loving yourself even when you've gained weight

The weather has been spiking to the 90’s here in Chicago, so I had to break out the summer clothes this month and discovered that all my shorts and pants from last year are a little tight!

Oh, goodness. I think we’ve all had this moment, yeah?

At first I thought it was just a bit of PMS bloating, but nope. The extra squish is here to stay!

“But Anna, you eat super healthy and workout every single day -- how did you gain weight?”

How I gained weight

Here's the truth.

Last summer I was a pretty darn skinny size 4.

I had just pushed myself to finish the 21 Day Fix Extreme, and went the entire month of July without sugar or alcohol. I wanted to push myself to my limits, and I did!

It was the FIRST TIME I had ever done a fitness program because I want to take care of my body from the inside out, instead of trying to be skinny or get "results." And I ended up loving the process and yeah of course a rockin bod is going to be the natural side effect if you're intentionally committing to a full Beachbody program.

But it's not easy to maintain that level of intense focus all year long!

Life happens.

Over the past year I’ve gone off the birth control pill and healed my hormones (hellooooo healthy fats!), turned 30, completed my life coaching certification, blasted stratospheric levels out of my comfort zone, learned how to slow down, and yeah I’ve put on a few pounds!

I don’t own a scale anymore (...and live in leggings 80% of the year…) so I didn’t realize this was happening and I’m not sure I’ve even gained an entire size, but the fact is that I’m not as small as I was last summer.

My first thought: I need to dial in my nutrition, push my workouts harder, and focus on losing a few pounds so I can get my “summer body” back!

My second thought: ...why?

My third thought: I kind of love my body right now. I have a few extra curves and some extra cellulite. But I am strong, confident, I have a pretty amazing relationship with food, I’m loving the “healthy balance” I’ve found, and I’m not willing to give up my ice cream and wine! I want to live life this summer, not stress out about eating perfectly clean and feeling skinny.

My fourth thought: At the same time, I know that I feel the most like myself when I'm eating clean, avoiding sugar and booze, and crushing my workouts and in tune with my body. I don't have to buy into diet culture in order to treat myself a little better and I know I'll be even happier if I lose a few pounds. They aren't just "vanity pounds," this is an "I can handle my emotions without diving into wine or ice cream" issue.


It's not about the weight

I’ve been a health and fitness coach for over 3 years now, and if you’re not careful, the constant pressure can really start to get to your head. Pressure to maintain your peak condition, be a constant walking breathing “after” picture, never slip up or eat a burger and fries or be a human.

That’s not the way I want to live, and I don’t want to perpetuate the story that women need to be thin and perfect in order to be accepted and worthy.

I want to teach women that it's possible to love yourself in your own skin, no matter what size or shape you're at.

HEALTHY doesn't mean being as skinny-fit as possible; it goes so much deeper than that.

A healthy woman doesn’t abuse her body with over-exercising or binging.

A healthy woman doesn’t deprive her body of the nutrients (including fat and carbs) it needs to maintain its normal functions.

A healthy woman doesn't turn to food or alcohol to numb out when she feels overwhelmed or stressed.

When we struggle with food or weight, it’s not really about the food or weight problem to begin with, and trying to solve our issues with dieting is like putting a bandaid on a broken arm.

Once we can learn to accept and love ourselves for where we're at right now, we can make change from a place of wholeness.

Losing weight from a place of self love

However!

Just because you love your body doesn’t mean you have to settle or let yourself go.

Just because you’ve gained weight doesn’t mean you’re stuck there.

It’s possible to love your body AND want to change it in order to be the best version of yourself. Honestly, that’s the best kind of motivation!

So even though I’m totally ok with where I”m at right now, I’m not willing to buy new larger sized clothes and I still know I can push myself harder.

I want to make myself proud and feel the way I felt last July: powerful, confident, and unstoppable!

My summer fitness plan

In two weeks I’ll be flying to NOLA for the first time with 12 of the women on my team for our annual Coach Summit, and I want to feel my best, so I’m going to be a little more focused until then. I also know that a brand new 21 day bootcamp program called Shift Shop is launching and I’m going to be hosting an accountability group at the end of July, so I have a plan and I’m so excited to see what happens when I focus a little more on taking care of my body and pushing my limits.

What to do when you've gained weight

When you feel compelled to lose weight, ask yourself WHY.

Do you actually need to lose weight to be healthy and happy? If so, great! Why is that important to you?

But if you are just being triggered by your inner mean girl, don’t feel like you’re good enough, are looking for control because there’s something deeper going on in your life, then dig a little deeper.

Get support and accountability!

Let’s face it -- the journey to self acceptance, self love, and body confidence is hard. We shouldn't have to walk this path alone.

I want to bring women together in sisterhood to support, uplift, encourage, and inspire each other to keep pushing through the rough patches and also celebrate our big and small victories along the way. That's why I've created my FREE Fit For Life Facebook community!

We have weekly check-ins, daily motivation, recipe e-books, and lots of support when you need to talk about deep stuff like emotional eating, or have a squad who gets how exciting it is to run 2 miles straight for the first time or fit into your pre-pregnancy jeans again.

And contact me if you’d like to learn more about my next accountability group!

xo Anna