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Nutrition » Diets » Too Skinny: When Do You Draw The Weight Loss Line?

Too Skinny: When Do You Draw The Weight Loss Line?

being too skinny

Too Skinny: When Do You Need to Stop?

In our day and age, the media rules the world. With the development of the internet and social media, even in the furthest part of the world people are being persuaded that this is beautiful and that is ugly. The unreal beauty standards are now created by the Instagram influencers and YouTube stars. However, these standards are too narrow-minded, they exclude uniqueness and individuality. People forget that everyone is beautiful in their own way, and that uniqueness is the best part of beauty. 

Every person has their own tastes and aesthetic perception. An eager popularization of certain clothing styles, makeup trends, or hairstyles may be understandable, and doesn’t cause any drastic changes in one’s life. However, praising certain facial features, as for example a straight nose and plump lips or popularizing picture-perfect bodies may inveigle people into going under the knife in order to fit into the present day notion of beauty. Some are blinded by the idea of becoming skinny and they are going out of their way to see the number on their scale drop dramatically without taking their health and overall well-being into consideration.

What is too skinny?

Now, talking about body and thinness, you may think what is too skinny? Your normal weight may vary depending on such factors as your height, age, and gender (5, 9), and is determined mostly by your body mass index (BMI) (8). You can calculate your BMI by dividing your weight by squared height (kg/m2, or lbs/inches2 × 703). BMI can be classified as follows:

  • Less than 18.5 is underweight
  • From 18.5 to 24.9 is a healthy weight
  • From 25 to 29.9 is overweight
  • More than 30 is obese

You can also figure out if your weight is in the range of normal by your waist-hip ratio (WHR). Measure your waist at its narrowest point, or one inch above the belly button. You have a normal weight if your waist is from 30 to 40 inches for men and from 25 to 35 inches for women (4).

my arms are too skinny

How one becomes too skinny?

Body shaming and blind worship of a thin figure has always been one of the main reasons why teens resort to dieting. The main problem here is that often they do it even when they don’t actually need to lose weight, and what is even worse – they use unhealthy means to become thinner. In such cases, a person wants to shed pounds as quickly and as much as possible. So, the person gets into the habit of throwing up after the food consumption, or even unconsciously blocks the idea of eating. This approach often causes such dangerous diseases as bulimia (2) and anorexia (1), which can even be lethal, and should be treated only with the help of specialists.

In some cases, being too skinny is written in your genes and is not that dangerous as becoming underweight as a result of dieting. Usually it is not considered a problem and may be fixed by regular training and proper nutrition.

Ways to safely gain weight

Your body is not made of steel, and you can change it if you are determined enough. When it comes to any changes in weight, it is important to make them gradually and without harming your health. If you feel like you are too skinny and need to put on a couple of pounds, the best way to do it is through healthy nutrition and regular muscle growth training (7).

my legs are too skinny

Weight gain tips

Proper nutrition is a key point in gaining weight. It can help you take on a couple of pounds if you are underweight, or if you want to grow muscle mass. The more you eat and the less you move – the more fat you gain. However, even if you are too skinny, and want to put on weight as quickly as possible, you still must follow a healthy nutritional plan, in order to reduce the risk of development of certain diseases. So, here are some tips on what to do and what to avoid if you want this process to be effective and safe for your body (3):

  • Eat three to five meals a day

Caloric surplus is what prompts weight gain, that is what eating often can speed this process up. It works especially well if you get full quickly or don’t have that much of an appetite.

  • Consume liquid calories

No, drinking calories doesn’t mean that you should drown yourself in soda, coffee, and alcohol. The best options for you are milk, juices, full-fat dairy, and smoothies with fresh fruits and vegetables. They are packed to the brim with vital nutrients and will increase your daily calorie intake. The addition of nut butter, yogurt, nuts, seeds, and greens will be the best choice.

too skinny how to gain weight

  • Top your soups

A bit of topping in your soup will not only add to its calories, but may also improve the taste of the dish, so that you would like to have a bit more. For example, you can use sour cream, yogurt, bacon bits, cheese, and others.

