Planning your healthy weight gain diet is the easy part. Following that diet is the hard part.
It will seem like a hassle at first. The foods may seem bland; the (seemingly) constant need to feed yourself may seem distracting. You’ll find yourself longing for your old eating habits back.
In my experience, those who set out on a weight gain program struggle the most with the dieting requirements. By comparison, the intense weight training is a breeze. It’s the daily grind of eating in a greater quantity that makes people want to give up.
Changing your eating habits is DIFFICULT.
Don’t take it lightly. You will have to work hard to get your new diet to stick. Using some of the tips below can help up your chances of success.
Sticking To It
The longer you stick with a weight gain diet, the easier it becomes. Your body will adjust and will start expecting and wanting the good stuff you have begun feeding it. Those cravings for junk will gradually fade.
A slip or two, a missed meal here or there, should not discourage you. No one is perfect.
You have to be careful. Your mind is waiting to take any negativity and run with it. Once you plant the seed, “I just don’t think I can keep this up,” don’t be surprised if that idea takes root and grows like crazy. Before you know it, your hopes for an improved physique can quickly evaporate.
You combat this by remembering you are only doing this for 10-12 weeks. You can do ANYTHING for ten weeks. And after ten weeks, you’ll be well on your way to replacing those bad habits with good habits. You’ll probably have to make an effort to revert back to your bad habits.
How To Eat All That Food
Significantly raising the amount of calories you take in isn’t necessarily an easy thing to do. Your body simply won’t be used to having a surplus to deal with and the human body tends to appreciate the status quo. It will resist at first and you will have to force it to accept change.
A few tips…
- Six meals a day. Frequent meals will help you take on more calories. Learn more about frequent meals here.
- Eat Calorie Dense Foods – These are foods that are high-calorie, low-volume.
- Gradually work your way up. If you can’t manage to meet your caloric goals on day one, don’t despair. Add a couple hundred calories each day until you reach the point where you will experience gains. You can do this by adding an extra meal (working your way up from 3 to 6 meals) or by simply increasing your meal portions.
- Easy on liquids at meal time. As much as possible, don’t drink while eating a meal. This will help you from feeling prematurely full. Save the beverages for when you are stuffed.
Try my post-meal shake plan. If you are having trouble increasing your calorie consumption, try eating a full meal and then topping it off with a shake. I have found that shakes like Ensure and Boost (available at most grocery or drug stores) work best for this purpose. These are little 8 oz. cans packed full of calories and tend to go down easier and better than any bodybuilding shake. Doing this can help force the body to accept the fact it is going to have to deal with your high-calorie diet.
Don’t get dependent on Ensure or Boost, however. Outside of using them for this purpose, you will be better off in the long run using quality bodybuilding MRPs to help you with your diet – both from a nutritional and financial point of view.
- Use dietary supplements. As mentioned above, MRPs as well as flaxseed oils and certain weight gainers can really help. Don’t become too dependent on these products either. At an ABSOLUTE MAXIMUM, 50% of your calorie consumption should be from liquids.
Don’t give up too easily. No one who has successfully done what you are trying to do though it was easy at first. Eventually the stomach will stretch and the body will adjust. It gets easier and easier to do the healthy weight gain diet. Persevere.
Planning a Cheat Day
Occasionally getting off a diet can have some benefits, refreshing your body and mind. Some plan a “cheat day” every week or two where they don’t worry at all about their eating. They just eat what and when they want for that day. This is can be an effective plan, working as a mental motivator and also perhaps positively affecting your progress.
Strangely, these cheat days typically don’t turn into the massive mess of junk food people imagine they will. Again, once your body starts expecting the healthy stuff, it doesn’t “ask” for the bad to come back. Those sodas and chips you once believed you couldn’t live without can quickly become things you can’t believe you ever ate.
In my own case, I don’t plan a cheat day but if something comes up (maybe I go out for pizza and beer) I don’t let it affect my overall plan. The next day, I simply rededicate myself to my diet.
A bodybuilding practice followed successfully by many is to take a week or two off from intense training every 2-3 months. Some use this time only to take a break from their weight training and let their muscles recuperate, but it can also be useful to take a break from strict dieting. Including dieting in your break can allow the entire body to recuperate and refresh.
How Strict To Follow Your Diet
How strict you plan and follow your healthy weight gain diet is up to you…
The more dedicated a dieter you are,
the better the results you can expect.
But be realistic. A good weight gain diet plan will outperform a great one if you actually stick to the good one as opposed to getting frustrated and quitting the great one after a few days.
Make sure you have enough food included within your diet that you enjoy eating. Make sure you have enough freedom to enjoy your life. Otherwise, you are setting yourself up for failure.
Tracking Your Healthy Weight Gain Diet
A good weight gain diet plan is only the start. Everyone has a unique body, a unique metabolism and unique reactions to food. The successful healthy weight gain diet will be the result of using solid information to find an appropriate starting point and then your dedication to tracking the results.
As you go, there will be adjustments to be made to your diet based on your tracking program. It will be a combination of these factors, along with your weight training, that will propel you to gain weight fast.
Don’t underestimate the power of keeping accurate records of your healthy weight gain diet. As soon as your weight gain program stalls, accurate training and diet logs will be the key to getting your body back to building muscle. Without them, you’ll just be scratching your head.
Trust me, if you are having trouble gaining weight, just thinking you are eating well and trying to eat “as much as I can” won’t be enough. You must make a concentrated effort; you must focus in on the healthy weight gain diet.
Even if I can eat it all , how do I prepare six meals?
For some tips on how to do six meals a day without spending all your time in the kitchen, check out the Six Meals A Day page.
It takes a little planning, a little discipline, but the rewards do come if you stick to your healthy weight gain diet.