Q: How can I increase my weight?

A: I have recently been asked to give some information about gaining weight. In the media we are regularly bombarded with tips to lose weight and the next fad diet for miracle weight loss. These fad diets don’t actually work in the long term and shouldn’t be followed. But what about the people who need to gain weight? There is rarely any information provided for people who want to or need to gain weight.

Ask yourself why

You should firstly consider why you want to gain weight. People lose weight for various reasons. If you have lost weight and you are not sure why you should see your doctor. If you have always been a low weight for your height and have decided to gain weight it might be a bit more difficult because your body type is influenced by genetics. That’s not to say it is impossible.


Just because you want to gain weight doesn’t mean you should stock up on high sugar and high fat foods. It is as important to maintain a healthy balanced diet regardless if you are in trying to lose, gain or maintain your weight.

The science – should I do the opposite to those losing weight?

Consider the basics behind weight loss first – reduce energy intake and increase energy output and (provided that there is no underlying medical condition) your weight should reduce. This means not eating as many calories from food and try to burn a bit extra from moving more.

When it comes to gaining weight it is recommended that you try to get more calories (energy) from healthy food. You still need all the nutrients that are provided in the main foods groups so it is important to stay eating a healthy diet.


Exercise is recommended for weight loss and you might think you should stop exercising when trying to gain weight. This isn’t true. Exercising has many benefits for your health. Regular physical activity reduces your risk of developing chronic disease such as coronary heart disease, diabetes, stroke, cancer and depression. If you exercise you should continue to exercise and if you currently don’t exercise, why not begin? Including some resistance training can help shape muscles and cardiovascular training will help your heart health. It is always a good idea to consult your doctor before beginning an exercise programme.


Try to incorporate some of the following tips – even add one each day.

  • Build your meals around foods in the food pyramid; include carbohydrates, healthy fat, protein, dairy and fruit and vegetables in your meals. As I said a balanced diet is important for everyone.
    • Try to increase your portion size, a little extra at each meal adds up over the day.
    • Try snacking on some healthful nuts and seeds at break time or include them as a tasty salad topping.
    • Avoid fizzy drinks as they fill you up quickly; instead drink water, juice, milk, tea or coffee.
    • Try to consume a number of meals rather than three strict meal times over the day.
    • Include healthful fats and oils like salmon, nuts, olive oil and rapeseed oil.
    • Include some resistance training in your workouts. A gym instructor will help to devise a suitable plan for your goals.