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Healthy Weight Center

Gaining Weight

03/11/2009

Question:

Hi, I`m 23 year old male.Have a very healthy appetite but the problem is that I`m still too thin.I`m 5.8 tall and weigh 130 pounds.There seems to be almost no flesh on my skin, all I can see is bones and that hampers my appearance greatly. It has been pretty disappointing to me lately because I have tried all the possible things that I have been suggested. I eat a lot of fatty foods and have 3 meals a day. Also exercise almost regularly. Please suggest me something that will help me look better. Greatly appreciate your time and help. Thank you

Answer:

Thanks for your question. Weight gain can often be as frustrating as weight loss because it doesn`t happen over night. Just as it takes a while to lose weight, it takes time to gain weight. In addition, your body may have a weight "set point" (sort of like an internal thermometer for weight) which prevents you from gaining or losing too much weight. Being thin may be due to genetics as well.

However, you may still try to gain weight by eating more healthy foods as well as doing resistance training exercise (such as working with weights or Nautilus machines). Doing aerobic exercise is important for heart health, but unfortunately, it will increase your metabolism, which may keep you from gaining weight.

Eating more fatty foods may aid in gaining body fat, but not necessarily muscle. My advice is to eat or drink larger portions of healthy foods (such as drinking juice in place of water, or drinking milk with all meals and snacks). In addition, having bigger servings of starchy foods (bread, rice, cereal, pasta, potatoes) as well as meat, fish and poultry will increase your overall caloric intake and hopefully aid in weight gain.

You may also wish to try a high calorie commercial supplement to help with weight gain (such as Boost, Ensure, Carnation Instant Breakfast or Slim Fast). Many people use these in place of a meal, but in reality, drinking them between meals or at night ALONG with eating regular meals will possibly lead to weight gain. Basically the more calories in, the less calories expended, the more likely you`ll gain weight.

Other high calorie foods include dried fruit, nuts, seeds, peanut butter, juice, nectar and canned fruit. Adding low fat cheese or margarine to potatoes or vegetables will also increase your calorie intake.

If you try all of these ideas and nothing works in about a month, see your doctor. You may have an underlying condition which is keeping you from gaining weight, or as I said above, you may just be meant to be thin. Good Luck!

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Response by:

Lisa Cicciarello Andrews, MEd, RD, LD Lisa Cicciarello Andrews, MEd, RD, LD
Adjunct Faculty
University of Cincinnati