Seven Top Tips for Gaining Weight

Here, Gillian Killiner, Director And Principal Dietitian At 121 Dietitian discusses common reasons why people lose weight and shares her top tips for gaining weight.

I am 22 years in the health business and the most popular misconception I face is that all I do is advise people on weight loss!

This couldn’t be further from the truth. My unique role as a Dietitian is first and foremost about increasing nutrients and ensuring health is optimal from top-to-toe. This involves fixing; cellular function, gut health, mental health, checking genetics, bloods etc.

One area that gets very little press however is how to gain weight.

There are lots of reasons why people lose weight such as a poor appetite, nausea, difficulty eating, eating disorders, surgery, illness or a traumatic event. Extra good quality nutrition and extra energy are important to help gain weight along with addressing lifestyle issues that may be connected.

It may seem wrong but it is important to eat healthy choices when needing to gain weight as processed high sugar poor quality foods affect health negatively. When gaining weight it is essential to add muscle and replenish healthy levels of fat around the body, while not gaining unhealthy fat around the abdomen and organs.

My top seven tips for gaining weight are as follows:

  1. If appetite is small have small, frequent meals and snacks during the day. Try to eat or drink something every few hours. Three meals and three snacks is a good pattern to follow.
  2. Add small amounts of olive oil/cream/cheese to your food. This is an easy way to increase the energy in your diet while volumes do not increase by much.
  3. Choose high energy from protein foods at both meals and snacks.
  4. Make every mouthful count! Don’t fill up on low energy foods like water, tea, coffee, ‘diet’ food and drinks or plain fruits and vegetables. Follow the ideas below to increase the energy and protein content of some common low energy foods.
  5. Choose full cream dairy products and use high energy milk. To make high energy milk, add one–two tbsp skim milk powder to every 250mls of full cream milk.
  6. If nausea is a problem:
  • Cold foods and drinks may be better than hot as hot foods often have a stronger smell.
  • Avoid eating late at night if nausea is notable in the morning.
  • Don’t let your stomach get too full or empty as this will increase nausea.
  • Eat and drink slowly– If the smell of cooked foods puts you off try to avoid kitchen smells until you are feeling better.

7. Avoid taking a large amount of fluid when eating a meal and snack. Drinking 20 minutes after is better.

8. Ask someone else to assist you where possible so you are not wasting the energy and weight you are trying to build.

Adding high energy and protein foods (such as cream, cheese and margarine) to your meals really does make a big difference! The examples below show just how many calories/ kilojoules (KJ) you can add to a typical meal. This is an easy way to increase energy without having to eat lots of extra food!

Whether you need help with weight loss, weight gain or understanding your dietary needs, get in touch with Gillian today.

If you are unsure of how to change your eating habits, or need help optimising the foods you eat please do contact us. We would love to help you or your family and friends with any nutrition related queries big or small.

In the meantime do please check out our 121Dietitian Shop

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How can a Dietitian help

Gillian x

Kristen McBurney
Kristen McBurney
I cannot recommend Gillian enough. I got in touch after struggling to lose weight due to PCOS and suffering from IBS. Thanks to Gillian, my IBS symptoms have massively reduced, and I have been able to lose a significant amount of weight. Her warmth makes you feel instantly comfortable and at ease. Gillian’s help and expertise is second to none, and she is always on hand to answer any questions. I am throughly enjoying the plan Gillian created for me and have found it easy to integrate into my everyday life. I am so grateful for the positive impact her plan has had on me.
Hannah Crothers
Hannah Crothers
Gillian is the greatest. She is compassionate and professional, really helped me to understand my body’s function and how to best support it. Her advice has changed my life.
Jay Rafferty
Jay Rafferty
I would highly recommend Gillian. Her advice and guidance has been a game changer for me. With so much conflicting and confusing advice on healthy eating, using a professional nutritionalist is a must.
Emma Lavery
Emma Lavery
I could not recommend Gillian enough over the last 3 months - she has turned my life around! I was referred to Gillian by my gastro consultant due to suffering from ibs, gastritis and hormonal issues for nearly 10 years. Gillian was very understanding and approachable throughout my time spent with her. Gillian discussed my health, lifestyle and eating habits thoroughly. She advised an individualised blood check for underlying issues, educated me on supplements and provided numerous information to help aid my recovery. The low foodmap programme I have been following is achievable and can be adapted to anyones lifestyle. As I am a vegetarian I thought this process may be difficult however Gillian reassured me that this would be no issue. She supplied personalised shopping lists, recipes and alternative foods to help heal my gut and overall health. Continual support from Gillian was on hand via email when required. I seen improvements in my symptoms within only weeks of starting the programme and was overwhelmed by the success due to suffering for years! I have been spreading the word about Gillian's brilliant work and will continue to do so! Thank you again for all your help!
mick lorkins
mick lorkins
Strongly recommended. There are not many professionals that can totally change you life for the better but this one one if you follow the advice given.
Bobby D
Bobby D
For 30 years I have suffered with IBS D and have been unable to find the right specific help. I was introduced to 121 Dietician about 6 weeks ago and like all other services out there I was sceptical. First up was a consultation online which was great considering the many issues I was having going to places. Gillian listened very attentively and understood the many problems I was having. Gillian decided to introduce me to the Low FODMAP diet. Starting out she provided everything (information, shopping lists, recipes etc) to get started. Through the course of the first 6 weeks Gillian was available to answer any questions or concerns. Following the first 6 weeks I'm very happy to say that all the many problems associated with IBS have gone and I'm starting to live a normal life without any stage fright when out and about. The next 8 weeks will be the reintroduction stage but based on the knowledge from Gillian in the initial stage I'm very confident that at the end I will have full understanding of all my triggers. I can't recommend this service enough as most importantly after 30 years of severe symptoms I once again feel healthy and happy. This is a must if you suffer continually from this horrendous condition. I would be confident that this will help anyone who has IBS. For me this was the best money ever spent and I can't thank Gillian enough for the difference she has made. Roy Dornan
Jack Kennedy
Jack Kennedy
Helped solve stomach issues, had previous been to several people but this was the first dietary intervention that worked
Laura Campbell
Laura Campbell
After over 10 years of eating quite poorly, Gillian has completely changed my approach to food. After a consultation and review of my diet, she provided me with a list of easy and quick recipes that are packed full of nutrition. She takes into consideration your lifestyle as well which I really appreciated too. I now have much more energy and actually enjoy preparing meals now, something I never did before. I honestly cannot recommend her enough. Thankyou! :-)
Chris Arnold
Chris Arnold
The overall experience was a very positive one. Gillian certainly had the expertise and people skills to help evaluate and treat my daughters gut issues. The progress was quite instantaneous and over time has made a huge difference to her everyday life. Thanks to Gillian for her work which came at the end of many doctor consultations. In hindsight Gillian should have been the first port of call.
Amelia Tyler
Amelia Tyler
Gillian is great and her program was just perfect. All the meals were delicious and I always felt satisfied which made it very easy to follow. I would highly recommend, especially the 121 sports program.


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