Calorie Counting for Weight Gain

Back to basic math

With all the focus on counting calories for weight loss, counting them for weight gain might seem confusing. However, weight gain is just as simple as weight loss — it is a matter of calories consumed versus calories burned. Whether you need to gain body fat or you need to support muscle gain, counting calories can help. Once you have a good caloric goal, all you need to do is find healthful, high-calorie foods to aid in your weight management.

1. Count how many calories you eat on an average day. Coffee, tea, crackers, fruit, meals and anything else that crosses your lips — save for water — has calories and can aid in weight gain. Continue counting your average caloric intake for three days.

2. Add the calories you ate on all three days together and divide that number by three, this is how many calories you eat on an average day. For example, if you ate 1,830, 1,700 and 1,910 calories, your total would be 5,440. Divide that by three and you get 1,813 — this number is your average daily intake. Increase your average daily calorie intake by 500 to gain 1 pound per week or by 1,000 to gain 2 pounds per week. Round your result up to the nearest memorable number. Using the previous example, if you want to gain 1 pound per week, increase 1,813 to 2,313 and then round it to 2,350. This is your new calorie goal.

3. Write down the calories of everything you eat on a daily basis to ensure you are reaching your calorie goal. Consistently hitting your calorie goal will ensure you gain weight. If you are not gaining weight, increase your intake incrementally until you begin to see weight gain.

4. Eat high-calorie foods at every meal. Examples of high-calorie foods include nuts, seeds, whole grains and heart-healthy oils such as olive oil. A drizzle of oil on your salad, an extra slice of whole-grain toast with breakfast and a handful of nuts as a snack can take you from missing your calorie target to reaching it.

5. Avoid junk food, desserts and fast food. Though these food choices are high calorie, they are nutritionally devoid and they will not help with healthy weight gain. Eat mainly whole foods including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, nuts, seeds, legumes, dairy and healthful fats.

Things Needed

  • Journal ( we suggest digital journal-ling like MyFitnessPal)
  • High-calorie foods

Tip

  • If you are having trouble hitting your calorie goals, consult your doctor about adding shakes / smoothies to your diet.

Warnings

  • Weight gain under medical supervision is best, as your health-care professional can ensure your body remains in good condition.
  • Exercise helps keep your heart and lungs in good health; do not become sedentary in an attempt to gain weight without your doctor’s recommendation.

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