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Increasing Weight


17631909351_216473ce5b_b.jpg Photo credit: Street Workout via photopin (license)

Diana Robinson- Nutritionist

There are many articles about losing weight – what to eat, what not to eat, what exercise to do etc etc… but what about for those wanting to increase their weight? The bottom line is, to increase weight, you need to increase caloric intake, but that’s just obvious right?

The question is, what kind of foods should you be increasing? For healthy weight gain, follow these steps:

1.Increase your intake of complex carbohydrates. These include rice, pasta, bread, noodles, oats and bananas. It is important to choose wholegrain options where possible, as this will ensure you are getting enough fibre, amino acids and minerals such as magnesium and selenium which are contained in brown rice. A serving of complex carbohydrate for weight maintenance would be the size of your own closed fist, so for weight gain, you may increase this to two fist fulls. It is important to not to forgo your veggies though! Make sure you are still eating plenty of greens and brightly coloured fruits and vegetables.

2. Increase the amount of good fats in your daily diet. Fish, avocado, nuts, seeds and extra virgin oil are all excellent sources of mono and polyunsaturated fats. These fats benefit your heart, skin, brain and mood. Normally, these would be consumed in moderation, as fats are very calorie dense, however for those wanting to boost calories, fats are a great way to do so. It’s important to note though that you should not excessively increase saturated fats, as these will increase inflammatory markers, which may lead to ill health. A healthy amount of saturated fats may still be consumed. Nut and seed butters such as almond butter and tahini are great additions to boost nutrient and caloric intake

3. Protein is essential for muscle growth and repair. Make sure to include a protein source with each meal, and choose high protein snack options. Good sources of protein include meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, tofu, lentils, chickpeas, brown rice, tempeh, nuts, seeds, buckwheat and quinoa. A snack of wholegrain toast with almond butter and avocado provides fats, protein and carbohydrate as well as antioxidants, fibre, vitamins and minerals.

4. Eat small meals and snacks in between your main meals. Do not simply over load your plate at meal time as this will put too much strain on your digestive system which is not good for health. The best way to healthfully gain weight is to eat often, and chose nutrient dense foods high in all of the macronutrients – protein, fats and carbohydrates.

DianaRobinson_PhotoDiana Robinson is a Melbourne based nutritionist working in clinical practice with a special interest in food intolerance, fitness and mood disorders.

Diana graduated from Melbourne’s Endeavour College of Natural Health with a Bachelor Degree in Health Science – Nutritional Medicine. She is a firm believer in living life to the full and taking care of your body by feeding it healthy, nutritious food but not forgetting to nourish your mental wellbeing also.

Diana encourages patients to seek enjoyment from the food they eat rather than having a negative relationship with food. When you learn to eat right, you will learn that food is your friend and not your enemy. 

You can follow her Instagram for inspiration and recipes @dianar_nutrition.

Anne Iarchy – Founder and Owner of The Finchley Weight Loss Centre by AI Fitness, and Public Speaker

Increasing weight is probably the opposite of what most people would like to achieve these days.

However, for some, who are naturally slim, and have a super fast metabolism, putting on weight is hard.

As much as losing weight can be done quite easily, if one changes their eating habits, and starts exercising. Gaining weight can take months, if not years. At least, if you want to gain lean muscle weight, as opposed to just becoming unhealthy and fat.

Before you start any programme, just check with your doctor that you’re not struggling with an overactive thyroid, or any other medical issue that is causing you to be underweight.

How to Gain Weight

There are two parts of gaining weight:
1. Eating more; and
2. Build muscle.

Eating More

To start with, you need to know how much you are actually eating, and if what you do eat is well balanced and varied. You might find that you actually don’t eat enough, but have a healthy diet, so all you will have to do is just eat more, larger portion sizes, or eat a few extra meals a day.

If you feel you do eat enough, you will still have to eat more. Just more often. Add some snacks in between meals. You might not be hungry, and have to force yourself to eat, be prepared for that.

