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How Do I GAIN Weight?
While it’s not as common a goal as losing weight, there are a significant number of people who have weight gain as a goal. The reasons are as varied as individuals, but could include a desire to gain weight for a sport, a desire to put on a few pounds after rehabilitating from an injury, or you’re just underweight and having trouble getting on the scale or your doctor he asked you to make him gain weight.
Before you begin your weight gain journey, I would be remiss if I didn’t encourage you to visit your doctor for a checkup first. It may be that you are not even underweight. While I’m not a fan of BMI, underweight is defined as having a BMI below 18.5. (The media plays a big role in how we view our bodies and it could just be that you’re fine in the skin you’re in.) However, there could be medical reasons why you are finding it difficult to gain weight and your doctor will do a good starting point. OK, all cleared by your doctor? So let’s look at ways to help you put on a few pounds.
Weight gain will generally follow the same formula as weight loss, but in reverse. If calories have to be minor calories to lose weight, then it stands to reason that the opposite will have the opposite effect — and it does! So the universal scientific formula for weight gain is calories must be greater what calories out.
Sounds simple, and all you have to do is increase your daily McBurger quota, right? Well, not so fast. You want to do this thing right and healthy and slowly. So, without further ado, here are some suggestions for your makeup bag.
1. Determine how many calories you are taking in now and how many calories you need based on your daily activity. You can use a good online tool for this. Whatever the number is, it represents the number of calories you need just to maintain the weight you have (I know, I ended my sentence with a preposition, I’m crazy like this) Now that you know what the number is, you need to increase your daily calorie intake of, oh, let’s start with an increase of 500 calories a day. When you gain or lose weight or change your activity level or have changes in health, your calorie needs change, so always stay on top of what your calorie goal is. Food diaries are a great tool, especially when starting out.
2. Try to eat more often-YEAH!! If you eat 3 meals a day, try adding a couple of healthy snacks throughout the day.
3. When you eat your regular meals, increase your portion size. If snack no. 1 was supposed to be a yoghurt (I know… gross!) so get 2 yoghurts. At dinner, have a second serving of vegetables. The goal is to try to increase your portion sizes with each meal
4. Focus on good foods. Whole grain breads are dense and you can cut them into thick slices and put your favorite toppings on them like peanut butter, honey, hummus… Mmmmm. When harvesting vegetables choose those that have the least water content. Things like cucumbers have a lot of water so they will make you feel fuller as you eat them but you take in fewer calories…you don’t want that…you want potatoes, carrots, corn etc. Same goes for fruit… go for denser ones like a banana on top of an orange (dried fruit is fine!)
5. Fats are where it’s at (My mom said I’ve always been good at rhyming) Fats are so good because they contain 9 calories per gram while carbs and protein only have 4 the losers. BUT… take your pick healthy fat. Nuts, seeds, peanut butter, avacados, hummus, oils…all good! And the good thing is, you can add some of these to everything you eat. Cooking eggs? Cook them in oil… Do you have toast? Spread on some hummus… Do you have a salad or cereal? Sprinkle with nuts or seeds and add more oil to your salad. You can add healthy fats every time you sit down to eat. Put some nuts on a salad or granola. Drizzle the potatoes with oil or cheese or go wild and add some chili.
6. Tired of eating? Drink your calories. There are many healthy meal replacement drinks that are good, but why not make your own smoothie? Make it with milk, fruit, honey… whatever… then sprinkle some seeds on it. You can also try replacing some of your water intake with the occasional juice or sports drink.
7. Remember, slow gain is best. Gaining your weight too quickly only increases the chances that the weight you gain is from fat mass and not lean body mass. A gain of about a pound a week should be your goal.
1. Gain some muscle. You want to make sure you’re adding some lean muscle mass and that all of your weight gain isn’t coming from fat alone. If you incorporate a resistance routine three times a week (like bodyweight exercises or weight lifting), you can gain some lean muscle mass and what’s even better… the increased workload can even work up an appetite… WIN!! If you want to gain muscle mass, add some extra protein to your meals as well. Too low a protein intake can actually cause you to lose body mass, so keep your intake at a healthy level. Beans, peanuts, chicken, tuna…all good!
2. Avoid extra “cardio” type workouts like jogging and focus only on endurance exercise.
3. After a workout, have a light snack that includes protein like an egg on toast, whole grain crackers with cheese, or just a glass of chocolate milk. Protein will be building blocks to help repair and build muscle after exercise.
4. Incorporate a stretching routine into your day. OK, that by itself won’t help you gain weight, but with the extra resistance training, stretching will help keep your body pain-free and keep it moving properly.
** Tell friends and family what your goals are so they can get involved and help support you in your goals. Join an online group with other like-minded people so you always have someone to talk to and exchange ideas. Don’t underestimate this: Having the proper support is key to anything in life.
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