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Sometimes, You Need to Gain Weight

By Rachel Carver

If this headline made you raise your eyebrows, you are not alone. Weight gain is usually seen as a negative thing. We all have ideas of what a "healthy body" looks like. And weight gain usually means the opposite. Weight gain is also associated with conditions such as high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.

However, before you dismiss this headline entirely, there are times when seeing a higher scale number is a good thing. Weight gain can positively affect your health in some cases.

Low BMI or Body Fat Percentage

Weight gain should be a priority for you if your height-to-weight ratio gives you an underweight body mass index (BMI). It should also be prioritized if you have a low body fat percentage.

Being in these categories increases your risk of hormone disruption, nutrient-deficiencies, and fatigue. Underweight athletes can actually overtrain, which negatively affects performance.

You can increase your calorie consumption with small changes. Add an extra snack. Eat more proteins such as cheese and yogurt. Focus on healthy fats such as avocados and nut butters.

Post-Vacation or Holiday

It is common to relax and indulge a bit during the holidays or a vacation. Some splurging can recharge your batteries, giving you the motivation to resume your normal habits. It is natural to put on some weight during these times, and it will come off.

Before a Race or Competition

Athletes know a lot of time and energy goes into prepping for a race or competition. It might sound strange, but being slightly heavier before an event might help you perform your best. Many athletes carb-load before a big event or race. If you consume 10-12 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight 48 hours before the event, your body retains extra water. The body uses 4 grams of water to metabolize 1 gram of carbs. The weight increase on event day means your body has plenty of energy ready for your use. This weight will probably be gone the next day.

The Bottom Line

Your scale number is only one small part of your overall health. Constantly worrying about it will most likely increase your stress and anxiety, which can lead to other problems.

Research your body's healthy weight. Learn the differences between gaining weight after a meal and gradual weight increases. If you are gaining weight and muscle while sleeping better, you are doing great. If you are concerned, a registered dietitian can help you set a balanced diet that works for you.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Peoria, Ill.

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