Understanding Weight Gain
Ideal weight gain is the process of deliberately and healthily increasing body mass in a controlled fashion. It is important to understand that weight gain not only includes overall mass gain, but it comprises of development of muscle mass and attaining a harmonious physique.
How the Body Builds Muscle?
Due to resistance training, the tearing of muscle fibre takes place. Hormones like testosterone, HGH and IGF-1 heal muscles by fusing them which is called muscle hypertrophy. This enhances the size of the muscles, making them thicker and stronger.
Causes of Difficulty in Gaining Weight
Fast metabolism, insufficient caloric intake, extra resistance workouts or physical activity, medical conditions like hyperthyroidism and gastrointestinal disorders, genetic imbalances, and emotional factors like anxiety, stress and depression.
How Common is it?
of adults and children in India are suffering from malnutrition
of children in India experience wasting (severe malnutrition)
of Indians (mostly children below 5 years) are underweight
of women go through CED (Chronic Energy Deficiency)
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Dt. Zubeda Tumbi
Dietician and Nutritionist
(Weight Management, Diabetology, Thyroid Disorders and Nutrition - Dietician and Nutritionist)
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Sexologist and Psychologist
(Sexology, Cognitive Behaviour Modifications, and Idiopathic Infertilty - Sexologist and Psychologist)
"Sexual health often receives insufficient attention in India, leading to the delayed seeking of medical assistance for intimacy and relationship concerns. It is crucial for individuals to proactively pursue treatment, as early intervention yields more effective and viable solutions."
Weight Gain - Underweight
Siddharth, a young handsome guy of 25 years with a BMI of 18 had always been skinnier since birth. He was always on the lighter side in school and even in college. Everybody used to make fun of his skinny arms and legs. In spite of urges for junk and fast food, he never had luck in gaining weight. Even after joining a gym, he could not grow muscle mass. One day, he found Nirvasa and filled out the self-assessment form. The pro-nutritionist went through his answers, offered a doctor consultation and understood his case by digging a little deeper. On the basis of his medical history, lifestyle habits and diet, the pro-nutritionist suggested a weight management plan of nine months. He followed every advice and now he is healthy, fit and has gained a good amount of muscle mass.
Weight Gain - Underweight
A 30-year-old married woman named Priya of 48 kg and a BMI of 18.2 had been extremely upset and stressed with her issue of being underweight which she had been from 7 to 9 months. She usually had food cravings junk and unhealthy foods like burgers, pizzas, pasta, etc. In spite of self-medication and home remedies, Priya was not able to gain weight. Through a much-needed doctor consultation from Nirvasa, she got a weight management treatment plan of 3 months in which she got lifestyle advice, necessary energy-boosting supplements and dietary modifications. Now, after the completion of the treatment, she is feeling extremely confident, and energetic and enhanced stamina to do her tasks efficiently.
Weight Gain - Underweight
A boy named Rohit 22 years with a BMI of 17.4 had been underweight since his birth. He had tried multiple self-medications and home remedies like changes in diet, strength training, and increasing calories by eating all kinds of junk. When he lost hope to gain weight, he saw Nirvasa while surfing the internet. After an in-depth evaluation of the self-assessment form by the certified pro-nutritionists, he got diagnosed with underweight. With the free doctor consultation, he got suggested a personalized weight management treatment plan of 6 months to help improve his energy and calorie intake. He noticed positive changes in his weight and now he is at the right weight and completely fit and healthy.
How can I overcome my difficulty in gaining weight and building muscle effectively?
To overcome the challenge of weight gain, focus on embracing a combination of calories through a deliberate increase in your daily caloric intake. Prepare a well-balanced dietary regimen with an abundance of carbohydrates, proteins, and good fats, all working cordially to nourish the muscle growth. Being consistent in strength training exercises is the key if you want noticeable muscle development and propel on the path towards weight gain.
What dietary changes can I make to promote healthy weight gain and meet my nutritional needs?
On the journey of weight gain, making necessary changes in your food intake is quite critical. You need to include calorie-dense foods like nuts, avocados, seeds, dairy products, whole grains, and lean meat products. Make sure the intake of meals and snacks is distributed on equal intervals throughout the day, offering consistent inflow of crucial nutrients. Apart from these, you should incorporate proteins as well, such as fish, chicken, eggs, and lentils. Keeping your body hydrated is very important so drink plenty of water and say no to sugar beverages and aerated drinks.
What are some potential underlying factors or medical conditions that could be causing my difficulty in gaining weight?
The factors that might become obstacles in your weight gain are metabolism, genetics, medical conditions, and lifestyle practices. Consulting a professional health expert is important to evaluate the root cause of your condition, such as hormonal imbalance, thyroid, and gastrointestinal issues.
Are there any supplements or medications that can assist in healthy weight gain without adverse side effects?
There are multiple brands that have supplements claiming to help you in gain weight. Some might help and most won’t. It is always adviced to consult a weight management expert or a registered dietician before including any supplement in your diet regimen. These professional weight experts assess your body and recommend right supplements if necessary. It is understood that the supplements should never be the substitute of a balanced diet or lifestyle changes.
