Seems like everyone knows that being overweight is not healthy, but rarely someone talks about being underweight and that it is just as unhealthy. It’s even more dangerous for women than for men.
Since many blog posts and articles were written about media representing an unhealthy body image and standards for women, we are not going to rant here about it. The reality is that no one puts the pressure on you to look a certain way, but yourself. But what if you want to change it and finally start taking care of your body and become healthy? This article is for you.
A healthy weight chart for women:
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You can determine your frame size by measuring your wrist with your thumb and your middle finger. If your fingers overlap, your frame is small, if your fingers just touch, your frame size is medium, if your fingers don’t even touch, you have a large frame size.
HEALTH RISKS OF BEING UNDERWEIGHT
- Low immune system
- Lower fertility
- Early aging
- Early menopause
WHY I AM UNDERWEIGHT?
While there are various health conditions that cause appetite loss, there are women that “eat whatever they want and cannot gain weight”. Well, scientifically there is no such condition that goes against the law of thermodynamics, that is energy in, versus energy out. Research shows that people that naturally maintain a bodyweight that is bellow healthy ranges have either a small appetite, increased NEAT (non exercise activity thermogenesis, which increases TDEE- total daily energy expenditure) or a combination of both. In addition, they tend to be picky eaters. Genetics also play a role, women with small joints, small bone structure usually have narrow hips and shoulders, and weight less. However, this is not an excuse to maintain an unhealthy bodyweight.
ADVANTAGES OF GAINING WEIGHT
Therefore the advantages of gaining weight, muscle and strength are numerous:
- First of all a healthier hormonal profile will improve your mestrual cycle, fertility and boost your libido.
- It will improve your central nervous system. You’ll start sleeping better and will be in a better mood.
- By increasing lean body mass you’ll have more energy to complete daily tasks.
- Increased macro and micro nutrient intake boost your mental alertness and brain function.
- By gaining strenght you are going to gain self confidence.
- Stronger back and shoulders improve your posture. This will make you look more dominant.
- Should I tell you that you are going to feel damn sexy by having more curves?
Karlie Kloss gained weight and looks fabulous!
Overall by starting taking care of your body and gaining weight you are going to feel a million bucks!
HOW CAN I DO THIS?
TRACK YOUR FOOD INTAKE
First of all you need to eat enough calories. Probably you think that you are already eating a lot. You are not. Most likely you are undereating or eating just enough to maintain your weight. Eating more can be difficult for a woman with a small stomach capacity, so let’s talk about some strategies to do so, while avoiding bloating and feeling nauseous.
People trying to lose weight eat foods that are low in fat, high in fiber and water content, to fill up with a least amount of calories possible. You should do the exact opposite.
For example white rice, bread, pasta, pastries are not very filling for the amount of calories they give. Another easy way to get in more calories is by drinking them. Milk, shakes, juices, smoothies are all delicious and healthy for you. Also you can get really creative with your meals by trying new sauces and dressings.
So, first step: you need to download a calorie counting app (I use MyfitnessPal) and start to track your calories religiously for the first few weeks or moths. Start by eating 250 calories above your maintanance.
For example a woman that weights 52 kilograms would eat about 1800 calories to maintain her weight. So she needs to eat about 2000-2100 kcal per day to start gaining weight.
Aim for 0.25 kg gain per week . If you gain weight faster than that chances are you are gaining unnecesary fat, because your body is able to build just so much muscle and connective tissue in a given time frame.
Track your weight gain daily, if after two weeks you haven’t gained any weight, add another 200 calories. In case you are gaining more than that cut down by 100 calories.
Soon you’ll know exacly how many calories your body needs.
Read these artcles to learn more:
By gaining weight, you don’t want to gain just fat. You want to increase your muscle mass, gain strenght and build amazing curves. Hence, lifting weights is your best bet!
I know, everyone likes to do what they are good at. Skinny people tend to be very good at cardiovascular training, so that is what you are NOT going to do. Forget treadmill and elyptical machines.
As a skinny woman you don’t need to waste your precious time doing circuits and tabatas, either. Your workouts should be short and sweet , leaving you energetic afterwards.
Focus on growing stronger and stronger over time. At the very beginning of your fitness journey you really want to learn the correct execution of compound movements, so work in 10 to 12 rep ranges. Than add some isolation work for a given muscle group. As a novice lifter, you are able to recover faster, so I would suggest you to workout 6 days a week, hitting each muscle group (legs, shoulders, back) twice a week. Since theese workouts will be headed towards strenght gain, you are not going to feel exhausted.
At the end of the day, if you are really willing to change your physique, you will make your best to find an hour a day to fit in your workout.
Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keyes to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity. –John. F. Kennedy
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