Weight gain tips: for some, gaining weight can be as difficult as losing. Here's how.

There are hundreds of articles and products geared toward the segment of the population that wishes to lose excess weight. For those who are underweight, there is significantly less focus. Here are a few suggestions on how to eat in order to add pounds to total body weight.

Before embarking on any weight program either to lose or gain weight, a physician should be consulted. Often a person is believed to be underweight only to find that the weight is within average weight to height ratios. In some cases, a physician may prescribe medications designed to increase weight or may test for other conditions that could be causing the condition, such as hormonal problems. If a physician rules out any factors, these tips can help to add the calories needed to incease weight.

---Establish a regular meal pattern. Eat three regular meals a day and two or more snacks. Snack on high calorie yet nutritious foods. If lactose intolerance is not a problem, include dairy products such as ice cream and butter in the diet. However, do not add excessive fat or sugar to the diet. Milk shakes and fruit smoothies are excellent high-calorie snacks. However, these snacks should supplement a healthy diet and not replace nutritious foods. Also include whole-grain foods, beans, potatoes, lean meat, chicken and fish to regular meals.

---For menu planning, check caloric counts for foods and choose the ones with higher caloric values. When preparing meals, boost the caloric count by adding extras. For example, when making meatloaf, include powdered milk or wheat germ. Add cheese to sandwiches or an extra portion of fruit to cereals. Add meat to pasta sauces and use creamy gravies and sauces with meat dishes.

---Eat larger portions of healthy food but do not fill up on calories from fat or sugar. These are empty calories that offer no nutritional value and could have damaging effects if used to excess.

---There are several commercial diet supplement drinks which can be obtained over-the-counter. These come in a variey of flavors and are nutritionally sound. There are other diet supplement products available in pudding, snack bar and candy forms. These products offer a great deal in the way of convenience and are quite effective.

---To gain weight, more calories must be taken in than are used. This means that an overly vigorous exercise program might use up more calories than you wish. Try reducing exercise. Consider light weight training to increase muscle mass.

---Eliminate as much mental and emotional stress as possible. Relax more. All physical activity burns some calories so consider less demanding physical tasks until weight gain is stabilized.

---Instead of monitoring weight daily, make a practice of checking weight no more than once a week. Daily weight fluctuations can give a false impression that no progress is being made and then show a sudden increase.