Why You “Can’t Gain Weight” Answered & How to Fix It:

If you find that no matter how much you eat or do you still can’t gain weight, it can become a hindrance, specifically for those who are trying to gain weight. Although increasing your calorie intake is at the foundation for gaining weight, it is a process that should be approached in a healthy and balanced manner. There are many factors that can affect the rate at which you gain weight, but there are also a number of solutions.

Here is why you “can’t gain weight” and how to fix it:

why you can't gain weight and how to fix it
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Disclaimer: We are not medical professionals or experts. What is written throughout the content of our website is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as medical or professional advice. What you choose to do with the information provided is at your own risk and discretion. Before making any significant changes to your diet and / or lifestyle, be sure to contact your health practitioner.

1. You have an accelerated metabolic rate

The first reason why you probably “can’t gain weight” is because of your body’s metabolic rate – you have a fast metabolism. Your body’s metabolism is the process through which foods are broken down and converted into energy. This process can not only affect your weight, but additionally plays a part in maintaining the homeostasis (balance) of regular body functions – at motion and at rest. The rate of this process varies from individual to individual, based off genetics and other reasons. Some people naturally have a faster metabolism but can change as we age.

Those with a faster metabolism tend to burn off calories faster as well. This can make it harder to retain calories, and thus sometimes harder to gain weight. If you can’t seem to gain weight no matter how much you eat, a fast metabolism may be a reason why.

How to fix it:

  • Consume 300-500 more calories than your recommended daily consumption, leaning towards the higher number of extra calories if you have a fast metabolism
  • Aim for strength-based exercises as opposed to cardio
  • Check out our full article on how to gain weight when you have a fast metabolism

2. You’re burning off more calories than you consumecan't gain weight

Let’s say you are a 5″5, 130 pound, 21 year old female. An adequate calorie intake is approximately 1,750 calories a day, give or take. To gain weight you would need to consistently eat around over 2,100 calories a day. If you are consuming the 2,100 calories a day at the least and find that you still cannot gain weight, you may be burning off an excess of calories through exercise, causing you to essentially still maintain your current weight. To fix this, you would have to further increase your calorie intake so that you are still maintaining a surplus even with exercise. A weight gain supplement could help fill this void.

In mention of exercise, there are different types of exercises you can do that build muscle mass which in turn helps to increase your overall body weight. Strength-based exercises are highly beneficial when it comes to trying to expand body mass – squats, lunges, biceps/triceps curls, etc. Doing exercises like these will still keep you active and healthy, but will also contribute to increasing your overall body weight.

How to fix it:

  • Make sure you are maintaining a consistent surplus of calories in your diet
  • Again, focus on strength and muscle building exercises
  • Nutrient-dense and high-calorie foods like beans, potatoes, and nuts can help

3. You’re consuming a calorie count that maintains your current weight

There are an abundance of online calculators that can tell you what your recommended daily consumption for calories should be according to your height, age, gender, etc. If you are consuming a calorie count around the particular number that is recommended, a little less or more, you are going to remain at your current weight. To gain weight, you are going to have to maintain a caloric surplus – eating more calories than you burn off.

For example, if you have a recommended daily calorie consumption of 1,800, but on average consume 1,750 – 1,850 calories a day, you aren’t really going to see noticeable weight gain. So, while it may seem like you can’t gain weight, you may not be consuming a consistent surplus of calories and are instead consuming an amount that maintains your current weight.

How to fix it:

  • Try a weight gain supplement to meet a surplus of calories to gain
  • As mentioned earlier, 300 – 500 more calories than your daily recommendation will give you a good foundation for gaining weight
  • Consume foods that have a higher caloric content as opposed to just eating more

can't gain weight4. You’re not consuming enough nutrient-dense foods

Examples of nutrient-dense foods include beans, nuts and seeds, and dried fruits. These foods are packed with various essential vitamins and minerals. Some may even have a helpful caloric-density as well. For example, a cup of certain types of nuts can provide close to 500 calories. In addition, consuming primarily nutrient-dense foods as opposed to junk foods to gain weight will help to promote healthy weight gain.

How to fix it:

5. You can’t gain weight because you have a low-appetite

Having a low appetite isn’t always about being a picky eater. It can be related to a number of factors ranging from health to certain habits. Having a low appetite can actually cause you to lose weight and is more than likely a reason why you “can’t gain weight”. While curbing a low appetite is ultimately up to you, there are ways to surpass it. Weight gain supplements can be helpful. A lot of these supplements are rich in protein, calories, and other nutrients, which helps to set a healthy foundation for building mass.

How to fix it:

  • Consume nutrient-dense foods that are high in calories but will still leave enough room for other meals (quinoa, almonds, etc)
  • Add the extra toppings, condiments, and dressings when possible
  • Make sure it isn’t an underlying health condition

What are some of your favorite nutrient-dense foods to eat?


1Schuna, Carly. “What Does Fast Metabolism Mean?” Healthy Eating | SF Gate, 11 June 2018, healthyeating.sfgate.com/fast-metabolism-mean-12240.html.