  • Use salad dressings

Of course, most of the salads may be low in calories, however, don’t leave them out of your menu just because of that. You can use certain healthy fats, like sunflower oil as a dressing and add some calorie-rich foods, like avocados, cheese, nuts, and seeds.

  • Eat more healthy fats

Fats are full of calories, but not all of them are good for you. You should focus on polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, like those that you can find in certain types of fish, for instance, avocados, walnuts, olive, canola, and sunflower oils. You must avoid trans fats, as they are bad for your heart.

no junk food

  • Keep away from junk food

Although it is high in calories and can make you gain weight fast, junk food will only result in fat depositions, an increased level of bad cholesterol, and spiked blood sugar levels, which later on can cause a slew of serious health conditions.

  • Increase your level of physical activity

The best way to gain weight healthily is to build muscles through exercising (6). It can include yoga, weight lifting, cardio, HIIT, or swimming, choose whatever you prefer and get your sweat on! However, before planning your workout, please, consult with a specialist.

  • Keep track of what you eat

It may be difficult to remember everything. Start a journal in which you write down everything you eat. Try to also keep track of your calorie and nutrient intake, and increase their consumption by the end of the day, if you notice that you haven’t eaten enough during the day.

cookies

Helpful foods to gain weight

So, here is a list of foods that can help you gain weight healthily:

  • Milk
  • Rice
  • Red meat
  • Nuts and nut butter
  • Whole-grain breads, bars and cereals
  • Starch-rich foods
  • Salmon
  • Dried fruits
  • Avocado
  • Dark chocolate
  • Eggs
  • Cheese
  • Pasta
  • Yogurt
  • Cakes and cookies (occasionally and in moderation)

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Conclusion

The modern world revolves around media and beauty standards which it creates. As a result, millions of people strive to comply with those standards. They resort to plastic surgeries, and starve themselves in order to lose weight. However, if the person is already thin it makes them too skinny, which can cause a lot of health problems. As the standards change, they too always must change something, and eventually it turns into a game of tag, where that person is the only player and chases the wind. This in turn may also cause a lot of health issues and psychological instability. That is why your number one priority should always be your health. So if you feel like you are too skinny, to the point where it affects your body functions, please consult with a doctor. But if you want to change something just because you are not like those Instagram influencers, then it is better to think it all through, leave that idea behind and love your body the way it is. Remember, healthy is always sexy and beautiful!

Remember that a proper diet is not everything you need. Supplement it with this 20 Min Full Body Workout at Home challenge!

DISCLAIMER:

This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!

SOURCES:

  1. Anorexia Nervosa (2018, webmd.com)
  2. Bulimia nervosa (2018, mayoclinic.org)
  3. How do you gain weight quickly and safely? (2020, medicalnewstoday.com)
  4. How to Measure Your Waist (2019, webmd.com)
  5. Is there an average weight for men? (2018, medicalnewstoday.com)
  6. Safe Ways to Gain Weight (2020, webmd.com)
  7. Tips for gaining weight safely and things to avoid (2018, medicalnewstoday.com)
  8. What is a healthy weight? (2016, medicalnewstoday.com)
  9. What is the average weight for women? (2020, medicalnewstoday.com)
Kristen Fleming

Kristen Fleming

I am a U.S. educated and trained Registered Dietitian (MS, RD, CNSC) with clinical and international development experience. I have experience conducting systematic reviews and evaluating the scientific literature both as a graduate student and later to inform my own evidence-based practice as an RD. I am currently based in Lusaka, Zambia after my Peace Corps service was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic and looking for some meaningful work to do as I figure out next steps. This would be my first freelance project, but I am a diligent worker and quite used to independent and self-motivated work.

Kristen Fleming, MS, RD, CNSC

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