When trying to gain weight, it’s really all about food intake. The amount of weight you are able to gain depends on if you are able to take in more calories than your body burns. If you eat more calories than your body burns, you should be able to gain weight. If your body burns off all of the calories that you are taking in, then you won’t gain any weight.
Bottom line: if you don’t consume more calories than you burn, nothing’s going to happen.
Of course things like exercise do come into play. But really that just means that the more you exercise, the more food you need to take in to make up for the extra burned calories.
If you don’t already know how many calories you should be consuming each day, there are many tools online that you can use to help you figure this out. Just do a search for “online BMR calculator.” When you plug in your height, current weight, age, gender, and activity level into one of these calculators, it will basically tell you how many calories your body is currently burning each day. Then you just need to make sure you are eating more than this. You typically want to be eating about 500-1,000 extra calories each day (above what your body is currently burning) when you are trying to gain weight.
There are many different things you can do to help you eat more food. But the basics are always a good place to start! So, start with meal planning.
There are several reasons why meal planning can be so helpful:
With our busy schedules, it is easy to get too busy to eat. Many times we find ourselves skipping breakfast because we’re in a rush, and then we eat a granola bar when we get to the office to hold us over. We’re starving by 11, so we grab a couple snacks from the vending machine. By the time lunch rolls around, we’re still full from our snack so we eat a small lunch.
All of this irregularity in our eating schedules can really get in the way of us being able to consume enough food throughout the day. Routine is key when trying to gain weight. Any time you get off schedule, it hurts your ability to eat enough. With a meal plan, you are able to perfectly time your meals and snacks so that you can eat as much as possible at each meal, and throughout the day.
When trying to gain weight, you are typically eating quite a lot more, and a lot more often, than you normally would. So, you don’t end up feeling the usual hunger hints that you’re used to. Now you’re eating so often that you probably need to get the next meal or snack in before your body has the chance to clue you in to the fact that it’s time to eat.
With a meal plan, you don’t have to rely on your body’s usual hints. You plan out a schedule ahead of time to allow you to eat enough food throughout the day. Then you just stick to that schedule.
Again that busy schedule sneaks in. Sometimes we have a busy day full of meetings and we might not have time to go to the drive through for lunch. When you’ve planned your meals ahead of time, you can know that in advance and plan for it (aka bring a big lunch to work with you that day, or eat an early lunch before the meeting and disperse your snacks accordingly).
Whenever you’re going to be leaving the house, you can consult your meal plan for the day and make sure to bring with you (or make time to stop for) your needed meals and snacks. This avoids figuring things out when you’re busy and on the go. You know what you need and when you need it, and you can make any necessary preparations ahead of time.
When you use a meal plan, you can plan out your meals and snacks for the day (or week) to know you are getting enough food in. You know how many calories you need to consume. So you can plan your meals ahead of time so that those calories are spread out perfectly. You don’t have to worry about counting calories throughout the day to make sure you’re eating enough. You also don’t have to worry about getting to the end of the day and realizing that you have to stuff your face because you’re low on your caloric intake for the day.
When you’ve created a meal plan, you know the plan for the day. You know when to eat, and how much to eat. You know that you are eating enough each day, because you’ve already planned it out ahead of time. No surprises here!
There is no better time than now to get started with your meal planning. If you are trying to gain weight, don’t let another day go by without a plan. Figure out your daily caloric intake needs, and then sit down with a notebook and get your plan created. Create a meal plan for each day of this week. Include all meals, snacks, and even drinks you will need to consume each day. Include times for each of these meals and snacks. Then, you can use this week’s meal plan as a template for weeks to come.
If you need some help there are dozens of meal plans for gaining weight that can be found online. So get planning!