It is enviable how some people can't seem to gain weight without having to watch their diet, while others constantly struggle with their weight issues despite putting a lot of effort to cut down calories and exercising.
This can be boiled down to good genes with a high metabolism, although experts say nutritional and behavioral factors could play a part to stave off the extra pounds.
It is crucial to rule out underlying medical conditions such as hyperthyroidism and celiac disease, a severe condition of intolerance towards gluten, if you are constantly underweight despite consuming enough calories.
Why some people find it easier to control their weight?
Our tendency to gain or maintain weight is complex, genetics, nutritional and behavioral factors all play a role. The extent to which each of those factors affects our weight varies, according to individual.
The truth is, there is no genetic on-off switch that allows some people to binge-eat and defy the fundamental rules of weight gain. We might have overlooked the lifestyle behaviours and hormonal factors of those who seem never to gain fat.
- Hunger vs. appetite
Sometimes it is all in the mind. Some may have a huge appetite, consuming more than they should and end up putting on weight. Only eat when you feel physically hungry, not when you are craving for something.
- Hormonal factors
Hunger is controlled by two hormones—ghrelin and leptin. Leptin, which is produced by fat cells suppresses appetite while ghrelin does the opposite to stimulate your appetite. People with higher leptin sensitivity or production find it easier to control craving or lose weight.
- Sleep pattern
You can however control your hormones by getting at least seven hours of sleep a night. Sleep deprivation can send your ghrelin level spiking and the body will overproduce cortisol, a hormone that instigates hunger. In short, sleeping more could cause a person to weigh less.
- Eating Habits
How you eat also determines the amount you consume. Eating at a slower pace and chewing more do not tend to gain much weight, as your brain gets more time to signal the body that you are full.
Experts recommend having your meals sitting down because eating standing up is usually associated with snacking and you may end up eating more than you need.
How to gain weight in a healthy way?
Yet those who are constantly skinny may want to gain some muscle mass. A diet that is high in protein with nutrient dense foods as well as strength training can help you to bulk up gradually.
Maximize your intake of nutritious foods by switching to healthier options such as brown rice, high-fat dairy and high-protein meats. Some of the nutrient-dense food that can help with weight gain:
- Nuts: Almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts
- Dried fruits: Raisins, dates, prunes
- High-fat dairy: Whole milk, full-fat yoghurt
- Fats and oils: Avocado, extra virgin olive oil
- Grains: Rolled oats, brown rice
- Tubers: Sweet potatoes, yams
- Meat: Chicken, beef, pork, lamb
Eat smart and maintain a healthy weight
Losing or gaining a few pounds can greatly improve your health as being overweight can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and certain cancers. An underweight person might lack the nutrients his body needs to build healthy bones, skin, and hair, and the calories to maintain daily activities. Keeping to a balanced diet and having regular exercise will help you maintain a healthy weight.