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Tips on how to improve your efforts to gain weight

The issue of weight loss is an enduring round-table discussion in the modern world.

Every magazine on the market seems to have an article on how we should shed a few kilos or get that summer body, with tips and tricks on how to reach our goal weight.

There have been a variety of teas, belts, pills and equipment that have come and gone, all in the name of weight loss.

The truth is we are all obsessed with losing weight.

Who does not want to shed a few pounds and look great?

Yet very rarely do we ever think about the opposite side of the spectrum; that there are people whose wish is to actually gain weight.

Yes, as hard as it may be to believe, some naturally skinny people have had a lifelong obsession to gain a few kilos; have the curves and love handles; buttocks and hips we seem to despise and want to get rid of.

And yet, try as they may, they simply cannot gain weight. This can prove to be psychologically damaging, very much the same as those whose dream is to be skinny.

One such person is Hombile Ngobozana, a 30-year-old IT support technician from Protea North in Soweto.

Ngobozana, although not comfortable to disclose her actual weight, has been skinny all her life, and says that it impacted her a lot while growing up.

"Many people automatically assumed that I was malnourished as a child. In my early teens, I actually took multivitamins in the hope that I would eat more and that it would lead to some weight gain, but every effort on my part proved fruitless. I never gained weight, despite how hard I tried."

She says even when she got pregnant, she did not gain a monstrous amount of kilos.

Ngobozana says her mother saw nothing wrong with her weight, as she was skinny and knew it was probably genetic.

"My mother wouldn't encourage me to gain weight because she knew that being skinny ran in the family.

"It was really hard for me to come to accept the fact that I am skinny, and that there is nothing I can do about it. It's just that the food does not go to my waistline," she says.

Ngobozana now accepts and loves herself the way she is. What causes some people to be excessively skinny, despite not wanting to be?

Nutrition expert Joel Gouws says that when it comes to being skinny, some people are just born that way.

"Genetic factors can definitely have an impact of being skinny. Some people are just naturally born with growth hormones that cause their bodies to naturally burn calories and use more energy as they go about their daily lives. Some people are also born with a naturally high metabolism, which helps their bodies to get rid of any excessive fats and calories that may lead to weight gain," he says.

Gouws advices that before one settles down on the theory that they are naturally skinny, they should take a few things into consideration though.

Lesego 'Thick Leeyonce' Legobane flaunts her curvacious body.
Lesego 'Thick Leeyonce' Legobane flaunts her curvacious body.

I would strongly suggest that someone who is struggling with weight gain to consult a doctor, who will run some tests and determine if there are no medical reasons at play for making you skinny, despite your high calorie intake. Factors such as an overactive thyroid could see you not being able to gain weight, despite how hard you may try. The good news is that an overactive thyroid can be treated, so definitely check with your doctor to see if there is nothing medically that could be contributing to your inability to gain weight.

People who are skinny should not have the same exercise regime as those who are trying to lose weight. Jogging or excessive running will make you lose weight, contributing to your weight loss. Instead, try to find (other) exercises that will lead to muscle gain, such as resistance weight training.

You may find that you are skinny and still love food, but the frequency of how often you eat can also be a contributing factor to not being able to gain weight. Eating at short intervals can lead to speeding up your metabolism, which will in return make you lose weight. You may want to create a gap between how often you sit down to eat, and avoid constant snacking. This can also lead you to be full throughout the day, which in turn can cause you to skip meals like supper.

Some people think that just because they eat a lot, that automatically translates to a lot of calories. Not necessarily. People who are skinny also have a fear of eating a lot of calories, as their small frames can only handle so much food at a time. But, you can be smart about it, and eat a lot of food that are highly packed in calories, but will not overwhelm you like a double cheese burger for example. Speak to a dietitian about what high calorie foods you can add to your diet.

Some people may not realise that they are burning calories with their daily activities. Start taking note of how much walking, running or any physical exercise you may be doing throughout your day. This may be at home or at work. This may contribute to your weight loss or inability to gain weight.

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