We had the chance to interview Karima, founder of Get Fat with me platform. A space for women who struggle with being underweight. Check out below what she had to say. 

Karima, you run a pretty amazing platform for most of our readers. Tell us about what you do. I run a platform where I focus on women that are underweight. I help them gain weight in a healthy way. We do this through personalised eating and training schedules, coaching and mentally through courses. 

How did you start with this? 
A few years ago I was also struggling with being underweight so I went on a search of how I could solve this. I very quickly came to the conclusion that there was very little information on this subject. Next to that I never heard many people talking about this which gave me the feeling that I was the only one dealing with it. Luckily I could help myself out and managed to gain 10 kilos in 2 months. 

After my own experience I read once on Faceboook that someone was trying gain weight, which is when I offered my help. This resulted into a great succes! It was clear that there were many people that were in need of help with this issue. I helped out 100 women voluntarily via Whatsapp over the course of 3 years. When this became too much I started a community on Facebook with more than 10.000 women, with the idea to help others more efficiently. It became a place that I was missing during my journey. A place where women could share their advice, progress, questions and hurdles.

I could understand people's incomprehension for being underweight, in a world where millions are being made on diets and losing weight. Could you explain the gravity of being underweight to people who have never heard of it before?

You are considered underweight if your BMI is under 18,5. You are than lighter than what you should be. There could be different reasons for this. For example little to no appetite, stress, mental issues for example depression, medicine side effects, health issues for example intestines issues etc. There are people who can eat what they want and still will have difficulties gaining weight. What's annoying about this is that being underweight, just like being overweight, has an influence on your health.

What do you think should change in the way that information is being shared on the topic of being underweight? 
Before we start sharing information, there needs be awareness for this health issue. Then professionals, researchers and people in our society will start noticing the urgency for change. This information needs to already be given to us form a young age. As kids we are often being checked at the doctors if we're not overweight but what about being underweight? It would be sensible if parents started getting more information about being underweight and what they could do to prevent this. This also counts for the information being given to kids at school. Every now and then it's being advised to "Keep moving", because it's being assumed that we will all otherwise become overweight, which is not the case. It would also be useful if there were to be more research on being underweight. This could be done by scientists or universities. This accumulated research would make sure that more knowledge, numbers and information is being shared. This would be great for students who are interested in helping out people with this issue later on. At the moment that is still not happening well enough, making it difficult for people who need this help. 

What is your ultimate goal for Get Fat With Me?
I don't have an ultimate goal. I'm continuously busy thinking about the next step and I think that will always be the case. My dream is to go international with my platform, making as much impact as I can. I've understood that being underweight is not only an eating issue but also a mental issue where mindset and self love play a big part.


What do you teach to your community members? 
That physical growth and mental growth are not to be separated. Mindset plays a big roll in all aspects of our lives and also the gaining weight process.  Discipline, challenge and setbacks are all part of this process. Making you challenge the way you think. During the conversations that I have with different women, I realise that sometimes it's not about their diet or training pattern but about their mindset. 

A lot of women tell themselves that they are good enough once they've gained weight and believe that their insecurities will disappear once they do so. Which a lot of times causes for these women to go through their journey obsessively with a lot of hate and insecurity. But what if you're there later on thinking the same about yourself? Or in first place, when your plan doesn't succeed at all? Are you going to bring yourself down your whole life? Gaining weight is a bumpy road of falling down and getting back up and how beautiful is it if you can go through this process with love and kindness. How beautiful is it if you already find yourself beautiful the way you are? Nobody gets to choose how they look and we are only making it more difficult for ourselves.

It can also come from love and that's what I want to teach women with the new section of my platform: gfwmacademy. This is the growing community of Get Fat with me, where I teach women about mental growth. Physical and mental growth go hand in hand, and that's the formula I believe in!. 

What can outsiders do to help out people struggling with being underweight?
No matter how nice you're trying to be: stop advising people to eat more and suggesting that they could use some more weight. 
It's a commentary that most of the time comes out of love and concern, but for somebody that is already eating 6 times per day or someone who is already doing their best, it's a hurtful comment. This person already knows that more food would help them out but in actuality it's more difficult than that. With a comment like that you're constantly being faced with your issue of being underweight. Therefore it would be more helpful to know more about the matter and what you could actually help with. The way of helping differs per person of course, but it's nice to feel understood. 

Do you have a message for our readers? 
Be kind to one another and also help others when needed. I believe we could make a beautiful world this way.