How does it work?This is not a day-by-day plan but an overview of the types of food you should be eating if you want to gain weight. Eating fatty foods is not the best way of increasing your weight as this won't add muscle and could store up future health problems such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Instead, Michael van Straten advises people on how to get the extra calories they need in a healthy way. He's also devised a special build-up shake you should drink every day.
Who is it good for?Men who want to bulk up and women who want to add curves to a skinny frame. This diet is also good for people who have suffered an illness or who are undergoing chemotherapy and cannot always face eating a full meal.
What are the drawbacks?
This is not suitable for pregnant women.
First of all, make and drink one special build-up shake a day. You can
either have it for breakfast or keep it in the fridge and sip it
throughout the day. For each shake, you will need:
1pt whole milk
1 raw egg
1 dsp each of molasses, honey, tahini, wheatgerm and Brewer's yeast
powder (tahini, wheatgerm and Brewer's Yeast powder should all be
available from health food shops)
4 dried apricots
Simply whisk all the ingredients together in a liquidiser or with a hand
blender. Don't forget to keep it in the fridge if you're not drinking
Which other foods should you be eating?
What you must not do is to get the extra calories you need from
high-sugar, high-fat foods like biscuits, sweets, chocolates, cream,
butter and breakfast fry-ups. They'll make you gain weight but will
probably give you a heart attack at the same time.
The healthiest calories come from complex carbohydrates like wholemeal
bread, oats, potatoes, wholemeal pasta, brown rice and beans. Try to
make sure they contribute at least half your food.
Get extra calories from bananas, nuts (unsalted) and dried fruits.
Raisins, sultanas, dates, and dried apricots are excellent sources of
energy, vitamins and minerals. They also supply useful quantities of
Another source of healthy calories are seeds and spreads made from seeds
and nuts. Have peanut butter on your toast instead of Marmite and try
tahini - a spread made from crushed sesame. Both these spreads contain a
lot of calories along with healthy fats.
Dips like guacamole, made from avocado and olive oil, and houmous, made
with chickpeas and tahini, make excellent snacks if you're trying to
gain weight. Try eating them with wholemeal pitta bread.
Aim to eat something at least every two hours, starting with a really good breakfast and finishing with a bedtime snack.
Perhaps surprisingly, doing exercise is one of the best ways to gain
weight. But the type of exercise you do is extremely important. If
you're burning more calories than you're consuming in a day, you'll
never gain weight so forget running or aerobics for now. Instead, take
up weight-training or body building which will help turn those extra
calories into muscle and can dramatically alter your body shape.
It may be easiest to do this in a gym. Most gyms nowadays offer an
introductory lesson when you join up which will give you the chance to
ask a personal fitness trainer to advise you on which weights you should
be lifting and how many times.
If that's too expensive or if there's not a gym near you, consider
buying your own weights to use at home. But again, it would be useful to
get a fitness expert to help you devise a routine.
Muesli with whole fat milk
2 slices wholemeal bread with peanut butter
Unsalted brazil nuts
Chicken and avocado sandwich on brown bread
Dried fruit selection
Meat curry (preferably a tomato based sauce, not a creamy one) with brown rice.
Throughout the day:
Michael van Straten's build-up shake
Find out more:
- For more information on Michael van Straten's diets, visit www.michaelvanstraten.com.