Don’t add junk to your diet, as that may increase your weight, but it will get you on the unhealthy spectrum. Choose foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals as well as calories.

Add some extra protein, a bit more complex carbohydrates, some nuts, avocado and other good fats to your foods.

Building Muscle

If you’re looking to bulk-up and gain muscle, then try resistance, or strength training, this promotes muscle growth, which, in turn, promotes weight gain. If you’re wanting to go down this path, then I would highly recommend you contact a personal trainer, who will build a specific program for you that specifically promotes muscle gain.

The Right Type of Exercises

Compound exercises are ideal for building muscle. These are exercises that make use of multiple muscles at once. Shorter, but more intense workouts are better than long and easier ones for muscle gain. Heavier weights for less repetitions are also advised, over lighter weight for more repetition.

Eat More as Your Exercise More

To support your resistance training, you need even more nutrients such as protein and complex carbohydrates. You can add these to your daily routine by having a protein drink before and after a workout. But, when you select a protein make sure you buy one that has minimal sugar as lots of protein powders out there are full of it.


Anne Iarchy is the founder and owner of The Finchley Weight Loss Centre by AI Fitness. She helps busy professionals create a healthy lifestyle for weight loss, exercise, nutrition and mindset change.

Anne’s passion was developed after struggling with weight and health issues herself while working in the corporate world as an IT security director. She found being on the road, traveling and in meetings made staying healthy a challenge.

At the time, she was working with a personal trainer herself, but never received a full-solution to her struggles. So in 2010, Anne left the corporate world, and started helping people just like her.

She continues to develop her knowledge in nutrition, supplementation, as well as mindset. And is a regular speaker within her local community in North London.

Anne’s latest eBook, ‘Ditch the Diet‘ is now available.

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Justyna Kalka – Zak Australia Nutritionist and Brand Ambassador

Gaining weight can be just as tricky as attempting to lose it. We tend to associate being lean with great health, but that is not always the case.

Being underweight can also be of concern. It could be the result of poor eating habits, underlying health issues or in pregnancy, can be a sign of insufficient nutrition. Your genetics, poor appetite, high stress levels, busy lifestyles, high physical activity and insufficient re-fueling post workout can all make it hard to gain the desired weight in some individuals.

Eat More to Increase Weight

Contrary to common beliefs, gaining weight is not limited to increasing protein intakes. It means eating more of everything, which may sound like paradise to some and be an enjoyable process to others. But, there sure are individuals who struggle with daily requirements of a high-energy diet that is needed for weight gain.

Eat Healthy

We must remember that it is important to gain weight healthily and not take it as permission to dine on highly processed take-outs of poor nutritional value. Avoid filling up on sugar, energy drinks or coffee and make every bite count with high calorie but nutrient den
se foods.

Eat Often

Eat frequently, six smaller meals a day are better than three large ones and can make increasing overall caloric intake more manageable for individuals with poor appetites. Smoothies and shakes can also be excellent fuel-packed additions to busy lifestyles. Have a bedtime snack or if eating before bed affects your sleep try having a glass of warm full-fat milk with a teaspoon of honey and a teaspoon of butter. Works like a charm with good amount of fat, protein and carbohydrates and helps you sleep too!

Be Organized

Eat at scheduled times and plan ahead. Nervous tension, feeling hurried, and eating quickly contributes to being underweight in many individuals, so eat mindfully, breath deeply and rela
x at mealtimes.

Build Muscle

If your goal is to become bigger, stronger and more buff, adding strength training will be required. Giving muscle the right stimulation through weight training and bulking-up with high-energy foods, sufficient protein and abundance of nutrients will allow optimum protein synthesis and subsequent healthy weight gain. Prompt re-fueling post workout is crucial for maximum recovery and muscle gains.


Justyna Kalka is a qualified nutritionist, professional speaker and health educator who specialises in promoting optimal health through wholesome, nutrient dense food and movement. She completed a Bac
helor of Applied Science in Human Movement at Victoria University and a Bachelor of Science in Nutritional Medicine (Human Nutrition) at Endeavour College in 2012.

