How to gain weight is a question not so often discussed as is the subject of reducing weight. Some persons cannot be made to gain a pound by any means of persuasion or suasion, while others find it hard not to keep continually on the upgrade. The latter are more fortunate in one respect — for their tendency can be controlled — they can be reduced if they try hard enough.

This may seem somewhat discouraging to the slender ones; but really there are very few who cannot be made to gain some weight. However, no one can say that anyone can gain ten pounds or twenty pounds, or any other number of pounds. No one can know another’s possibilities in this respect.

Why be concerned about underweight, in any case? Many thin persons appear attractive in almost any type of clothing, except perhaps swimming suits; they “wear their clothes better” as a rule, and this has great appeal to many persons, not only young girls but young men and even their elders. Clothes do not make the individual; but when a person thinks and feels that his clothes “lit” properly and look well, his own opinion advances measurably. Hence his value to himself and even to others, increases.

But there is a health factor of weight that is far more important. In fact, it is the only concern of importance. We cannot judge the health, nervous energy, brain capacity and productivity, vitality, resistance to disease and longevity, by the weight of the individual; but usually we take the weight as a guide as to one’s physical condition in respect to his hardihood, digestion and assimilation, stamina and endurance. There is the race horse type of individual, and the draft horse type — the greyhound type and the mastiff type; and neither of these can be made to approach the other, by any method of treatment (at least after maturity) or mode of living. Yet there are such things as an emaciated race horse or greyhound and an overweight draft horse or mastiff. One’s aim should be to approach the normal for his type — and his individual normal. If one considers for a moment it will be seen that there is a distinction and a difference between these two normals.

It is of no advantage to have a normal weight if it is obtained or maintained by means that rob one of vitality and health. In other words, weight in itself means nothing. And enough has been said about the dangers of too much weight to show that one might better be on the gaunt than on the portly order. Thin people as a rule have a better chance of long life than fat people. Nearly all old people — really old people — are thin. Besides, thin people do more, mentally and physically, than fat people as a rule. If they should be overtaken by an epidemic or other disease, with the exception of tuberculosis and other wasting diseases, they have a far better chance of throwing off the trouble and emerging free from serious or disturbing after-effects.

But there is a limit of slenderness for health’s sake; there is a weight at which one possesses and shows a better degree of vitality and better general health. This does not consist of fat, but of better developed muscles and larger bones, with just sufficient fat to produce a pleasing roundness and the prevention of too many scams. If there is no fat — and many have good muscles with no fat over them — others may appear not only slender but abnormally slender. Such people may be in superb health regardless of the low scale readings.

Yet if one appears abnormally slender, there is a cause, and this must be taken into consideration when endeavoring to gain. There may exist no specific disease but there may be present disturbed digestion or reduced assimilation, from general toxemia, overeating, hasty eating, wrong food selection, harmful foods, foods and adjuncts (spices, condiments, etc.), catarrh of the stomach or bowels, constipation, etc.

Every one of these possible causes should be summed up in the one word general toxemia, with its causes — which are wrong eating and numerous wrong living habits in general.

Occupation, confinement away from sunlight and fresh air, and irritating environment and worry may be causes. Worry may cause loss of weight, but never yet has put a pound of weight on anyone. Diarrhea, diabetic and kidney disease, tuberculosis, anemia, cancer, toxic goiter or over-active thyroid — these, which may be classed among the causes, are but further results of general toxemia.

An unbalanced diet is a very frequent cause of thinness, as is also a diet of refined foods, deficient in really nourishing elements. Some women habitually puttering around at this and that, using enough food-energy daily to put on weight if they took their housework, occupation or profession, and themselves somewhat less seriously.

Many people probably cat large amounts of food, under the mistaken idea that the more they eat the more they will gain or the better the chance of gaining. They disturb and obstruct the digestive processes, reduce metabolism, and utilize large amounts of energy in attempting to digest and to pass the required and excess food through the digestive tract and eliminate the unneeded.

Other women, members of the slowly-disappearing modern flapper type, deliberately eat too little, laboring under a mistaken conception of what constitutes physical beauty and charm. Such girls and women are actually under-nourished because of inadequate consumption of food, especially of vital foods, while the heavy eaters are just as actually undernourished — but from retarded functions and dissipated energy, probably also from foods deficient in nourishing elements.

Exercise has much to do with one’s weight, also. Many take too much exercise in one or more of various ways, while more do not take enough. Exercise makes a definite demand for more nourishment in all parts of the body, but especially in the muscles. When proper and sufficient foods are given along with adequate favorable exercise, the muscles grow — also, to some extent, the bones. A more normal layer of fat is more apt to be formed over the muscles also, if the exercise is not too severe or too often, and if there is a good balance between it and rest and relaxation. Some people are able to gain merely by adjusting their eating-habits, others merely by curtailing their exercises; but the best results usually are secured by a method that includes all measures that have a general health-promoting effect.

It has been said time after time that “What is one man’s meat is another man’s poison.” Not by the farthest stretch of the imagination can this be true. However, what will have a pronounced effect upon one person may have a much less noticeable effect upon another, whether that something be toward building health or weight, or toward health destruction. Much depends upon the individual himself. Nevertheless, what will have a weight-producing effect upon one person will have the same effect upon others, in more or less degree.

