foods such as porridge, cereals, sauces and mashed potatoes.” Some people may find milk difficult to digest; avoid it if it causes cramps, a feeling of being full or skin rashes.
Eat right before bed: “A lot of our healing, repair and regeneration takes place while we sleep,” Nabisubi reveals, “It is like rush hour for building muscle and lean tissue, so eating a healthy snack right before bed ensures a fresh supply of nutrients for that time.” A great option that will not leave you feeling stuffed might be a small bowl of chopped, shredded veggies, a lean protein such as beans, or chopped chicken breast.
Boost your fat intake: “slowly increase the fat content of the food by using more fats and oils, as well as eating fatty foods – oil seeds like groundnuts, soy and sesame, avocados and fatty meat,” Mpiima advises, “If problems with a high fat intake are experienced (especially diarrhoea), reduce the fat intake until the symptoms subside and then gradually increase it to a level that the body can tolerate.” However avoid the unhealthy fat; the saturated fat like that in lad, and other products made from animal fat.
Exercise: “body building exercises help improve muscle toning,” Dr Senteza lets on, “Besides that, these exercises increase the body metabolism causing the body to demand for more food. All this will in turn help to increase one’s body weight.” This will also help you avoid central obesity; the big belly and help you have a toned body.
Learn to manage stress: “most people that lose weight and fail to gain it back live and work under stress,” he reveals, “The end result is loss of appetite.” Learn to manage it if any of the other innervations are to bear fruits.
Catch up diet: if you are in need of weight gain in the shortest time possible, he adds, “First thing in the morning, eat food coupled with two cups of millet porridge.
Do this every four hours for optimum results.”
You could also have two litres of milk every 12 hours coupled with raw sim-sim seeds. The body will turn this protein into muscles. Couple this with other foods throughout the days.