The Best Weight Gain Tips for Skinny Girls

Note from Jaz: This post was originally written January 21, 2019 and has been updated for more detail and accuracy.

This is near and dear to my heart because I know what it’s like to want to gain weight and feel like you just can’t. No matter how much you eat or what you try that number on the scale either never changes or shockingly goes down. Like how could it be going down?! Well after 2 years of me not only putting on weight but figuring out how to keep it on, what better way for me to share the love than to give my best weight gain tips for all my skinny minis out there.

Just so you know I’m not just pulling this stuff out of my butt, I’ve been skinny all of my life. Kids used to pick on me and call me toothpick, pencil, stick. Any skinny long object really. I also got a lot of compliments too from people saying I should be a model because of my figure. So being skinned wasn’t all bad. I’m too short to be a model though. I’m just a naturally skinny girl with a fast metabolism. You can’t help your genetics but that doesn’t mean you can’t counteract them either. My weight stayed between 105 – 110lbs the majority of my life all the way up until I was 23 years old, which was the year I decided to get serious about my weight gain journey.

This picture here. . . This was me January 2017.

This was me a year later, after gaining 30 pounds.

Weight gain tips for skinny girls

And this next picture is me now.

Weight gain tips

*I will say that I did end up losing 10 pounds between the 2nd and 3rd pictures due to life changes but I ended up liking it better than the weight I was at before so it’s all good. I’ll get into that later*

So how exactly did I do it? If you want step by step instructions I got you! I’ve already written them down for you in my post all about How to Gain Weight Naturally. But if you want weight gain tips that I didn’t mention there then you should stick around.

Related posts on gaining weight:

How to Gain Weight Naturally (A Step-by-Step Guide)

5 Things No One Tells You About Gaining Weight

3 Secrets to Gain Healthy Weight Without the Gym

The Best Weight Gain Tips for Skinny Girls

(This post may contain affiliate links to products that I truly recommend, at no extra costs to you, if you decide you’re interested in anything mentioned. Feel free to check out the disclosure for more info.)

Tip #1: Stick to a routine.

I’m talking about your eating schedule and your workout schedule.

Have staple foods in your diet.

I know not everyone is okay with eating more or less the same things everyday but if you want to make things easier for you I recommend trying it. Maybe not have everything be the same but having some staple meals and snacks will help you a lot!

My top favorite meals and snacks to eat when I’m focused on gaining weight are protein oatmeal, spaghetti (really any pasta), and granola bars. And if I’m being 100% honest I eat oatmeal almost every single day. On the days I’m really craving something different I might go for eggs and a bagel or french toast.

In order to gain weight you have to eat a certain amount of calories a day. As for the amount of calories, the number varies from person to person. But once you figure out how many calories you should be eating a day, then you have to figure what foods and how much of those foods will help you reach that goal everyday. It’s a lot easier to calculate the calories of a small group of foods that you’d eat almost every day than a variety of foods.

If you eat too much of a variety of foods then you constantly have to calculate the calories to make sure you’re getting enough everyday. If that doesn’t make sense then hopefully this will.

When I was focused on gaining weight 9 times out of 10 I would stick to eating 3 different types of breakfast foods, 4 types of snacks, and 6 different types of lunch/dinner. That way I can rotate them and create different combinations out of those meals and snacks that would equal my goal calorie intake every day. That would’ve been a lot harder to do if I were always eating something different.

Have a proper workout schedule.

No matter what type of workouts you do, stick to a routine. If you do body building, create a workout split that you can follow every week. You don’t have to do the same exercises every time but at least know how many days you’re going to work out each week and what body part you’re going to work on that day. If you prefer to do full body workouts then decide how many days you’re going to train that week. If you like powerlifting or CrossFit, figure out what your schedule is going to be like each week. And make sure that you stay consistent!

At minimum I would do 3 workouts a week and plan really good full body workouts. And if I had 4 or 5 days available to work out? I’d get more creative and switch between doing upper and lower body workouts every other day. The schedule really doesn’t matter as much as consistency.

Work smarter not harder

Tip #2: Don’t underestimate the power of a shake.

There are women I know that are really into fitness that swear by Ensure shakes to help them gain weight. I’ll be honest, I’ve personally never tried them. But I have made my own high calorie shakes with protein powders like Syntha6, and I’ve purchased pre-made protein shakes like Premier protein . Any of the shakes that I mentioned will work as long as you have them in combination with a proper diet.

If you didn’t know, it’s much easier to drink calories than to eat them.

