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Thin But Troubled: Understanding the Dilemma of Those Struggling to Bulk Up

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Some people are desperate to lose weight, while others stress over not gaining weight or muscle.

Some people are desperate to lose weight, while others stress over not gaining weight or muscle. This image is unrelated to the article. [Photo=Pixels]

Those with thin bodies often face stress from being treated as sickly and being ridiculed for their small stature. However, when discussing this stress, most people dismiss their concerns as trivial. It’s even hard for them to admit that being thin is a source of stress.

So why do some people struggle to gain weight? There are generally two main reasons for underweight individuals.

The first reason is a low rate of digestion and absorption. The intake and output of energy must be balanced for the body to maintain balance. Individuals with efficient metabolism can convert food into energy and store it in their bodies without significant calorie loss.

On the other hand, if metabolism is inefficient, even with a high food intake, weight doesn’t increase. This is due to an imbalance of gut microbiota, leading to lower digestion and absorption rates than others.

There are generally two main reasons for underweight individuals, the first being a low digestion and absorption rate. This image is unrelated to the article. [Photo=Pixels]

Our intestines house over 100 trillion microbes. The balance of these gut microbes determines the efficiency of energy absorption. Gut microbes play a role in digesting undigested food and converting it into energy. Food may not be digested and absorbed correctly if there’s a deficiency in these microbes.

For example, individuals with lactose intolerance who experience diarrhea after consuming milk lack the enzyme lactase, which breaks down lactose in milk. Conversely, those who can consume milk without any digestive issues have sufficient enzymes in their gut to break down lactose.

In such cases, individuals need to consider the calories in the food they consume and how much energy their bodies can absorb. To do this, they need to pay attention to what they eat, their bowel movements, and their regular dietary patterns.

Even with poor eating habits, weight doesn’t increase. This image is unrelated to the article. [Photo=Pixels]

The second reason is poor eating habits. While it’s true that some underweight individuals have low digestion and absorption rates, most are not inherently unhealthy but rather have poor eating habits.

Thin people often work hard to build up their small bodies. However, they struggle with eating. They think they’re eating a lot to bulk up, but when they calculate their total caloric intake, it often doesn’t exceed their daily metabolic rate. In such cases, they’re not bulking up but rather maintaining an ideal diet or maintenance state.

In this case, they need to recalculate their regular diet’s caloric content. The daily metabolic rate required to maintain weight is obtained by adding the activity metabolic rate to the basal metabolic rate they already have. To gain weight, they need to consume additional calories.

Typically, to build 1 kg (2.2 lbs) of muscle, about 7,000 to 8,000 kcal of surplus energy is needed along with exercise. Therefore, if the goal is to increase muscle mass by 1 kg (2.2 lbs) in a month, they need to consume an additional 200 to 300 kcal per day on top of their daily metabolic rate.

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