There are very few who will not make a gain in weight on the milk diet, some making a gain of many pounds a month, others only a few pounds. In one case reported, there was a gain of sixty pounds in six weeks on the strict milk diet, to which was added a comb of honey daily. Some will retain all of the weight thus gained, others will lose some of the weight and still others will lose all of that gained, in time. Taken properly, changing later to a diet which will stabilize weight, and with proper measures in other respects, one of the best and surest ways of adding the desired pounds is by the milk diet.

With this or any other diet for this effect it frequently is better to start with the fast or a diet of acid fruits or their juices for a few days. This allows the digestion, elimination and assimilation to improve, by providing a rest to the digestive organs and speedier elimination of the catarrhal accumulation of months or years. It is such catarrhal conditions that help to cause or that aggravate thinness.

Different people will require different amounts of milk for gaining, and different lengths of fasts in preparation for the milk. Nothing specific can be given in this chapter as to what will be required in any given case. I may state briefly that probably from one to seven days of fasting or fruit juice dieting may be required, and from four quarts of milk daily, for the small woman or man, to six quarts daily for larger persons. I recommend this method to anyone, however, who has been underweight for years or who never has been normal in weight or who has lost weight as a result of an acute or chronic disease.

An excellent plan that I devised years ago for the thin person who could not fast long enough, yet whose digestion was so abnormal as to make the fast almost necessary, is to fast one day and take the milk diet one day, then alternate the fast and milk diet by increasing the number of days of each by one up to seven days of fasting and seven days of milk diet. After the seven days of milk, this diet may be continued indefinitely, or a solid food diet may be taken if preferred.

It always is better to continue on the milk diet for six weeks or longer for best results. After this time the best plan is to continue on the milk as usual up to one or two in the afternoon, then to take nothing until the evening meal hour. At this time there should be raw vegetables, sweet fruit and milk or buttermilk or clabbered milk. After a few days nuts or cottage (pot) cheese, fish or eggs may be used, though it is better not to use any of these in the same meal with any form of milk. Whole grain cereal products also may be added, raw rolled oats being excellent, with the vegetables, sweet fruit and milk.

The quantity of any of these foods will depend upon so many factors that the individual will need to determine this for himself. However, one should avoid the mistake of trying to eat excessive quantities. The weight is increased better by quantities well within the digestive capacity than by any quantity beyond this. There should be a natural hunger for all foods, and if this should be missing it will do no good to cat heartily, nor even small quantities.

If for any reason the strict milk diet cannot be taken, a solid food diet may be used with almost as good benefit in many cases. If possible, however, one should use considerable milk regularly in the diet, provided it is considered as part of the meal and not used at the end of a full meal for a filler or between meals.

The foods to select from for the solid food diet are the natural starches and sugars — dates, raisins, figs, bananas and prunes, and honey occasionally; the whole grain cereals, cither uncooked or wholesomely cooked, potatoes and other tuberous vegetables of good starch content; the proteins, in not too large quantities — milk in any form and cheese, also eggs, beans and peas; the natural fats — of milk, eggs (yolks), nuts, butter, nut butter, and olive and nut oils. Cod liver oil will prove helpful in many cases.

One should not make the mistake of neglecting any of the natural foods, particularly the fresh and citrus fruits (except lemons, which should be taken rather sparingly), and the salad vegetables, also berries and melons in season. Some of these foods should form a fairly large part of each meal.

A fair quantity of water should be taken daily, but immediately after, rather than with meals, unless definitely thirsty at meal time. Except for combining starches or sugars with acids, and sugars with starches (except sweet fruits and cereals which is an ideal combination), the foods mentioned may be combined to suit the taste. Another combination, however, which usually is much better to avoid is that of protein and starch in the same meal.

Much rest may be necessary; in fact almost complete rest may be required for a period by many. Usually if there are eight or nine hours of sleep, with relaxation when possible, the protracted complete rest will not be required. The exercise should be very limited at first, preferably only walking and deep breathing. Later a general, slow, somewhat heavy, rather than rapid movement may be taken, also light sports or work. There should be some of the heavy movements taken on alternate days; and either on the same day or days alternating with these some of the lighter movements for agility.

Hot baths should be avoided unless of only two or three minutes’ duration. Short barely warm and only moderately cool baths are better for most people trying to gain. In many instances sexual rest will be of utmost importance. Unless the vital energies are conserved in this way it will be impossible for the muscles to become firm and solid and for the weight to increase.

It must be remembered that weight is gained only if the intake of nourishment exceeds the output of energy. Since there has been a warning against heavy eating, it will be necessary to conserve the energies while eating comparatively small quantities, but of the proper foods. Any habit that tends to dissipate energies must be put well under control so that it does not permit the expenditure of more than can be restored by the food taken in and the rest secured. Numerous so called pleasures exhaust energies, and so long as they are pursued under such circumstances one hardly can expect an increase in weight. More than this, if they have been enjoyed for a considerable length of time they may have so exhausted the energies that it will require weeks or months to overcome their effects and begin a gain in solid tissues, in fat, in weight and in energy.

When all our habits are as they should be, we shall have that weight that is proper for us, and at the same time we shall find all our faculties at their best, and our health at its highest. It may take a little more time than some impatient persons will want to give. But such impatience will not help anyone to win the desired objective, in fact it will but serve to prevent gains. Therefore composure of mind is as necessary as the adoption of the proper physical measures. Keep calm and keep cheerful; and if you are doing the proper things in other respects, you will gain the weight you desire —provided, of course, that it is possible for such weight to be gained by you.

Author's Bio: 

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