For example, let’s say the reason you have trouble gaining weight is because you have a hard time eating. Whether that’s because you forget to eat or you don’t have time or you’re just not hungry. And let’s say you have a daily calorie intake goal of 3000 calories. What you could do is, make a very high calorie shake of around 900 calories in the morning and drink that. You’ll already be 1/3 of the way to your goal before your day has really started!

Or if you work out while trying to gain weight, and I highly suggest that you do, you can have a mass gainer protein shake right after your workout. Their servings are usually around 1000 calories.

Tip #3: Healthy oils can make a difference too.

Have you ever paid attention to your cooking oils? Did you know that olive oil has over 100 calories in just one tablespoon? Same goes for coconut oil. If you want to talk about weight gain tips it can’t get any easier than this. Don’t limit these oils to just cooking your meals. If you like to make shakes or smoothies I recommend adding a spoonful to your drink to get the added calorie benefit! And don’t worry too much about it affecting the taste. It’s not very noticeable.

Tip #4: Carb it up!

Carbs are not bad. I REPEAT: Carbs are not bad. I know this is about gaining weight but even if you were trying to lose weight carbs as a whole aren’t bad. You just have to understand them better to know what carbs you should be eating regularly and what carbs you should be limiting.

There are simple carbs and there are complex carbs.

Simple carbs. . .

Simple carbs are the ones that can be broken down quickly for your body to use as energy but most of the time they don’t provide much nutrients. Typically speaking these are the carbs that you should be limiting. The reason I say typically is because simple carbs are found in cakes, cookies, candies, and other sugary treats. BUT they’re also naturally found in fruits, vegetables and dairy products. So if you’re going to have simple carbs the better choice would be to get them from healthy foods that have other vitamins and minerals to go with it.

And, sure, you can enjoy desserts every once in a while but they definitely shouldn’t be your main source of simple carbs.

Complex carbs. . .

Complex carbs are considered the “good” carbs because they tend to have more vitamins, minerals, and fiber than simple carbs. Your body slowly breaks complex carbs down which means you’ll have a lower amount of sugar released more steadily. That steady release gives you energy throughout the day., unlike the crash you may get from having too many simple carbs.

Some examples of complex carbs are:

  • Quinoa
  • Whole wheat breads and pastas
  • Brown rice
  • Potatoes
  • Beans

*The rule for finding good carbs is the higher in sugar it is and the lower it is in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, the worse it is for you.*


Tip # 5: Always have snacks on you.

You can keep them in your purse or your book bag. At your desk. Or all 3. But try to always have snacks available. And I mean healthy snacks for the most part. Because what if you miss a meal for whatever reason. You don’t want to be set back too far in reaching your calorie intake for the day. The snacks won’t be a meal replacement but it’ll at least help out until you can get the chance to eat a real meal. If you need specific snacks I’m talking granola bars, fruits and veggies. I’ve been loving Belvita Protein Biscuits lately with some berries as a quick snack. 

Related posts on gaining weight:

How to Gain Weight Naturally (A Step-by-Step Guide)

5 Things No One Tells You About Gaining Weight

3 Secrets to Gain Healthy Weight Without the Gym

Tip #6: Do little to no cardio.

I know this is going to be hard for some people to get their heads around but cardio is not going to help you if your end goal is to gain weight and/or build muscle. Cardio burns calories. So for you to be doing cardio would be counter productive to your end goal. The only way that I could ever recommend doing cardio to someone focused on weight gain is if it’s done in 20 minutes or less and you go up on your calorie intake to make up for the extra calories that you burned that day doing cardio. So if I burned 100 calories on the stair master I’d eat an extra 100 calories that day.

Tip #7: The ultimate tip. Make sure you’re doing it for you.

Social media can have a big influence on the decisions we make for ourselves. A lot of the times you can think you’re buying something or doing something just because you want to, when really it’s because you saw 10 other females buying or doing the same thing on Instagram. I’m guilty of it too. I had already reached my weight gain goal after a few months but I kept going just because I wanted to look like certain women I saw on Instagram. I was constantly comparing myself and my journey to theirs. If you want to know how I dealt with my body dysmorhpia in depth you can find out here.

So I kept going and got to a weight that I was actually uncomfortable with, thinking that that’s what I wanted. Due to unrelated circumstance I ended up losing some of the extra pounds I put on and liking the way I looked a lot better than before. I’m saying this to say, make sure your choices are actually your choices. And that you’re trying to gain weight because you really want to. Would you still want to gain weight if being thick wasn’t the “in” thing right now?

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  1. Thank you for this post. I’m 90ish lbs and I can’t seem to gain anything and no one ever posts anything about how to gain weight.

