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  • Writer's pictureKathy Ozakovic

Your Guide To Healthy Weight Gain

Weight gain can be a struggle and it is more common than you might think. There are a few underlying challenges that may be at play. Keep an eye out for these red flags amongst your family and friends. It may not always be about the food. Keep reading to learn what else could be keeping people small.


Gaining weight can sometimes be desirable, preferable and a proactive measure. I’m not talking about gaining 20kg real quick. I’m talking a modest 1 – 5kg that may actually do you good. The amount of weight gain will depend on your baseline, how much time you have and the reason. Some reasons may include - you are already lighter/leaner and:

  • Traveling to a foreign country where you may not have access to food the way you do at home (especially if visiting a developing country) . My concern here is muscle loss!

  • Preparing for a surgical procedure. Depending on the procedure and the severity, the healing process requires more from your body (I gained 2kg prior to my 8 hour breast implant explant surgery, recovery was 12weeks +)

  • You have a tendency to lose weight in stressful circumstances (physical/ emotional, for example a demanding time at work is coming up that might see you skipping meals - end of financial year?)

  • Want to get stronger, gain muscle and fill out that t-shirt. Newsflash, this won’t happen without gaining a bit of weight (pro tip: try putting the t-shirt in the dryer)

  • Recovering from an Eating Disorder due to which you lost fat stores and muscle. This may be an obvious 'healthy weight gain' required scenario and yet when I was struggling at the age of 17 (45kg, 170cm tall), it was not explained to me that I can gain weight in a healthy manner.

  • Growth spurt approaching/ Body composition changes be it during 'normal' puberty years, your early twenties, late twenties (I call these our 2nd and 3rd puberty) or in women a pregnancy - our body will undergo changes as we grow. Understanding and embracing healthy weight gain is important to reach our goals.


Even with addressing a lack of nutrition knowledge and inconsistency in eating habits, some people still struggle to gain weight.

Building strong foundations is important in everything we do, including our eating habits. The first thing I will investigate when someone is struggling to gain weight is what and how much they are currently eating. Sometimes adjustments are needed to the eating pattern and structure of meals. Let's make sure the individual is getting enough fruit, protein, wholegrains, healthy fats. These are more energy dense than vegetables. Vegetables are still important, however prioritising vegetables when trying to gain weight will not really do you good. They will fill you up quickly and you may miss out on the more energy dense foods. I make recommendations based on client baseline, preferences and convenience. I want to make this as easy as possible for you!


GAINING WEIGHT TOP TIPS:

  • Ensure a consistent meal pattern (avoid skipping meals)

  • Balance your plate in 3rds (1/3 carbs + 1/3 protein + 1/3 vegetables)

  • Add healthy fats: Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Nuts/Seeds, Avocado

  • Drink some calories: Protein Smoothies, Milky Hot Chocolate, Latte, Chai Latte

  • Add Supper: Yoghurt + Protein Powder + Low GI Fruit

  • Snack on: Smooshed Wholefood Balls, Munchme, Wallaby Bites

  • Prioritise energy dense foods and eat these before vegetables: protein, wholegrains, healthy fats, starchy fruit (bananas, papaya, prunes, figs)


Even with addressing a lack of nutrition knowledge such as the uncertainty of what to prioritise and inconsistency in eating habits, some people still struggle to gain weight. I go on and on to my clients about routine blood tests being very important. I encourage at least yearly bloods, sometimes twice yearly or quarterly if a specific goal is in mind. Weight gain may not be happening due to poor nutrient absorption, vitamin or mineral deficiencies which impact metabolic processes, coeliac disease. A stool test may reveal unfriendly bacteria or parasites. Usually these will come with other symptoms but some individuals get so used to their ‘new norm’ they don’t know what it feels like to have energy and feel good!


You may notice, building strong foundations for weight gain is not so different to addressing the challenge of weight loss! Similarly, another area to investigate is the individuals’ mindset. In the case of weight gain, I am investigating:

  • How are you keeping yourself small?

  • What are the beliefs behind the behaviours?

You may be keeping yourself small without consciously understanding the identity you have created for yourself. Maybe you want to get stronger but you know yourself as the 'skinny one' or the one with the 'fast metabolism' and this is 'just who I am'. If nothing changes, nothing changes. Until you choose to view yourself differently and create new beliefs about food and weight, nothing will change.


From having an eating disorder where I shrunk myself, to binge eating and gaining more weight than desired, to yo-yo dieting and trying to control circumstances outside of myself, I have come to understand that a lot more power lies in what we tell ourselves and what we accept as truths. It is easier to believe than it is to unbelieve. We can also pick up truths from other people and create meanings from situations which keep us small.


Your body is listening. The body will only do what the mind tells it to. Sometimes it is easier to put things behind our ears and avoid the mirrors, so we don't see it. This is why I have my own ‘A Team’ keeping me honest with myself and asking me the tough questions about the things I’ve hid from myself. That way I can keep progressing in the area of my life I want to. It is important to see things as they are, so that we can work to change them if we want to. Denial is delayed misery. It may hurt a little first but the truth will set you free. Let's start working on your goals now:

  • Who do you want to be?

  • What is the best version of you doing?

  • What is your next step?

  • Who is helping you be honest with yourself?


Connect with me to learn how I can help you become your best, healthiest self.

BOOK YOUR DISCOVERY CALL HERE


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Did you find this blog helpful and informative? Tag & Share with your friends who would love it too! Sign up for my Free NuFit Wellness Newsletter to stay in the loop. Attend my Wellness Workshops. Promoting consciousness in food choices helping people heal. Dietitian & Wellness Coach, Health Presenter, Gut Health Specialist - Kathy Ozakovic.

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KEYWORDS: Weight, Gain, Best, Healthy, Healthiest, Tips, Mindset, Small, Nutrition, Food, Eating, Wellness, Coach, Coaching, Accountability, Wellbeing, Mindset, Beliefs.

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