Weight Gain: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment
What is Underweight?There are a lot many complications related to body weight, other than just being overweight and obese. The ones who fall on the low body weight side do not always enjoy perks and also face a lot of problems. Being underweight is majorly not having enough nutrition in the body. it can be the reason for other health issues. Some of them include:
- Nutrition and vitamin deficiency
- Lack of haemoglobin leading to anaemia
- Hampered immune function
- Irregular menstrual cycle
- Problems while conceiving
- High risks related to surgical procedures
- Lack of appropriate growth as per weight and height
How Common is Underweight?A considerable amount of the population in India is underweight. Almost 31% of adults and children in India suffer from malnutrition. The population not only considers children below the poverty line who do not get proper access to food but also the ones with body problems leading to the inability to gain weight. As much as 44.5% of Indians, majorly including children under the age of 5 years are underweight. Moreover, 17% of children in India lie on the edge of extreme malnutrition. Treatment for underweight adults also becomes a challenge.
Symptoms of Being UnderweightJust like obesity can bring other problems along, being underweight is also related to a number of problems. Majorly your body is not able to get the right and complete amount of nutrients to sustain which leads to a number of other problems. Symptoms such as anaemia can be further related to fatigue, dry skin, breathlessness, low stamina, thinning of hair and palpitations. Various other complications are also accompanied by such symptoms. It is important to spot such problems so that the right diagnosis can tell you whether you’re underweight or not. Some of them include:
Light HeadednessA person with low body mass may experience lightheadedness and feel dizzy. This is due to a lack of energy inside the body.
FatigueFatigue is the first and foremost symptom that occurs due to a lack of appropriate mass in the body. It is directly related to the fact that lack of nutrients and energy inside the body leading to being underweight is the reason behind fatigue since there is no stored energy inside the body to be utilised.
Low ImmunityUnderweight weakens the ability of the body to fight infections. Therefore, those with less body weight are more likely to have poor immunity than those with normal body weight.
Low HaemoglobinLow haemoglobin or anaemia is due to a lack of minerals like iron due to a deficiency of the right diet. Since haemoglobin distributes oxygen to different parts of the body, a lack of HB leads to a lack of energy.
Disturbed Menstrual CycleThe lack of regulated hormones in underweight females is responsible for delayed or prolonged menstruation. Menstruation may also occur before time and remain disturbed for years.
InfertilityThe overall hormonal balance inside the bodies of underweight women is disturbed. The irregularity of hormonal secretion directly affects the reproductive system. In worst cases, it can also lead to infertility
OsteoporosisOsteoporosis is low bone mineral density usually seen in women after the age of 30 and 35. It is also commonly seen in underweight people. The risk of osteoporosis is increased with underweight due to a lack of the right minerals. It makes bone weak, brittle and more susceptible to injuries.
Causes of Weight Loss or UnderweightThere are various underlying causes for underweight. Some of these can be controlled by small efforts and some need external help like therapy and medicines for weight gain treatment. The major ones include:
MalnutritionThe major cause seen nowadays responsible for being underweight is malnutrition. The term malnutrition simply means lack of nutrition. It is an umbrella term which not only includes people underweight but also overweight people. The reason for the same is obese people who eat a lot of junk and fast food that lacks essential nutrients and minerals. The body can be malnourished if it is not getting the right amount of nutrition. However, this problem is most commonly seen in underweight people. This problem can further lead to a lack of stamina, low energy, lightheadedness and irregular menstruation. Medicine for weight gain for male and female almost work the same.
Chronic Energy DeficiencyAs the name suggests, chronic energy deficiency is a deficiency of energy for a long period of time. The reasons for the same can be any, including a person's habit of eating less and not the right foods. The complications lead to impairment of the immune system and delayed immune response. It further leads to weakness and can be extremely dangerous.
Mineral DeficiencyMost of the time the person falls underweight due to mineral deficiency. If the person is not taking the right diet and is devoid of essential minerals for a very long period of time then the weight of the person may fall drastically. Mineral deficiency can overall hamper the quality of life since the person would feel less energised to do any work.
Poor AppetiteOne major cause of underweight or weight loss is poor appetite. If the person is not enough to fulfil the daily required calorie intake and is burning more calories then he/she may likely fall on the underweight side. It is better to eat less but not eating enough has its own side effects. Therefore, having a balanced diet is important.
HyperthyroidismHyperthyroidism refers to excessive secretion of thyroid hormone from the thyroid gland. Hyperthyroidism is linked to various side effects, one of which is excessive weight loss. Thyroid hormone control and help in getting back to the healthy weight side.
DiabetesDiabetes includes either a lack of insulin production or the body's inability to utilise the insulin to break glucose. In both cases, one major side effect is loss of body weight. Since the body is not able to use up the glucose, it starts burning the muscle and fat for energy requirements. The resultant effect is extreme weight drop, dizziness and fatigue. Danietes management can be done using appropriate treatments and medications.
