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Healthy Weight Center

How Can I Gain Weight Back to Normal?

03/12/2009

Question:

Hi I am 22 year old male, I`m 1.86 meters tall (6.1 feet) and my weight is only 56 kg (123.45 pounds), way below the ideal weight. I tried many diets, eat too much... every possible way, without any increase in my weight ! I don`t drink much soft drinks, and no alcohols at all. My weight was ideal until I was 14, since, I am getting taller, with no weight increase !!

I would appreciate any advice that would help me get my weight to normal...

Answer:

Thanks for the question. Body Mass Index (or BMI) is a ratio of your height and weight. According to health experts and national health organizations, BMIs between 18.5 and 25 are associated with the greatest chance of health and lowest disease risk. Your BMI is approximately 16 and is considered underweight. Therefore, to reach a healthy BMI, the minimum weight for a person of your height is about 140 pounds.

First, you should consult with your physician to determine if you have any underlying physical causes for your low weight. If your physician recommends weight gain, then you should eat consistently throughout the day, with 3 meals and 2-3 snacks that include healthy foods and beverages. Begin by eating larger portions of the healthy foods that you are currently eating. Try to eat foods that are packed with calories in addition to nutrients, such as dried fruits, nuts, peanut butter, juices, and low-fat cheese. Fruit smoothies, milkshakes, or commercial supplements (such as Boost) are easy ways to consume extra calories, protein, and other essential nutrients between meals.

In addition to changing your eating habits, you should start weight lifting/strength training 3 times per week, so that you gain weight as muscle mass, rather than only body fat. Your goal is to gain weight in a healthy way, not just to increase your weight on the scale.

Check out the website, ChooseMyPlate.gov to find the number of calories that you need for your age, gender, and activity level. Then add about 500 calories per day to that number. If you start exercising, you may need to add even more calories to your diet. Aim for a gradual, healthy weight gain of about 1/2 to 1 pound per week. Remember that a registered dietitian can help you to evaluate your calorie needs and your meal and exercise plans. Good luck!

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Response by:

Bonnie J Brehm, PhD, RD Bonnie J Brehm, PhD, RD
Professor of Nursing
College of Nursing
University of Cincinnati