While weight watchers are constantly whining about difficulty in shedding a few kilos, putting on weight is not exactly thought of as much of a challenge.
"Why would anyone want to put on weight?" could be a natural response to that argument, but for people who have been lanky and bony all their life - a little flesh would be a welcome change.
"There are three body types, mesomorphs (athletic), endomorphs (obese) and ectomorphs (thin). Ectomorphs are people who generally struggle to maintain a healthy weight," says Neville Almeida, nutrition and fitness expert at fitness studio, F2 Fitness.
Why does it happen? Almeida explains why weight gain is difficult for some:
Some people have trouble gaining weight because their metabolism burns food too rapidly. Such people need to ensure that their calorie intake throughout the day is higher than the amount of calories they burn.
High stress levels
Constantly being exposed to high stress levels and anxiety at work or home can make you lose more weight than gain.
Problems with absorption
Patients suffering from coeliac disease, cystic fibrosis or steatorrhoea (inability to absorb fats from the gastrointestinal tract), are often underweight and have difficulty gaining weight.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the conditions that can make gaining weight in children a problem. Such children are physically so active that they burn energy at an alarming rate.
Medical conditions such as hyperthyroidism, cancer, tuberculosis, diabetes, or psychological causes such as anorexia and depression are other causes for being underweight.
"If your goal is to gain weight and build a lean physique, you need to eat the right food at the right time," says fitness guru Mickey Mehta. He, along with other experts, suggests that a few modifications to your diet can do the trick.
The right diet
"A high-calorie, high-protein, high-fat and high-carbohydrate diet is needed," says Dr Nupur Krishnan, clinical nutritionist and director, of Bio-logics, a nutrition clinic, adding, "Increase your portions of calorie-dense foods and choose the more nutrient ones. Have cheese instead of lean meat and milkshake instead of skim milk."
"Eat foods that are high in good fat like dry fruits, peanuts, ghee, olive oil, and starchy vegetables like potato, sweet potato, beans and bananas," adds Mehta. Jyoti Sawant, nutritionist at Gold's Gym adds that the carbohydrates should come from complex sources such as oatmeal, fruits and vegetables.
Make sure you eat three to four basic meals, including a hearty breakfast and snacks. "To gain weight, you need to increase your calorie intake by 500 calories a day," says Mehta.
Avoid junk food
Avoid all junk foods, coffees and deep-fried foods. "High-calorie sweets like chocolates, desserts and Indian sweets will only add fat and not muscle to your frame," says Mehta. Krishnan adds, "Alcohol and caffeine suppress your appetite and the urge to eat. Replace them with healthy choices like juices and milk instead."