ACCEPTING WEIGHT GAIN – How to Improve Your Body Image at Any Size

How is your relationship with yourself? Do you look in the mirror and say positive things? Or are you one to beat yourself up when it comes to how you look?

Me soon after the Baby was born

Today I wan to talk to you about accepting your body where it’s currently at. Not where you want it to be. Not 5 lbs ago. There are lots of lessons I have learned in recovery while deliberately putting on weight. No matter what your goals are it’s important to accept your body at every stage because there will always be things you can’t control about the way you look. If you are always hating your body because it’s not skinny enough, you don’t have enough muscle or for any other then I’m talking to you and I bet you are sick of always worrying and stressing about it.

I’ve made drastic improvements on how I talk to myself and I am much more neutral and accepting about my body now but this stuff takes work. It’s so sad but I recall that every birthday as a little girl I wished I was skinny. Every time I threw a coin into a wishing well I wished I was skinny. I envied my friends and their flat stomachs. I lived my life around getting that ideal body and wanted to hide the body I was in. If you had asked me what is the worse thing that can happen in life I would tell you it was to gain weight.


I remember being so angry at my body and wished I could just cut my fat off my stomach. Then I would be so much happier. I finally got to that place where I was super thin and guess what? It was too much for my body to handle. I lost my period. I found out I had osteoporosis Is that worth it? Definitely Not! I had to spend every moment fixated on working out and eating right. I made fitness my priority. My quality of life sucked.


I understand weight loss can feel addictive. It’s a high when you step on that scale and see a lower weight but your weight does not define who you are or does not dictate how happy you can be. The one person that gets to make that choice is you.

Mindset Shifts Take Time

The number one thing that you need to do for yourself is to be kind and be patient. This stuff takes time. During this process you need to do the work. This is going to be something you do on a daily basis. As you improve your relationship with your self and the way you view the way you look then it will start to get easier and you will need to focus less on it. Just like working out doesn’t get you muscle overnight changing your body image and your confidence about your body doesn’t change overnight.

If you truly want to find a place of food freedom, freedom from the scale and endless hours in the gym to restore your health and period you need to get to a place of acceptance If you feel good about yourself you are going to be confident and you won’t be worrying about that damn scale being an extra few or 5 or ten pounds higher and you can start living your life.

My Top 5 Tips to Gain Confidence in Your Body and Accept Weight Gain

Tip #1 Is to surround yourself with other people that are positive.

If it is triggering for you to be around friends that only talk about how they are fat or need to lose weight or even the new diet they are on then avoid them. I know it may be hard but it’s not forever. This also means the people you follow on social media. If you are following people that are really lean or extremely muscular and don’t portray a body type you could have without going to extremes then you need to stop following them. They are going to make you feel worse about yourself and make you think that being that lean is attainable and healthy. Yes, some woman can be naturally very thin but that is not the case with most women.

Tip #2 Wear Clothes That Fit and Flatter You

There is nothing worse than trying to squeeze your body into pants or clothes that don’t fit or are unflattering for your body. You will never be confident and accepting of your body if your clothes are too snug or you feel depressed after you try and put your clothes on. Stop wearing the baggy shirts and leggings. Try to find clothes that flatter your new body. Follow body friendly fashion models to come up with ideas.

Tip #3 Stop Body Checking

Don’t hone in on one area of your body especially the areas you like the least. If you are body checking and looking in a mirror see yourself as a whole person not that one area. Speaking of body checking just stop doing it. Don’t let those moments set you off and ruin your entire day by focusing in on areas that you wish to change or that have recently changed. It doesn’t feel good to pick yourself apart in the mirror

Tip #4 Changing Your Thoughts

Recognize your thoughts and how they are making you feel. Those negative thoughts aren’t going to go away overnight but it’s all in how you react to them. It’s about learning to hear them and move past them without letting them affect you. If you really want to take this a step further going through the process of changing your thoughts is super helpful.
If you can’t jump to I have a beautiful body go through the process of getting to a neutral place first. This is where I started. I would see myself in the mirror gaining weight and I would think I’m getting so big and I would start to replace it with:

  • This is my body.
  • This is my recovering body.
  • This is what a body looks like that is trying to restore hormones.
  • This extra weight is exactly what I need.
  • This is exactly what I am trying to do.
  • This is what a healthy body looks like.
  • It’s possible I could I could love my body.

Tip #5
Let go of judgement.

Stop judging yourself and others. Most of the time if you are having thoughts about others and their weight gain or body composition it is because you are insecure about yourself. Ask yourself, do you honestly think you will have people’s approval if you are thinner? If the answer is yes then you either have a distorted sense of truth or you are correct and these people are not worth your time. If we are picking apart other people we don’t feel good about it later on. If you say good things about others and appreciate them for other aspects besides their bodies its easier to find good things about ourselves as well.

Remember this stuff doesn’t happen overnight. Be patient with yourself .

Afraid to Stop Exercising?Amenorrhea, RED-S and Weight Gain Fears

Healthy Habits That Turn Bad

A healthy habit of working out can easily slip into being too much for your body. There is a thin line between over exercising and Exercise Addiction just like there is a thin line between Disordered Eating and Eating Disorders. There is no secret recipe for how much one’s body can handle. Some people can handle two a days and some people get burnt out from 5 days a week.

My Story

I have always loved exercise so for me it wasn’t a big deal to exercise everyday until I took it too far. I began to cling to exercise and became so fearful of gaining weight and becoming deconditioned if I took rest days or time off from the gym. I used exercise as an outlet for me to get away and relieve stress.