    1. You’re welcome! I couldn’t find anyone talking about it when I was trying to gain weight either so I wanted to be that person 🙂

      1. Ive always struggled with weight gain and when I finally gained a little bit i got pregnant, had my baby and lost alllllll the weight, im struggling again and i’m so happy i came by this post to help me figure out where to start again.

        1. I am in the exact SAME position! My son is 4 months and i finally got back into the gym and am working on going weight in currently 110!

        1. It’s so hard to find people that understand this problem! Everyone thinks we love our “skinny bodies” but in reality we want fill our jeans too!! I’m 21 and I have had two kids. I was 130 pounds when I was 9 months pregnant now I’m back to 90 pounds 🙁 I‘ve always been underweight but this is the start my journey to get the body I want. 💪🏼

          1. I’m actually working on a meal plan now! It won’t be mini either 😄 I’ll definitely make it known when it’s finished!

          2. I’m 22 one kid and same exact problem. My surgery is 10/21 hopefully I can gain weight then.

          3. That’s exactly my problem. I have 3 kids now. I’m 25. I weigh 100lbs. :/ I lose ALL weight after I have the baby. One time I dropped to 85lbs. It’s not just how I look that I’m worried about. It’s scary to get that underweight

      2. Thank you for this.. it made me love my body no matter what i look like.. I appriciate this so much, you are so kind and caring. I love your selflove too💙

      3. I completely agree! Ugh I wish I would’ve come across you earlier summer 2020 when I was first trying to learn more about gaining weight. All this information would have been super helpful, instead I ended up having to do the research on my own learning how to gain weight. On the bright side it seems that I was doing all the right things because we both did very similar things and had the same mindset!

    2. I’m 19 and I’m 80 pounds. Growing up i ate a lot but was always skinny untill i got into my teen years i started lacking on eating especially because of stress and now i still have a lot of stress and has been hard for me to keep up on eating while stress. I love this article because it’s motivating me and relates to me so much more than the other things i read. It’s really difficult.

    3. Then I don’t know what you gals would say if I told you the highest in weight I ever got to was 65lbs!!! That was when I was pregnant. My normal hovers around 55…worse still 51. I do all I can but the pounds never last. So all I can do is look longingly at jeans in season that I can’t wear!!!! 🙁

    4. I’m an 95 lb 5 ft 5 in. underweight lady who has struggled to gain…just wanted to add that if you’re taking all the right steps to gain weight and don’t make much progress, you may want to check with a doctor to find out if you might have a metabolic issue…one possibility would be hyperthyroid. I had my thyroid tumor removed but it’s been a struggle all my life to gain weight…. You can learn more at . Just thought this might be helpful info for someone like me.

    5. I found my gals iam almost 40 and I had four kids. I was hoping to gain weight that way. But it didn’t happen go from 90 to 100 pounds but never stay that way. Iam 5’5 and small and thin I heard all the skinny jokes. I work out three times a week and then go to work at my job. Every body looks at me you can’t handle that your too small. And I show them. Then Wow how do that! I love that feeling I just eat right for body type. It’s hard work but try my best than you the tips.

  2. I’ve been thin also all my life, just about 5-6 years ago I started gaining weight but that’s because I was drinking ensure, now I’m told in order to lose my muffin top I probably would need to lose about 5 pounds which is a big deal to me because I’ve always been thin and I don’t want to lose the weight I have. What would you do in order to maintain my current weight but slim down my waist line?

    1. My recommendation is to work out with weights. Lifting weights using the right exercises will help you maintain or even gain weight while losing inches off your waist. Keep in mind that the number on the scale is less important than how you look and feel.

      1. Thank you Jazmin for this post. I’m a very tiny person. Having gotten convinced that I’m doing this for me, I started my weight gain journey 2 months ago. I work out 5 days a week and eat at least 5 meals a day. No difference in my body measurements tbh, but I totally feel good and my skin is better. It’s great to read about your journey. I hope to share my testimony soon too ❤️

  3. Sadly I lost 30 lbs due to medical reasons. I’m desperately trying to gain my weight back but find it challenging. I want to gain muscle as I put on weight not just fat. What workouts did you do? How much weight were you gaining monthly? I’ve gain 2 lbs so far which has been disappointing.

    1. What you’ll want to do is ease your way into working out, so that you don’t burn out. I suggest start with 3 days a week. One upper body day and two lower body days. In the beginning do a lot of compound movements that use multiple muscles ex. Squats, deadlifts, lunges, hip thrusts, overhead press, pull ups etc. When you feel comfortable with those you can incorporate exercises that focus on specific muscles. When I started I was tracking my food intake consistently and eating a lot of the same meals so I could easily put on weight. The weight I gained varied month to month and it’ll be different for you. I gained a lot the first two months and then it slowed down a lot after that. Don’t get discouraged. It’s all a process that depends on how your body responds to the changes you’re making.

