FIT&FAB: How to gain weight the healthy way part 2 - Daily Nation

FIT&FAB: How to gain weight the healthy way part 2

Thursday June 28 2018

Nuts are great for healthy weight gain.

Nuts are great for healthy weight gain. PHOTO| FILE. 

By MARION MAINA
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I have a habit of always seeking a second opinion. For the most part, this usually works out well for me. I discover better purchase deals, better career opportunities, better reads and what not.

Sometimes, it backfires; like when I consulted a customer at the fruit vendor on the best avocado to pick. I was not confident about the one I had picked. The guy picked another one and I bought both of them.

Guess what, his was not only half rotten but also had the biggest seed I have ever seen.

As is my style, after getting questions from readers on how to gain weight the healthy way, I felt it was important to seek a second opinion from another nutritionist friend.

To my utmost relief, I found out that most of the answers are similar to what Nduta Wambura shared in part 1 of this series. I picked top five most asked questions and Dorcas was quite generous with nutritional advice.

She emphasised that this was general advice and should not be used by an individual as a weight management plan. Here is what she had to say;

What type of food should I eat in order to gain weight and stay healthy?

A healthy diet is fundamental in weight gain. To gain weight, a person should increase the serving portion in every meal. Most underweight people feel full once they adjust to a bigger portions of food, this feeling disappears with time.

Ideally an individual should eat something every three hours from breakfast to the last meal of the day. In a day one should have five meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner as main meals and two separate healthy snacks can be taken in between (10am and 4pm snacks) the main meals. A main meal should include portions of food to supply carbohydrates, protein, and plenty of vegetables and fruits for vitamins and minerals.

Are there foods I should avoid while trying to gain weight and be healthy?

One should avoid junk foods, that is, fatty food, sugary food and drinks that have no other nutrients apart from sugars, and highly processed foods.

It is better to completely avoid them, if not possible then take them cautiously and occasionally.

Dorcas Kamunya is a lecturer at Kenya Methodist University. She has 14 years of experience in nutrition and food security. PHOTO | COURTESY

Dorcas Kamunya is a lecturer at Kenya Methodist University. She has 14 years of experience in nutrition and food security. PHOTO | COURTESY

I have heard of spot reduction, where overweight people do certain exercises to reduce their arms, bellies, thighs etc. Is it possible for me to increase weight in certain parts of my body such as hips and butt while maintaining a flat tummy and slim arms?

When the whole body is engaged in exercise and an additional portion of meal is given at every meal, muscles will be built especially on the limbs and other parts of the body that are engaged during exercise.

Fat will also be deposited all over the body. For ladies, fat tends to be deposited mainly on the hips, thighs and sometimes abdomen. For most men fat will be deposited mainly around the abdomen area.

There are two main body shapes: apple and pear, most men will have the former and ladies latter. It may not be possible to change one’s body shape to what they would wish to appear.

However, guided physical activities can yield some results in building muscles and burning excess fat to specific body parts.

People who are trying to lose weight are always advised to l drink a lot of water, does the same apply for those trying to gain weight?

Water is life, it is important for proper body function. However, taking a lot of water just before a meal will fill up the stomach. The recommended eight glasses of water should be sipped throughout the day.

Lack of adequate intake of water can lead to dehydration, which is a health problem to the individual on weight gain plan.

Any further advice for me as I seek to overcome my struggle with being underweight?

There is a health condition known as hyperthyroidism, it occurs due to an overactive thyroid gland. Hyperthyroidism may result from hormonal imbalance leading to excessive production of thyroid hormones.

Excessive production of thyroid hormones will automatically increase energy expenditure and cause weight loss.

It is important for individuals who have been on weight gain diets without success to have a medical check-up for thyroid gland function.

For consultation or advice email [email protected]

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General advice for weight management strategy

• Seek professional advice - Have an assessment of your weight, height and Body Mass Index to guide dietary recommendations, general medical test to determine organs function are also necessary.

• Accept the weight issue and believe you can address it through guided planning.

• Develop realistic goals according to your capability and context.

• When planning a diet, ensure variety, adequacy, nutrient dense and that ingredients are easily accessible.

• Monitor your progress on a monthly basis.

• Accept the weight issue and believe you can address it through guided planning.

• Look for diet and lifestyle changes that you can adapt to for the rest of your life. If followed, the problem is not likely to recur.