Bad Mental StateExtreme stress and anxiety due to personal or professional life problems can also lead to extreme weight loss. One main reason for this is that you tend to develop bad eating habits. Eating at odd times, loss of appetite and eating unhealthy is the main reason behind weight loss.
Eating DisorderEating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia can trigger consciousness of weight and trigger weight loss. The problem exists in the head and leads to the person working towards losing weight. The extreme conscious mind tends to direct the person to fear weight gain even if the patient is extremely thin.
Alcohol MisuseAlcohol misuse is related to weight gain as it adds on the calories and you tend to take in more calories in a day than what is required. But in cases where the alcohol dependency is very high, there is a high possibility of weight loss. It is not because the person is taking in extra calories but because the person tends to skip eating and some days not eat at all. It eventually triggers weight loss since now the person is not consuming anything for energy.
Body Dysmorphic DisorderBody Dysmorphic Disorder or BDD is a disorder in which the person becomes extremely conscious about their body weight. The body mass index of the person is usually perfectly fine and the person does not require any weight alterations, yet is encouraged to lose weight. The main reason for this is the person is afraid of weight gain and constantly thinks that he/she is overweight already leading to excess weight loss.
High MetabolismAlthough having a good metabolism may sound good, it may not always work in your favour. People having extremely high metabolism are able to use more energy compared to ones with low metabolism. Therefore even after eating a lot, the person is not able to gain weight and instead drops weight more often.
Diagnosing if You’re Underweight or NotIn order to diagnose whether you are underweight or not one can take a number of tests as suggested by the physician. The foremost test includes a physical examination. A lot of physicians recommend checking BMI to see if one is underweight or not. The measurements for BMI are:
- Underweight: Less than 18.5
- Optimum range: 18.5 to 24.9
- Overweight: 25 to 29.9
- Displacement plethysmography
- Measurement of skin thickness using skinfold caterpillars
- Gauging the circumference of the waist
- Checking HB with the help of a simple blood test
- Bone density diagnosis
- Checking reproductive hormones with the help of blood tests
- Diagnosing levels of insulin
Weight Gain Treatment for UnderweightWeight gain treatment or weight gain therapy is not only required for thin people to look aesthetically good but also because underweight individuals tend to face more complications. It is important to keep your body healthy and not just externally fit. Here are some weight gain treatment ways for people constantly dropping weight:
Improving Eating Habits:In order to improve eating habits one must start indulging in healthy food in diet instead of foods lacking nutrition. Instead of eating junk every now and then, one should shift to a diet high in starch like natural sugars and foods high in unrefined carbohydrates and fibre. Such categories of foods mainly include brown bread, brown rice, potatoes and high portions of fruits and vegetables. Underweight treatment is possible by eating right. One should avoid processed foods such as biscuits, cakes, and fast food high in saturated fat content. One should switch to foods that have unsaturated fats. You can also increase your daily dairy consumption which includes drinking buttermilk, milk, and organic butter. Try eating less spicy food to keep your metabolism balanced.
Stop Skipping Meals:Skipping meals is not recommended for people having low body weight. Instead one should take out time to prepare healthy meals for themselves. Eating in the right quantity promotes gaining the right weight and falls under natural remedies for weight gain.
Shift to Healthy Weight Gainers:In order to increase body mass, one can shift to healthy weight gainers like shakes. They may include fruit shakes and smoothies that include banana, peanut butter, oats and egg which promotes healthy weight gain. One can also take natural protein powders which can be added to milk and promote healthy weight gain. They also promote your HDL which is good cholesterol and reduce LDL i.e. bad cholesterol. Supplements and medicine to gain weight is also available.
Avoid Drinking Before Eating:Drinking before eating makes your stomach feel fuller. It is good when your aim is to reduce weight but for weight gain, it is not recommended. After drinking if your stomach feels fuller, you tend to consume fewer calories and therefore the daily requirement of calories is not fulfilled.
Eat in Regular Intervals But Eat Less:It is always better to keep your stomach full. One should not overeat and take small proportions. It is important to have a meal after every short interval. Taking in small portions will gradually help you consume more calories if you keep short intervals in between. There is no efficient medicine for gaining weight and muscle, one has to work on overall health.
Get More Active:Although it may sound counterproductive, getting outside and keeping yourself more active helps in favour. It is important for weight gain equally as it is for weight loss. One who tends to indulge more in activities like weight gain and cardio gains muscle mass. It also helps in stabilising the metabolism and increases appetite. Hormonal weight gain treatment is not recommended since it hampers the normal hormonal pathway.
Prevention of Weight LossThere may not be major preventive measures to save you before you drop extreme weight but one can always take care of health to maintain good body weight. Sometimes body weight might not be in control since genes play a role and restrict weight gain. For families in which a thin body runs in the bloodline, it becomes a bit difficult to control weight but can still be worked on. Some preventive measures to take before you go down the BMI include:
- Maintaining a good diet
- Avoid skipping meals
- Take the help of a nutritionist who can make a diet chat including appropriate nutrition
- Taking less stress and managing mental health
- Hitting the gym and focusing on gaining muscle mass