      1. oh wow! thank you so muchhh!… in school i used to always get called names like stick or toothpick. so hopefully this will help me out with gaining weight. i wanna do it for me but i also wanna do it to prove the kids wrong lol! but more for me i wanna make a change for me.

  4. I can’t even tell you how happy I am that I stumbled across your blog! Your before pictures in every post is literally me, it’s so hard for me to put on weight! I did manage to put on a stone last year as I was consistently going to the gym and tracking my calories through MyFitnessPal but unfortunately I became lazy and lost motivation so lost all my gains! Now I’m finding it hard to find that motivation again but your blog is helping! I’ve signed up to your 14 day workout routine but do you have any workouts of your workouts that I can have or follow cos you are literally goals for me!

    1. I’m glad you really like it! The hardest part is getting back into it when you’ve stopped but I’m sure you got this. I have some 20 minute workouts on my blog, I post workout videos on my instagram story and I’ll be starting online training soon.

  5. So happy I came across this! Coincidentally I’m 23 years old at the moment and really want to get serious about my weight gain process. My only problem is being consistent but so far I’ve been working out and eating better for two weeks straight now. I cut out junk food and have only been snacking on nuts, fruit, dried fruit, things of that nature as well as making time to eat breakfast every morning. I’ve also been having a balanced lunch and dinner which includes a protein, vegetable, and starch. I’ve always weighed about 115-120 lbs but I want to reach at least 145 lbs. A shake that I recently tried from Smoothie King called “The Hulk” is really good with a 700 calorie intake.
    Although, from reading your post, I think it would be a good idea and helpful if I began to count my calories and base my diet off of that.
    Is there a good calorie counter app you would recommend?

    Thank you for this post!

    1. That’s really awesome! Stick to it! 3 meals and snacks throughout the day are best. MyFitnessPal is a really good app to track calories, you just have to figure out how many calories you need to intake to gain weight and work your way up to that.

      I’m glad you liked the post! You got this!

  6. I’m a 92lbs and I’ve been working out at the gym and the number just won’t change. Can you post meal plans? How many times a day am I supposed to eat? This has been really helpful!

    1. So, I won’t be posting meal plans anytime soon but I will say if the number isn’t changing then you should eat more. At least 3 meals and 3 snacks. And if you’re all ready doing that then you should check how many calories you’re eating on a daily basis, what foods you’re eating, how much protein, carbs, and fats you’re consuming, in order to see why you’re not gaining.

  7. This is was nice to read and I’m definitely going to try what you did. I am 26 years old and currently weigh 120lbs and am 5’7 so it is really not bad at all I had a baby 2 years ago and after I had her I had a steady weight of 150 which was perfect for me. I loved the way I looked, I was confident. But about 1 year ago I had tonsil surgery and lost about 30 lbs in a week and since that I have tried so much to gain that weight back and have had no luck at all. So at this point I am desperate for any help. I don’t go to the gym and work out because I have a toddler, what kind of workouts could I do at home to help?

    1. There are a lot of at home workouts online and I have a few on my blog as well, but I feel like you would really benefit from having a trainer, someone who knows what to look for and how to make adjustments for you to get the results that you want.

  8. Hi i am 27 years old and am currently 85lbs i have always been thin and am desperate to gain weight as its getting me down i have a physical job so find eating heavy meals hard . Any tips would be grateful .

  9. Hi! I find your blog interesting for a thin woman like me. It is helpful in a way. May I know what meals do you have for your gain weight? Would it be possible to post it on your blog as well? Thank you!

    1. I don’t really post my meals because I don’t have a set routine. I don’t meal prep. I might post some of my favorite meals though.

  10. I’ve always been small, I had my son and started at 97 lbs and only got up to 113 at 40 weeks pregnant and was back down to 113 two weeks post partum ☹️ then went into a depression about 6 months later and lost ALOT I’m 90lbs now and can’t gain and I also work in a facility where I’m constantly walking and climbing stairs so I’m nervous I won’t gain .

    1. Don’t be nervous! You’re already small so there’s no where to go but up! Just keep working on increasing how much your eating and start building some muscle.

  11. Hello jaz, I’m trying hard to gain weight but I don’t want to add fat in my middle section so I would like to know what point in my weight gain journey I should introduce workouts.

