What should I do if I am unable to gain weight despite a good diet and exercise?
I am a 25 year old male whose BMI has been below average ever since I was a child; I have never seen an increase of my weight. I have been doing my best to consume a balanced diet and even resorted to protein supplements and working out, but there is still no improvement. Can I know what could be the possible reason(s)? Thank you in advance.
Thank you for your question. I have answered one question on weight gain similar to this in the past and it contains quite a bit of detail that might be useful to your situation.
To start with your problem, it might be useful to consult either a Dietitian, a Sports Medicine Physician or a Strength and Conditioning Coach. Each can support you in different ways and assess/advise you accordingly.
To me, the question is "how low is your BMI?" as for most its quite the reverse issue and actually BMI is a poor measure of overall health. There are a number of athletes who are really fit and healthy but have elevated BMI due to muscle mass. Thus I wouldn't simply rely on BMI as a measure of health. Normally gaining weight is a balance between intake and expenditure - for most, the intake overtakes expenditure and hence we are facing a worldwide obesity epidemic.
If you are considering supplements, also please take care as some might contain contaminants from the factory production process. While this is more of an issue for elite athletes who are drug tested etc, it might be that the contaminants contact various allergens. Perhaps in your case it would be good to add an extra helping to your balanced diet and maintain intake of healthy foots rather than supplements etc.
Please do let me know if you have any further questions.
Thank you for your question.
You mentioned having a low BMI ever since you were a child. It would be useful taking a look at your height and weight charts to see if you have been on the same centiles or crossing centiles. For example, if you are on the 10th centile and have always been on this centile over the years, it's less concerning than if you were on the 25th centile and now on the 10th centile.
Causes of poor weight gain are multiple, and can be explained by an imbalance in calorie intake vs calorie expenditure.
Conditions that lead to reduced intake of food (unlikely if you're eating well), conditions associated with increased metabolic rate (for example hyperthyroidism), conditions associated with increased losses of nutrients (for example malabsorption, inflammatory bowel disease, coeliac disease etc) should all be considered.
If your BMI is below 18.5, you may be at risk of nutritional deficiencies and osteoporosis.
If you have any concerns, I would suggest seeing your doctor to get an evaluation to exclude any underlying medical conditions.