Justyna is now a practicing nutritionist in Albert Park (Melbourne) devoted to educating others about the true vitality that comes from a careful balance of real food, the right mind set and a healthy dose of movement. With a special interest in helping mums create a healthy food culture at home, Justyna educates parents and children about the importance of proper nourishment for growth and development.

Justyna is also a popular motivational speaker, inspiring women of all ages to gain a deep sense of self-confidence, health, strength and vitality in a body they love and appreciate. Justyna’s nutrition expertise has featured in the media, having contributed to nutritional stories in Nourish Magazine and Australian Natural Health Magazine, as well as Herald Sun and Daily Life.

Outside of her work, Justyna is an avid fitness lover and martial arts expert, and a proud mother of a beautiful little girl.

Tina Horwood – Personal Trainer



The Australian population is getting fatter, our kids are getting fatter.  It’s becoming an epidemic with many of us increasing in weight.

Based on height and weight measurements from the 2011-12 Australian Bureau of Statistics Health Survey* almost 2 in 3 Australian adults (63%) are overweight or obese… Concerned?  We should be!

Photo credit: Morbidly Obese Teen via photopin(license)


Why is the Population Getting Fatter?

Mindless eating – have you ever just downed a packet of chips, biscuits or polished off your dinner only to stop and wonder ‘where did it all go?’  If you eat dinner on the couch in front of the TV, or find yourself snacking at night while watching your favourite weekly show, then chances are you are eating mindlessly.  Mindless eating can be defined as eating food without giving adequate attention to what and how much is eaten.

Emotional eating – sad, happy, bored, stressed or as a reward.  For some, these emotions drive them straight to the cupboard or the fridge.  They rationalise that if they just get some of that cake, chocolate or other high fat, high sugar food that the problem will be easier to manage.  Afterwards, the emotional issue remains and the guilt of overeating can be overwhelming.

Our culture – I often say to my clients who struggle with their weight that the Australian culture is one of the major hurdles to get over when trying to lose weight and be healthy.  Often, social get togethers are centred around food and drink.  BBQ’s, birthdays, weddings, christenings; there is often a lot of tempting treats.

What Can We As Individuals Do About It?

Well, perhaps we can put all the overweight and fat people on a diet… Hell No!  I dieted for 22- years and I just got fatter.  Education is the key to success.  When an overweight person is told not to eat a certain food, they may be able to oblige for a short time, however eventually, their resolve to ‘be good’ wears off and old habits come back.  Educating people on the effects that food has on their bodies is a much more empowering approach to the increasing weight problem we are facing.

Many diets are a ‘one-type-fits-all’ type of diet which, while delivering initial results, tends to end up with the dieter learning nothing except how to deprive themselves.  If we eat for body health, and our body type, then we will get lasting results.

My Top Three Tips to Reduce The Increasing Weight of the Population

  1. Pay attention to the food you put into your mouth. Turn the TV off and focus on the task of eating.
  2. Watch your emotional responses and reactions. Learn to recognise your emotional responses and be mindful of your reaction; go for a walk instead of going to the fridge.
  3. Educate yourself. Learn what foods benefit your body and what foods don’t.  Learn how to eat for your body type.


A past fatty, mum of two and a personal trainer Tina Horwood’s passion for fitness and making her goals a reality has inspired many women. Tina has built a successful fitness coaching business called ‘FIIT MUMMA‘ and motivates women across Australia.

Having struggled with her weight for most of her life, Tina is using her personal experience, empathy and understanding of being mum to help other mummas achieve their ultimate body goal.

Tina competed in the INBA bodybuilding fitness model contest in 2013 and placed 6th. She is fun engaging and full of encouragement.


Disclaimer: The information published in this column are based on each of the author’s own professional and personal knowledge, and opinion. This information and opinion is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment of any manner. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding any medical condition and consult a qualified medical professional before beginning any nutritional program or exercise program. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on InShape News.

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