  12. Omg, thank you so much. I totally forgot about shakes. I’m a stress non-eater and I workout all the time, so I can never really gain the weight/muscle I want, where I want it. But shakes will help!

  13. Also, is there a brand of store-bought shake you recommend? And just one a day, or 2 depending on the calories? Thanks, Sarah

  14. I am 13 years old and struggling deeply with my wait. I am tired of being soo skinny and being labeled as weak when all I want to be is strong. However, I have tried very hard to gain muscle and am constantly reminded that I have made no difference.

    1. Have you been eating more? Do you exercise? Do you have any dumbbells you can use to work out at home? If not you should start doing more of these things.

  15. Thank you for sharing. I’m in my late 30’s and desperate to gain weight. I’m 87 pounds and really need your help.

  16. I’m 19 about to be 20 and for the past few months I drastically lost weight bec I just dont feel hunger. I went from 136 to 94lbs in about 3 months. I would really appreciate if you could make a meal plan or what protein shakes are good. Thank you so much❤❤❤

  17. Your blog is exactly the kind of advice I’ve been searching for!! Thank you!!! So ready to get into a new workout routine and weight gaining diet.

  18. I ran across to your site and I love it !! I read a little everyday. You break everything down for everyone to understand. Now I’m revamping my routine and looking at things differently. Cute site , keep up the good work girl.

  19. Thank you so much for sharing your story, I’m 21 and I’ve been struggling between 90-95lbs for the past couple of years. My appearance has really affected my self confidence. I feel so motivated now. Can you kindly recommend stay at home workouts that don’t include gym machines?

  20. Thank you so much for posting this!! I have really been looking for some advice on this, but people always think I’m crazy for saying something. This was so helpful and you look great!

    1. Hey! I’ve tried iso100, pescience, and syntha6. As of right now Syntha6 is my favorite brand. But definitely try to figure out what you like and what works best for you.

  21. I’m actually an high school Student and my friends are always calling me petite, skinny and all that Buh I’m kinda use to people calling me those names Deep inside I know I’m healthy but I still wanna gain that weight the thing I struggle a lot trying to get weight
    My mom always advise me to eat a lot Buh it’s doesn’t work so I have a question do I have to carry weights to build muscle?
    Thank you

    1. If you want your muscles to grow in size then yes you need some type of resistance or weight, and you’ll need to slowly add more as it starts to get easy. Body weight workouts are good but they will only get you so far.

  22. Thanks jasmine for this wonderful piece, I find it really helpful because I’ve been trying hard to gain weight but nothing is working, I’m a Nigerian

  23. I’ve struggled with trying to gain weight my entire life and have read so many things concerning it. But I have to say this is by far the best article I’ve ever read. Thank you for sharing 😁😁
    You are stunning.

  24. Am Susan and am 20 in my whole life I have been trying to gain weight, coming across this article has brought me joy cuz I knw with the help of you things might change for me.

  25. oh wow! thank you so muchhh!… in school i used to always get called names like stick or toothpick. so hopefully this will help me out with gaining weight. i wanna do it for me but i also wanna do it to prove the kids wrong lol! but more for me i wanna make a change for me.

  26. The struggle is real!! I’m 30 and still shop in the kiddie department. Weighin at 100pounds, 5.8 with 2 kids. I just want to fill the jeans and feel like a woman

  27. Wow thank you for posting this and being so positive about wanting to gain weight! I have always been naturally very thin but after a stressful period in my life I lost more weight than I am comfortable with and I have struggled to put it back. I have been making this mean something is wrong with me. But after reading your post and some of these comments I am realizing some of us are just naturally super thin with fast metabolisms and that doesn’t mean there is anything wrong! Thank you again for posting!

  28. This post is where it all started for me, about a year and a half ago. I didn’t know how to gain weight and grow my glutes and was literally stuck on the same weight. I blamed my fast metabolism 😂. In a world where most people are trying to lose weight it’s difficult to find information that helps you to gain the right kind of weight. But one day I just stumbled on this post and was like 🤯. Fast forward to now, after incorporating the above tips (and a bit more information she shared in other posts) I actually started seeing changes and gaining weight! I went from being a constant 55kg to 72kg (all muscle mass too). Can’t believe that I actually have glutes now and a body I love so much! My confidence has grown significantly, both in and out of the gym. Once you know what you need to do it gets easier from then on. Thank you so much Jazmin, your content is invaluable!

  29. I am so glad I found this! I’m 56, 4’10” and 66 pounds. I’m putting a routine together, that I know I will follow, and I’m going to incorporate a lot of the information I learned from your blog in it.