The essence of weight gain requires that the body be in overall energy surplus for a sufficient period of time to activate the adipose tissues (fat storage sites) to promote the uptake of excess energy (dietary calories) and convert it into stored energy as body fat.
Additional body fat may also lead to an increase in lean body mass, as the bones muscles and supporting tissues increase in density and size to accommodate the heavier overall body mass. This increase in weight may not always occur straight away, particularly in lean individuals, which is why a sustained effort to gain weight may be required.
At this moment in time, the systems of energy regulation (weight control) are not fully understood.
For example, why is it that some people can be in significant energy surplus (eating more calories than they are expending in physical activity and bodily functions) for long periods of time and not gain weight, whilst others are extremely efficient at storing almost all available excess energy, and are inclined to put on weight readily?
Clearly there is a genetic influence on weight gain, and individuals need to adopt eating and lifestyle habits accordingly to maintain a healthy body weight and or appropriate levels of body fat.
Therefore the principal of eating for weight gain is clearly to ensure that the body is in energy surplus for the majority of the time. The aim should be to prepare a strategy to ensure that adequate food is available at all times, and that time management and planning allow for sufficient breaks to take regular meals and snacks.
Where poor appetite is at the root of low body weight, the focus should be on selecting more flavoured or desirable foods, as well as paying particular attention to shopping, food preparation and snacking. Pay sufficient attention to food and meal times. Ensure there are always lots of freshly prepared delicious and nutritious foods at hand, in order to keep energy intake high.
When eating to gain weight it is important to continue to eat foods that are healthy and those that will provide an abundance of nutrients. Aim to eat calorie dense foods, but don’t concentrate calorie loading around foods that are exclusively fat and sugar, such as sweets, ice cream, chocolate, sugary drinks etc, as this may also introduce too many undesirable substances such as artificial flavourings, colourings and preservatives.
These foods are important and convenient additional sources of energy when on a weight gain regime, but they should not constitute the bulk of calorific intake.
The Lifestyle Guy – Personal Empowerment Coach