How to Overcome Being Underweight

Updated July 19, 2017

Underweight people find weight control just as frustrating as those who are overweight. Genetics, food allergies, food intolerance, medical issues and simply not eating enough are factors that can contribute to being underweight. The body-mass index, or BMI, uses your weight and height to determine whether you are underweight, average or overweight. You are likely an underweight adult if your BMI is 18.5 or less. Overcome being underweight by implementing a nutritional plan after a consultation with your physician.

Consult a physician to determine if your weight problem is related to malnutrition, food intolerance or food allergies. You may be underweight because your body cannot absorb nutrients properly, or you may have medical issues that prevent weight gain. Your physician will determine the best way to cure or treat any medical condition. If your physician determines that your weight isn't due to a medical condition, address your caloric intake and dietary patterns.

Create a food journal to determine your current calorie intake. Record every meal and snack consumed to find the average amount of calories and foods you're ingesting daily. Add 500 calories to your daily caloric consumption.

Weigh yourself after a week to see if you gain weight. Increase calories by 500 to 1,000 per day every week, if you do not gain weight.

Eat nutritious and energy-dense foods. Aim for foods that contain vitamins, minerals and healthy macronutrients and that are high in calories. Increase your intake of whole grain complex carbohydrates such as pasta. Add nuts and dried fruits to your diet. A healthy diet can increase your lean body weight. Obtain your protein from fish and chicken sources.

Remove processed foods like white sugar and flour from your diet. Stop drinking coffee, alcohol and soda. Reduce your intake of milk products. Eating these foods can add unwanted fat to your body as you gain weight.


The average male consumes 2,000 to 2,500 calories a day. You may need to add an additional 500 to 1,000 calories to gain weight. Include two or three snacks between meals to add additional calories within the day. Eat before you go to sleep. You can add weight-gainer shakes to your diet to help add calories.


BMI values do not take into account body proportions and lean muscle mass. Gain weight slowly and steadily. Fast weight gain can be very unhealthy for the body.

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About the Author

Jay Jay Waltz has been writing professionally since 2009, focusing on health, wellness and nutrition. He has written for various online publications. Waltz is a National Academy of Sports Medicine-certified personal trainer while undergoing corrective rehabilitation training. Waltz also holds a Bachelor of Science in public health environmentalism from the Southern Connecticut State University.