“I’ll make you gain weight”

“I’ll make you gain weight. 2-4 kilos the first month, 4-6 the second month and 6-8 the third month. Believe me, it will work.”

It wasn’t that I didn’t want to believe it. But rather that I’ve heard this all too often and it had never worked so far. When I came down with a debilitating illness, I lost a lot of weight. And I was skinny to begin with. I hear many people talking about how they want to lose pounds, but hardly ever that anyone is trying to gain weight. I never thought that being skinny is beautiful and always wanted to gain weight and look “normal”, weight-wise.

When this private trainer working at my gym told me about his plan, I was sceptical. It had never worked before. All these years, I’ve tried everything starting from eating a lot to seeing TCM practitioners. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to do sports, but rather that for some time I wasn’t able to do more than a little Qigong (and at one point of time being down with this illness, I wasn’t even able to do that – even walking slowly would cause a lot of pain and make my heart race).

The TCM practitioners as well as some of the Western doctors I saw during that time would all tell me that this illness is nothing to worry about and I’ll be fine within a few weeks. It didn’t just take a few months. It took two years of treatments. The antibiotics I got in the beginning made my symptoms worse, worse so much that I swore off antibiotics for good. After trying TCM and what not, I slowly got healthier again after eventually finding a naturopath who knew what she was dealing with.

When I was kind of healthy again, I decided that I should start exercising. For 300 CNY a lesson, a private trainer wasn’t cheap. But I was on a mission to stay healthy and not let my weak immune system take over. Taking medicine could only get me so far, the rest would depend upon myself.

It didn’t take long to see results. I couldn’t believe it myself. After only a month of exercising, I had gained 3 kilos. I was finally back to the weight I had 7 years ago. There’s one person I have to thank for: My husband. He’s the one who encouraged me to do sports, to start exercising. I might not have considered going to the gym and paying for a personal trainer if it wasn’t for him.

Have you ever been ill? What did you do to get healthier again?

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12 thoughts on ““I’ll make you gain weight”

      • It’s part diet but mostly genetic (there are 3 body types, look up endomorphs and the others – most Chinese are ectomorphs, which means they burn calories almost too efficiently – thus making it hard to gain weight). That is why in general, Chinese people are thinner and less muscular than others.

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  1. It’s surprising that the best way you’ve found to put on weight is by exercising. I usually think of that as a way to lose weight. You must have a good trainer. I’m glad you’re doing better. Are you gaining muscle?

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  2. Its always interesting to how many people don’t realize that working out can be applied also for gaining weight.
    Gaining few kilos through work out can never be bad as you build up the muscles you need anyways for example core muscles which also prevents later injuries and pains.

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  3. Sehr interessanter Artikel! Darf ich fragen, was genau du für ein Training machst? Mein Mann hat in etwa das selbe Problem (abgesehen davon, dass er nicht krank ist/war), er kann einfach nicht zunehmen und vor allem wenn er dann mal wirklich ein paar Tage krank ist, schaut er halt sehr schlecht aus.
    Egal ob mit Sport oder Diäten (also Diäten zum Zu- und nicht zum Abnehmen – Vorschläge von Ernährungswissenschaftler), nimmt er mal 1-2 kg zu und dann sofort wieder ab.
    Und natürlich hoffe ich, dass es dir gesundheitlich auch bald wieder ganz gut geht!

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    • Hi Sandra! Since this might be of interest to more people than just your husband, I thought I’ll answer in English. I used to do a warm up of fast walking for about 15-20 min (not running), then some groups of exercises my trainer told me to do, also for about 20 min (things like sit ups and co, but specially adjusted to my situation – this was supposed to be difficult, but within of what was possible for me). In the end I would do some stretching. I would work out around 50 min 3 times a week. Half an hour after finishing your work out you should eat a meal. I usually went home for dinner afterwards and made fresh juice myself. After starting to exercise, I would be hungry more often and as my trainer said, your body is also able to absorb nutrients better. Some of the exercises were quite challenging, but it’s important not to overdo it (eg. if your heart starts racing, relax; sweating is okay, just listen to your body). Maybe you can find some videos online? Also, I did take things slow and started to increase the difficulty of each exercise a little bit every time I was working out.

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  4. Yes, you can gain weight through exercise. After all, muscle weighs more than fat. I went through a boxing phase where I was 140 pounds but I looked thinner than say, 115 pounds. Also, much healthier because I have a problem with very low blood pressure due to a side effect of fetal alcohol syndrome. When I go with bmi, my blood pressure gets dangerously low where I felt like my heart was going to completely stop.

    My husband has a former co-worker who is really, really thin and she already has a fatty liver. It’s like when they did a study on Taiwanese women where many are thin but their blood is really, really fat. It’s all about a healthy lifestyle.

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  5. Your symptoms sounds like your body’s reaction towards certain aspects of pollution or perhaps food in China. That could be the reason why your symptoms got worse after you get on antibiotics. I think the intentions could be to suppress your immune system response/and or wiping your system clean of bacteria until your body adapts to the environment. It could be that you have a fairly strong immune system, and it was very aggressive in dealing with the environmental influences. Therefore, when you add the antibiotics, your situation got worse. As long as it wasn’t a allergic reaction, I think that fits your descriptions.

    From the sounds of it, the doctors were on auto-pilot. A lot of Chinese doctors prescribe antibiotics as soon as they see certain symptoms. A problem that is not easily fixed.

    Your inability to gain weight might also have something to do with antibiotics. Since it destroyed most of the flora and fauna in your digestive system, it will severely affect your nutrient absorption. Your system will gradually repair itself, but the rate of replenishment is different for everyone. Fermented foods will help a lot.

    Personally, I usually lose weight when I go back to China and I’ll gain it back after a while. When I am home in Canada, I usually gain weight at first and then slowly lose the weight after some time.

    Take care of your health in China, cheers!

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