All Woman

I want to gain weight

Donovan GRANT

Monday, September 09, 2019

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Dear Donovan,

I am 41 years old and underweight, and at times my weight doesn't even reach 100 pounds. I am a bit unhappy because when I was younger I used to weigh more. I have visited several doctors and some said I'm OK, while others said I am underweight. I did a test and my BMI was 18.6. I saw on it SPO2-98% but I'm not sure what that is. What can I do to improve my condition?

We are often so focused on the people who are overweight that we sometimes forget that there are others among us who are underweight. Similar to being overweight, being underweight can affect a person's self-esteem and is also associated with some medical conditions. These include anaemia, low energy, getting sick frequently, irregular periods, and skin, hair and teeth problems. In some cases the immune system may even be compromised.

I see where you have a body mass index (BMI) of 18.6. In a nutshell, your BMI is a number based on your height and weight. To calculate BMI your weight in kilograms is divided by your height in meters squared. A BMI of 25 or over is considered to be overweight while the healthy range is 18.5 to 24.9. Basically the BMI gives us an idea of the amount of fat in the body.

The BMI is a screening tool that gives us an idea if our weight is putting us at risk for health challenges like diabetes and hypertension. However, it should be noted that there are some drawbacks with BMI. For example, it does not take into consideration a person's bone structure. In addition, it does not give an idea of how fat is distributed in the body. For example, a person with more fat deposited in the abdominal region may be at more risk for diabetes than a person who has fat deposited elsewhere in the body. So along with BMI, a visual observation of a person might also be important.

Your BMI is 18.6, which is just slightly in the normal range. It is good that your doctors have not picked up any underlying medical problems. However, I understand for your own peace of mind that you would like to put on some weight.

I wish you had given me some additional information which would place me in a better position to offer more effective guidance. For example, what is your current food consumption like? Are you a picky eater ? What is your activity level like?

In order for you to gain weight you will have to increase your calorie/food intake so that some of the extra calories can be stored as fat.

However, in order to protect your health it is also important to fatten up on a healthy diet. If you increase your calorie intake by 500 calories per day there is a chance that you will put on one pound per week.

It is easier to drink than to eat. So you could use fruit juices, porridges, soups and shakes to help you to put on some weight. A thicker porridge or soup will give more calories than the thinner version. In addition you could also do some muscle building type exercises. If you put on muscles, this will increase your weight.

Good luck.

We will answer your weight-related questions

Are you struggling to lose weight or just need some advice on living a healthier life? Tell us about your health issues and we'll have nutritionist and wellness coach Donovan Grant answer them for you. Grant has over 12 years' experience in the fitness industry and is the owner of DG's Nutrition and Wellness Centre, 39 Lady Musgrave Road. Call him at 876-286-1363. E-mail questions to clarkep@jamaicaobserver.com.


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