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Healthy Weight Center

Gaining Weight Healthily



I`m 16 years old and I`m 5`3 and about 88 lbs. I know I need to gain weight but I like to eat healthily and exercise at least 30 min a day. How can I gain weight healthily?


Gaining weight is in many respects even more difficult than losing weight. Before you focus on gaining weight, consider your family. Is there a tendency to be lean? If so, you can gain some weight, but you will probably always have a tendency to be lean. If you have recently lost weight due to illness or for some unknown reason, talk to your doctor to rule out some underlying cause for your low weight.

Gaining weight requires that you are consistent in your meals. When meals and snacks are skipped, it is even harder to eat the extra calories you need to gain weight.

I am glad you indicated that you like to eat healthy. You can and should gain weight by eating a healthy, balanced diet. To put on extra pounds:

* Think of the extra food the same way you think of a prescription from your doctor. Spread the food over three meals and a couple of snacks.

* Filler food (soup and salad) should be eaten after your main meal. Also save beverages for the end of your meal or between meals.

* The beverages and foods you choose should be those that are more calorie dense. For example, granola-type cereals rather than the puffed or flaked varieties; 100% fruit juice or milk rather than water. But do not forget to drink some water.

* Nuts and seeds are calorie dense foods which offer good nutrition. Include them often. Go easy on the foods that are high in saturated fat such as red meat and butter and those high in trans fats such as commercial bakery goods. Although these foods are high in calories, the type of fat they contain will increase your risk for heart disease.

* Be sure your exercise routine includes some strength training exercises to promote weight gain as muscle.

You can gain weight, but be patient. To gain muscle weight takes time and lots of effort.

For more information:

Go to the Healthy Weight Center health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Shirley A Kindrick, PhD Shirley A Kindrick, PhD
Former Team Leader of Comprehensive Weight Management
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University