If you have ever wondered what to do if you are severely underweight, you have come to the right place. Being underweight can be a big source of insecurity and health problems, but there is a way out.
Depending on your situation, being severely underweight can happen for a variety of reasons. Anorexia and Bulimia are common reasons. But so is an extremely high metabolism.
I know this because I myself have an extremely high metabolism. In high school and college, I struggled with being underweight, and my mental state suffered.
If there is one thing that I learned, it is that you don’t have to be severely underweight the rest of your life. In fact, I ended up building a body that I am very happy with to this day.
Keep reading if you want to learn exactly what to do if you are severely underweight.
How to eat enough food to gain weight
The number one reason that people struggle to gain weight is that they don’t eat enough calories. I hear you screaming “but I eat so much food! I definitely eat enough.” I am here to tell you that unfortunately, you don’t eat enough.
Every single person’s diet is dictated by their maintenance calorie number. This is the number of calories that your body burns on average per day without doing anything.
The problem is that every single person has a different maintenance calorie number. Therefore yours might be significantly higher than the average person. Learn how to calculate your maintenance calories before anything.
Once we have that number, we can start eating at a caloric surplus. A caloric surplus is when you eat more than your maintenance calories every single day, and you don’t let up. This will ensure that your body has to put on weight. It has no choice.
I can tell you that my maintenance calorie number is 3,100 calories per day, which is well above average. You can start by eating at a caloric surplus that is 500 calories over your maintenance. With that being said, I have to eat around 3,600 calories per day to be in a surplus.
I ended up finding out it was almost impossible for me to physically eat that much per day. Which is why I created a 1000 calorie protein shake recipe. If you struggle to eat enough food, this shake will be an incredible supplement to your day.
Just remember, protein shakes are just meant to be a supplement. Make sure that you are eating food everyday and not just drinking protein shakes.
Working out in conjunction with eating
If you are consistently eating at a caloric surplus, you are going to gain weight. What you do during your caloric surplus is going to determine whether those extra calories get turned into fat or muscle.
If you just sit on your couch all day in a caloric surplus, you are definitely still going to gain weight. Unfortunately, that weight is probably going to end up being fat.
If you workout as little as 3 times per week, those extra calories are going to build your muscles. So it is up to you how you want your body to look when you are at your ideal weight.
I am very happy that I ended up choosing the workout route. And in turn, I was able to gain 70 pounds in 3 years. It is definitely possible to do something like this.
Now, when I say you need to workout to build muscle, I am not talking about cardio or high intensity interval training. I am talking about weight training. Lift heavy weights, and put them down.
Since you are already severely underweight, we want to avoid cardio until we have enough weight on us.
How are you going to know exactly what routine to choose for putting on muscle? Our app All Workouts: Personal Trainer (iOS | Google Play) has everything you need. Our FREE workout plans are enough to get started.
The exact plan that I used to build a ton of muscle was 3 Day Overload and it’s in our app. Don’t do this one unless you are extremely committed.
Knowing what to do if you are severely underweight is one of the most difficult things to figure out. But once you understand the formula, you will see that the concepts are simple.
Be consistent enough to put on the pounds
For me, showing up to the gym 3 days per week was the easy part. The hard part is eating at a caloric surplus every single day. But that is what it is going to take in order for you to go from severely underweight to comfortable with your body.
The key here is to take one day at a time. Develop the habits that you are going to need in order to keep gaining weight.
I can promise you that if I never discovered protein shakes, I probably would have given up long before I saw results. Find something that works for you, and stick with it. Just make sure you are at a caloric surplus the whole time.
I even caution people to be skeptical of cheat days. I found out that my cheat days were actually lower calories than a typical day of eating. Which in turn threw my caloric surplus off balance.
Progress is all about consistency. Literally all you have to do is show up to the gym 3 days per week and eat at a caloric surplus. At that rate, you should gain about a pound per week, with 50% of that being muscle.
Think about your body at 52 pounds heavier. Is that too much? Not enough? It is all up to you to decide what you will end up looking like. That is the beauty of consistency. You are in control of where your body goes.
Main Point: What to do if you are severely underweight
Being underweight can be a challenging time for both your mental and physical states. But learning what to do if you are severely underweight is a skill that you can use for the rest of your life.
It really comes down to 2 things. Knowing how to eat at a caloric surplus, and working out consistently.
Remember, if you are not eating at a caloric surplus, you are not going to gain weight. This is the opposite for obese people. If they don’t eat at a caloric deficit, they aren’t going to lose weight.
Our bodies are very complex, but when it comes to calories, the facts are simple.
One thing that I have to remind everyone embarking on this journey, is that every person has a different body. Therefore there is no one size fits all advice that will help you along the way.
I can only guide you to the well. You have to learn how to drink. And while you’re there, go ahead and drink a 1000 calorie protein shake.
Another thing that I want you to take away from this article is that if you aren’t working out while in a caloric surplus, your body is going to process those extra calories as fat. Make sure that you are hitting the gym at least 3 days per week for maximum effect.
All in all, it is up to you to take advantage of this information and put it to use. If you are extremely underweight, you need to take advantage of the technology and tools that we currently have. I wish you the best of luck on your journey.