So a bit of my backstory in regards to exercise. I have been lifting and doing cardio for as long as I can remember. Initially it was always to change the size of my body but I found that I loved it once I started. I wasn’t into organized sports but loved Taebo (that was a thing!), kickboxing and lifting weights when I was in middle and high school. Fast forward to when it became too much. It started when I was dropping weight for my wedding. I was barely eating and lifting moderately. Ironically, I never lost my period at that time but my body didn’t stay long at such a low weight. I bounced up in weight not matter how hard I fought it. Years later I fell into overtraining again when I was trying to have a baby. I was on a ton of fertility meds, doing a lot of cardio and weight lifting in between IVFs to loose the weight I put on during the IVF cycles. I was doing Jamie Eason’s Livefit program and I was always keeping calories low and it would send me into binges.

My very pregnant self still working out.


Finally, I took it down a notch let my body gain and I finally got pregnant on my 5th IVF cycle (a FET). I lifted throughout pregnancy ans was very fearful of the weight gain after the baby. The overtraining began again postpartum. I was lifting 5-7 days a week despite not sleeping with a newborn, breastfeeding and exhausted and definitely not getting enough energy through the calories I was eating. I was scared to cut back in exercise. I got back to my prebaby weight but I kept going. I loved eating so I didn’t want to have to cut back on exercise and was just so fearful of gaining weight if I did. I kept pushing myself harder and harder. I would do lots of active rests where I would be doing jump squats, jumping jacks, box jumps whatever I could do to burn more calories. I would do more than what was on my planned program to get better results or what I thought was better results. I felt like I just couldn’t really control it for all the fears I was feeling if I would stop. Obviously, I never got my period back after my daughter because my body was in shock.

RED-S and Overtraining Syndrome

What is over training syndrome? It is when you can’t recover appropriately and in impairs performance. There is a lot of controversial information on this so I am going to stick with RED-S which is more in line with amenorrhea. RED-S is Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport. You don’t have to be an athlete to have this. You can be someone that is just heavily involved in working out like runners, cardio bunnies and lifters and not eating enough to withstand the amount of energy that you are burning .

The cause of this syndrome is an energy deficiency created from the amount of energy that is burned from exercise and daily activities in relation to what one is eating. Psychological consequences can happen either before or after you have RED-S. By the way RED-S has basically replaced the female athlete triad because you don’t need to have all three to have it.

There are multiple signs of RED-S very similar to Hypothalamic Amenorrhea

  • Fatigue
  • Hormone Issues
  • Injuries and acute inflammation
  • Insomnia/Sleep Disturbances or Wake up unrefreshed
  • Moodiness or Depression and Anxiety
  • Loss of appetite

The psychological impact can be thoughts around exercise, food and weight gain which tend to lead into the unhealthy obsession. Fears if you do stop that you will gain or lose your strength. In the back of your mind you may want to stop. You may feel an uncontrollable urge to train. You may have disordered thoughts about earning your food. Fears because it’s your way to decompress or manage stress so you don’t want to stop.

I remember in the past researching over training and exercise addiction. That right there should have been a clue that there was something. I didn’t think I had it because I still had energy to workout.

Are you exercising too much?

If you are teetering if you are doing too much or you are trying to recover your period you most likely need to cut back, cut it out or at least ask yourself on a daily basis “Is my body rested enough to exercise today?” Many people fall into the trap that more is better with exercise. Remember, more isn’t always better. This is the exact opposite of the what you have always been told. It’s all in the audience. If you are that person that pushes the limits and is an overachiever you may be doing too much. I recall Bret Contreras, the “Glute Guy,” saying one of the biggest mistakes he sees most of his female clients make is exercising too much. Imagine if you could actually exercise less and get better results? If you are unsure if you are exercising too much start asking yourself the following questions:

Do I have any of these symptoms?

Am I scared to stop training?

Am I exercising despite being exhausted or not sleeping enough?

Do I enjoy it?

Would I feel a sense of relief if I were forced to stop?

Am I taking rest days?

Am I seeing improvements in my performance?

So after answering all those questions you probably know the answer whether or not you need to stop or slow it down. If you are thinking HELL NO I am not stopping start to ask yourself why?

Are you worried about weight gain? Are you using it to earn your food? Are you wanting to eat more but fearing that you will gain weight? Are you fearful that it’s your way to let go of stress or that maybe you will lose friends?

Just take a deep look at yourself only you can answer this.

How to Stop?

The best way to stop is to try cold turkey if you are completely depleted and exhausted. You should at least try to take a week off. If I mention try to take a week off and you just got anxiety then you probably need to reevaluate what is going on with you. If anything cutting back on intensity, start taking deload weeks and take at least a week off every quarter.

Prevention for RED-S

It’s important that you learn to exercise mindfully and find a healthy balance. There are so many stressors in life like being a mom or if you have a high stress job or there are a lot of things happening in your life. It’s easy to use exercise as a crutch and say you can’t cut back or a way of controlling something in a world that feels so uncontrollable. I am by no means saying not to exercise for stress reduction but if you lost your period or have RED-S you may need to stop and then find your sweet spot once you recover by doing the following:

  • Balanced Training
  • Deloads and Periodization
  • Rest Weeks
  • Fueling Properly
  • Timing of Foods around exercise
  • Sleeping Enough

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3435910/https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/c7a1/83e2e89d257b3e62b6f0e6bb6fe0584eba42.pdf