We as humans are obsessed with our diet. That applies to all of us as well, as we kind of have to be, otherwise we will start to degrade as a person. We have to eat a set amount of calories every day, and that is hard to do.
Sometimes we overeat without realizing, and sometimes we under-eat without realizing.
However, in today’s modern sedentary world where most of our jobs are sitting behind a computer screen on a chair all day with high calorie food seemingly everywhere, it is much easier to overeat than to under eat.
With this in mind, many people have begun to calorie count their daily intake in recent years. But truthfully, how many calories do you have to eat to gain even a single pound? It seems like it isn’t that much.
Well, the answer is truthfully, it depends.
How Many Calories Should I Eat Per Day?
The consensus for most of the population is that you should be eating about 2000 to 2500 calories per day, with women needing to eat less than men.
This figure takes into account a very generalized view of how people are during their day, the average health of a person, and their age, among other things.
However, as we said, it is general. This basically applies to men and women who are the average height, weight, fitness level, and have an average diet. Unfortunately, nobody is the exact average, so this will vary from person to person.
For example, bodybuilders who are tall will tend to eat thousands of calories more than 2500, due to them expending so much energy working out and trying to gain mass, yet an incredibly slim and short sedentary person will need far fewer calories to function, often eating below 2000 calories.
As such, you should take the calorie counter with a grain of salt, so to speak. Use it as a guide, but do not limit yourself with or don’t let it affect your health.
Just make sure you are eating healthily, eating a reasonable amount, and doing an appropriate amount of exercise for your age and health.
Another thing to consider as well is that you know your body. If you are struggling on your current calorie count, maybe change it up a little to accommodate your body more. Make sure you listen to your body’s needs as well as other people’s advice.
How Many Calories To Gain A Pound?
Normally, it takes eating an extra 3500 calories in your diet per week to gain a pound in weight. That means you would have to eat an extra 500 calories per day in order to gain a pound in weight.
While this seems like a lot of food and so quite difficult to do, it honestly doesn’t take much.
Let’s give a few examples. It generally is about one healthy meal option, so let’s say a piece of salmon with some salad on the side or two sandwiches on top of your regular meals, if you were to eat 500 calories more every day.
If you were to eat the 3500 calories in a burst or as part of an unhealthy day, then it is much more achievable. A whole 200 gram tub of Pringles is over 1000 calories, a can of beer is 150 calories, and 100 grams of peanuts is about 600 calories.
So, having a night in with some friends watching a game with Pringles, peanuts, and a few cans will add up to being close to 3500 calories.
All it takes is one or two days of poor eating and suddenly, you gain a pound. For those that want this, this is great, for those that don’t it may not seem like a big deal.
However, it kind of is a big deal. Genuinely. A lot of people who are struggling with being overweight probably didn’t even notice themselves gaining pounds because it happened so slowly.
A pound a week is an insidious gain, as by the end of the year you have gained 52 pounds (3.7 Stone) in total!
As such, eating an extra 3500 calories a week is fine once in a while, just try not to make a habit of it.
What Should I Do If I Want To Gain Weight?
That is a different story, if you want to gain weight, then you should be aiming for 3500 calories extra a week or 500 extra a day. This amount of food is considered good for healthy weight gain, and anything above this may be damaging to your body.
If you are trying for this, though, there are some foods to avoid. These are saturated fats, sugars, and excessive carbohydrates.
It can be tempting to build the foundation of your weight gain on a McDonald’s meal every day – it can be really tempting – while you will gain weight from this, you will just feel awful and your body will be struggling. You will also gain fat, not muscle.
Instead, you should focus on proteins and unsaturated fats for weight gain. Foods that have these are meats – red, white, and fish –, unsalted nuts, pulses and legumes, and an adequate amount of carbohydrates.
Proteins are the building blocks for muscle growth, as they contain essential amino acids, and unsaturated fats will provide your body with necessary fat with less of the problems associated with saturated fats.
These are the core of healthy weight gain.
There are a lot of snack foods that have these nutrients as their basis as well.
For example, a handful of peanuts or almonds, some jerky, a glass of milk, a can of black beans, all of these will give you a protein and calorie boost without destroying your body.
It takes eating 3500 calories more per week or 500 calories more per day to gain a pound per week.
This is not a lot and if you are planning on losing weight, be wary of eating this much, if you are planning on gaining weight, make sure you are eating more healthy food rather than junk food.