Healthy Weight Gain Diet
Using Your Basal Metabolic Rate

Want to gain weight? A healthy weight gain diet must supply the calories necessary without also adding unhealthy foods to eat. To do that you need to know your basal metabolic rate.

First, you should know that a sudden drop of weight could be related to physiological phenomena indicative of a need for further investigation. You need to make sure that nothing else is going on. The only way to do that is to see your doctor.

The second thing you should do is to calculate your Body Mass Index or BMI. This is a guideline of the range of body weight according to your height. It is only a reference point, as it does not consider all factors. However, if you find that you fit outside the normal range, you should seek guidance from your health care practitioner before embarking on any changes to your diet and exercise levels.

All right, so you now have determined that you could stand to gain a few pounds for improved health, energy and vitality.

Determine How Many Calories You Need

Now, let’s find out how many calories you need. Calories are the way we measure the potential energy in food. Actually, the exact term used is kcalories. The higher the calories, the more potential food energy that food item contains. To gain weight you need to get more calories than you need. And to lose weight, you need to use more calories than you consume.

It takes approximately 3500 calories to maintain one pound of body weight. This is because your basal metabolic rate or BMR also plays a factor. Your body expends or uses energy at this rate. Your BMR varies according to your body composition, activity level, age as well as other factors. Healthy weight gain diet for women would use the BMI factor for women of 0.9 kcal/kg body weight/hour (for men the value is 1.0).

So for an example, let’s consider Sheila, a 110-pound women:

    First change pounds to kilograms:


    Multiply the weight in kilograms by the BMR factor:


    Now multiply the kcalories used in one hour by the hours in a day:


In this example, Sheila at 110 pounds would require 1080 calories just to continue the maintenance activities of her body. You see, the body expends energy even at rest.

Now we need to consider Sheila’s activity level:

  • If Sheila is a data entry clerk, we consider this mostly sitting and therefore sedentary, we add 40 to 50% of our calculated BMR.
  • If Sheila is a lecturer or teacher, we consider it to be light activity and so add 55 – 65%.
  • If Sheila is a nurse, we consider this moderate activity and so add 65 – 70%.
  • If Sheila does heavy work, like in construction or she is jogging 10k 4-5x/wk, we will consider this heavy work and so add 75-100% or more.

Sheila is a kindergarten teacher, so we continue our calculation:

Therefore, for our example, Sheila needs 648 calories for her activities. We still need to add her body’s required calories or the basal metabolic rate required calories:

This gives us an estimate of Sheila’s energy requirements. If Sheila wants to gain weight, she needs to consume more calories than this figure. On average, increasing calories by 500 would cause a weight gain of 1 lb./wk. Because calculating both the basal metabolic rate and the calorie expenditure is based upon estimates, our results are also estimated.

What to Eat For A Healthy Weight Gain Diet?

Healthy foods to eat would supply the nutrients you need. Importantly, you really should avoid foods that have little to no nutritional value, in other words—avoid empty calories.

True, many of these foods do cause weight gain. Nevertheless, you want positive weight gain. You need to consider that you are feeding your bones and teeth, muscles and even your skin, not just adding to your bathroom scale.

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