Fitness blogger Tatiana, of Instagram account haitianqveeen, recently shared a transformation post —unlike most others that populate similar feeds. In it, she wrote about how she gained 35 pounds in just three and a half months to improve her physical and mental states.
“Same outfit. Different body. 3.5 months. Couldn’t be anymore proud of myself,” the Atlanta-based 17-year-old wrote in the caption of her post — a split screen of herself in the same outfit at different weights. It’s become wildly popular, already receiving more than 31,000 likes.
Tatiana then explained her physical and emotional state at each weight. “On the left I was depressed, BARELY EATING, and extremely insecure,” she wrote. “I was losing a lot of weight and made the choice to go on a weight gain journey. I was 5’9 And 120 lbs. I was considered underweight for my height. And it wasn’t easy. I have an extremely fast metabolism which makes it hard for me to put on weight easily.”
In a blog post on her website, she more fully detailed why and how she went about gaining the weight in what she felt was a healthy way.
“The year of 2016 was one of the roughest years for me. I was going through so many things at once — getting over a breakup, moving to a new school, family issues,” she wrote. “I was severely depressed for at least 7 months which resulted in me losing about 20 pounds. I was too upset to eat or do anything, so I would isolate myself in my room everyday for hours and go days without eating anything.”
She says that her peers and close family members started to notice the dramatic changes to her body. “My physical and mental state had gotten so bad that everyone around me was starting to notice, including my parents,” she tells Yahoo Beauty.
But it took getting on the scale to push the teen to finally make a change.
“Everyone was telling me that I looked sick, but what officially inspired me was when I was in P.E and hopped on the scale to see that I dropped from being 130 to being 118,” she wrote in her blog post. “I was considered underweight for my height, 5’9″. That’s when I decided to get my life together and gain back the weight that I lost.”
To gain the weight, Tatiana looked at numerous YouTube videos and to other resources to educate herself about the subject.
“I developed a pretty good understanding of what I needed to do in order to gain weight as fast as possible,” she wrote. “This applies to anyone who is trying to gain weight. You may be one of those girls that say ‘I eat so much but I cant seem to gain weight.’ I was one of those girls too. Here’s the deal. It’s not about the quantity of what you eat. It’s about how many meals you eat a day and the total amount of calories you consume in one day, and snacking on a hot pocket or bag of hot Cheetos every hour doesn’t count.”
Tracking calories and monitoring her daily meals were instrumental in her weight gain, she shared, writing, “If you were to track your calories you’d most likely be shocked at the amount you eat per day. When I started tracking my calories, I realized that I really only eat about 2,000 calories per day. In order to gain weight you have to consume more calories than you burn a day.”
Tatiana wound up eating six 500-calorie meals daily at scheduled times. Some of her top foods were white and wheat bread, bagels, pasta, oatmeal, potatoes, Chinese food, and peanut butter. She also noted that she used an appetite stimulant, Apetamin — after doing research about the syrup, with an active ingredient of cyproheptamine, a histamine blocker — because she was not used to eating so much and wanted something to increase her appetite.
“I recently had discovered a weight-gaining syrup called Apetamin,” she wrote. “It’s not the syrup itself that makes you gain weight — all the syrup does is give you an appetite. It makes you super hungry, and its 100% legit. Doctors use it as a way to help anorexic girls gain weight. After doing my own little research on the product and watching dozens of positive testimonies about it, I HAD to get it. Ordered one bottle of it and started off taking 5ml three times a day.”
“I think with healthy living it’s a marathon not a sprint, so implementing Chinese food and French fries in your diet to gain weight is a no-no,” he tells Yahoo Beauty. “I do agree with the calorie intake, but I disagree with taking Apetamin. That’s basically a product used for anorexia, and it helps gain an appetite. It also can cause drowsiness and a fast heart rate, which can be dangerous. I wouldn’t use that product without getting a full physical from a doctor to make sure it’s safe to use.”
Registered dietitian and nutritionist Kate Burt, who specializes in sports nutrition and weight management and is based in Connecticut, says the dose of Apetamin Tatiana incorporated into her diet was healthy and safe.
“The dose seems like a safe dose, though I’m not a physician. The main ingredient is an antihistamine, and higher doses are prescribed for allergic reactions,” she tells Yahoo Beauty. “It’s an effective way to gain weight and it’s probably not harmful, but determining if it’s healthy is really a matter of opinion. I think there are likely other ways that this woman could have increased her caloric intake without the use of a supplement.”
Burt, like Brown, says it would have been wise for Tatiana to check with a physician before using Apetamin, adding that it’s really not a good idea to take it without prior consultation.
Methods Tatiana could have used before trying a supplement, Burt shares, include getting creative about how to pack calories into her meals — such as drinking shakes between meals. “There are other ways she could get more calories, too. I think it’s great that she was focused on an exercise regimen. Focusing mainly on increasing lean [muscle] mass is definitely a healthy approach to gaining weight,” she adds. “However, she put on a a lot of weight quickly. In general, a healthier gain would be about one pound per week.”
Burt says that people looking to gain quickly should really take a second to consider the ramifications.
In addition to striving for one pound per week, she says, people aiming to gain “should certainly be exercising at least 150 minutes per week while gaining. It’s always a good idea to make sure that weight gain doesn’t have any negative effect on health, like increased blood lipids (HDL, LDL, cholesterol, or triglycerides) or on blood sugar.”
Tatiana shares that she didn’t consult a nutritionist because her mother, who works in the medical field, was able to offer her advice.
And regarding anyone who feels she shouldn’t have gained the weight at all, Tatiana has this message: “I could care less if you think I shouldn’t have gained weight because guess what? It’s my body and the only thing that matters now is that I’m happy, ” she wrote her viral post. “I was definitely working out on a consistent basis so a lot of the weight I gained was muscle. To say that I’m ‘fat’ now is a WHOLE insult to people who are actually fat. Don’t try it.”
She adds that she is grateful for the chance to inspire others through her fitness transformation.
“It feels amazing to know that my transformation picture has that effect on people,” she says. “Inspiring others to pursue their goals and chase after their dream body has always been a passion of mine. I like to give people hope, because I know how it feels to have none.”
Surprisingly, this isn’t the first time Tatiana has had a post go viral. “Around last year, I posted a glo-up picture of me that showed how I looked 3 years ago compared to now,” she shares. “It must have been a shocking transformation to other people because everyone started reposting it and eventually it went viral.”
Tatiana received mixed feedback on her maturation. “Many people didn’t believe that it was the same person,” she says. “Many swore up and down that I received some type of cosmetic surgery, and many assumed I bleached my skin. None of those assumptions are true.”
However she has learned that with widespread exposure comes opinions from all sides.
“I wasn’t expecting the large amount of positive attention I received towards my transformation picture, but I’m definitely enjoying it,” she says. “Of course there’s those people who claim the weight looks bad on me and that I should’ve stayed the way I was. I’ve learned that with fame comes criticism, and the only thing that matters to me is that I’m happy now.”
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