Why am I Not Gaining Weight?

Are you underweight or have you experienced unintended weight loss? Maybe you’ve tried eating more food, but your weight remains unchanged? You are stuck wondering: why am I not gaining weight?

There could be many possible answers to the question “why am I not gaining weight”. In this article we’ll review some of the possible reasons you are struggling to gain weight. Then we’ll dive into some possible solutions to help you gain weight with success.

Why is Gaining Weight Important?

We live in a weight obsessed world. And too often when you search for answers on weight, all you can find are articles on weight loss. But not everyone needs to lose weight. In fact, there are many people who need to gain weight.

Gaining weight is often important for those who are underweight and/or those who have experienced unintended weight loss.


Some people are just naturally thin. They’ve always been that weight and that’s OK. Other people lost weight due to illness or some life event and they were never able to get the weight back on.

Those who are underweight often want to gain weight to get to a “healthier weight” for their height and age. Gaining weight and gaining muscle can be very important for staying healthy with aging.

In fact, for older adults, having a slightly higher weight is associated with decreased risk of death. You can learn more in our article on BMI in the Elderly.

Unintended Weight Loss

Weight LossYou don’t have to be underweight to want to gain weight.

Some people experience unintended weight loss and are looking to gain back the weight they lost. To get back to their baseline.

Unintended weight loss can be caused by a variety of factors.

It can be caused by illness, cancer, or even due to a heartbreaking life event like the death of a loved one. In some cases, it can be difficult to identify why weight loss is occurring.

Unintended weight loss It is often associated with loss of muscle which can have significant health consequences. In older adults it is important to get regular weights to ensure unintended weight loss is not occurring.

You can learn more in our article on Stopping Unintended Weight Loss in the Elderly.

How to Gain Weight

Gaining weight may sound simple when you explain it. But anyone who has struggled to gain weight knows it is not simple at all. Successfully gaining weight is based on many different factors.

High Calorie Diet

The best way to gain weight is to follow a high calorie diet. Simply put, if you eat more calories than you burn you will gain weight. The goal is to have a calorie surplus. Consuming more calories than you are currently eating so you can gain weight.

Examples of foods high in calories include whole fat milk, whole fat yogurt, avocado, coconut, nuts, nut butters, seeds, butter, bananas, ice-cream, etc.

15 Best High Calorie Vegan Foods

You can learn more about high calorie foods at our article, The Best Weight Gain Food List. Or purchase our High Calorie Foods SERIES which features a high calorie foods list, grocery list, and meal planner.

Reading the nutrition label on food containers is a good way to find out how many calories are in the foods you are eating. At the grocery store you can compare the calorie content of the foods you purchase by reading the labels first.

A good tip is to avoid foods labeled with “diet”, “light”, or “reduced.” These foods are typically lower in calories. And they are often marketed towards people trying to lose weight.

Factors That Make Weight Gain Difficult

As previously mentioned, successfully gaining weight is based on many different factors. And these factors are completely unique to the individual person.

Here are some common factors that can make weight gain difficult:

  • Poor appetite
  • No appetite (or hunger cues) at all
  • Getting full fast (can’t finish your plate)
  • Change in taste or smell (foods taste different/bad)
  • No sense of taste or smell at all
  • Difficulty chewing foods
  • Difficulty swallowing and/or fear of eating (choking)
  • Feeling nauseous (or vomiting)
  • Feeling sick or cruddy
  • Being prone to stomach aches and/or diarrhea
  • Being depressed or sad
  • Struggling with pain
  • Chronic illness
  • Medications that cause weight loss
  • Medical conditions that cause you to burn more calories
  • Undiagnosed medical issues
  • Exercising too much (burning too many calories)
  • Being on a special diet that make food unappetizing
  • Eating too many foods that are low in calories
  • Filling up on water or calorie free beverages
  • Overly focusing on “healthy” foods/ aversion to high calorie foods 
  • Having an eating disorder
  • Not having enough money to buy food
  • Not having enough energy to prepare food
  • Disabilities that make eating hard
  • Etc.

Often times it is a combination of factors that makes it difficult to gain weight. Sometimes, it can be hard to pinpoint the exact cause. But trying to find the root cause can really help to find the solution.

Why Am I Not Gaining Weight?

Hopefully in reviewing the section above you were able to identify some of the reasons that make gaining weight hard for you. Maybe you identified something that is not even on the list.

If you are not gaining weight, there is a reason. And the good news is, once you uncover the reason, you can work towards a solution!

Weight Gain Secrets

Often times the reason people are failing to gain weight is they don’t truly understand how to gain weight. We know it’s not simple, but gaining weight doesn’t have to be hard.

Below are our weight gain secrets. Small, but important factors that can have a big difference in helping you to gain more weight.

Weight Gain Secrets:

  • Eat more calories, not just more food.
  • Fat has more calories than other nutrients.
  • Know how to read a nutrition facts label.
  • Eat smaller volumes of food more often.
  • High calorie drinks are your secret weapon.
  • Gain weight slowly and exercise.
  • Get enough protein to protect your muscles.
  • Address underlying medical issues.
  • Plan ahead for continued success.


You can learn more about these secrets with our e-book, Weight Gain SECRETS.

This e-book features our 9 Secrets to Gaining Weight, High Calorie Planning Tools (High Calorie Foods List, High Calorie Shopping List, High Calorie Meal Planner), 7 High Calorie Drink Recipes, and select calorie counts.

Gaining Weight Made Easy

If you are looking for even more support to make it easy to gain weight, then we have a great resource for you! Our signature Gaining Weight Made Easy course.

Online courses are a new concept to a lot of people. But technology has allowed virtual education to come right to your email inbox.  Our course features educational videos (teaching you concepts for gaining weight) and tools/resources to help you implement what you learned.

We are always an advocate of working with a dietitian one-on-one to help you gain weight with success. But we also recognize that not everyone has access to a dietitian. Our signature course is meant to be a bridge providing you education and resources from a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist you can trust. 

Gaining Weight Made Easy Course


We hope this article helped to answer your question: Why am I Not Gaining Weight? Be sure to take some time to go through our list of common factors that can make weight gain difficult. Try to identify which potential issues are causing you issues.

Additionally, I hope you have been inspired to continue on with your weight gain journey. It’s not easy but you can do this.

Here are some resources to help you gain weight:

And of course, if you have access to a dietitian, work with a dietitian to help you with your weight gain goals. They will provide individualized advice and medical nutrition therapy to help you. You can ask your doctor for a referral to a dietitian or look for a dietitian online.

Best of luck!

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