Instagram is a wonderful place when it comes to motivating yourself to lose a few pounds. But not everyone wants to lose weight, which is why we are all for the women who have taken an alternative approach to the body transformations we see so often. These ‘reverse transformations’ show women who are much happier in the bodies they’ve got now, having gained weight, either through building muscle or simply by calming down their intense diet and fitness plan. And for them, it’s turned out to be the true answer to good health in all its forms…
After pushing herself hard to shed pounds, fitness influencer Jovana Borojevic found herself feeling truly underwhelmed. “At my lowest [weight] I was at a place where I was eating a lot of foods I did not enjoy, and I was unhappy,” she wrote. So she bravely encouraged herself to relax the intense regimen, and instead focus on the things that made her happy. “I’ve gained weight,” she wrote. “Also, I’m really HAPPY and I am not beating myself up!” The Instagrammer continued her body positive message, writing: “Am I upset right now? I am absolutely not. Because I have been killing my workouts, been gaining so much strength, and strengthening my relationship with myself.” And, let’s face it, that’s the most important thing.
A few years ago, Marciel Hopkins lost 2 stone 2 in a bid to be crowned Miss South Africa. But after putting herself on a strict diet and training for 2 to 3 hours a day, she didn’t feel anywhere near as good as she’d hoped. “My boobs shrunk 2 cup sizes and my period stopped. On this specific day of the picture, I got home, freezing after the shoot, and I had a baby apple for dinner.” Marciel gave up her regimen and insists “it’s NOT worth it to fight a daily battle with food or your body. Bodies are different, we can’t all look the same.”
Student Amie gained two stone of weight in four years after realising she wanted to be “a stronger Amie with much more muscle, who lifts weights and… eats much more food”.
Jolene Jones spent months shedding weight and toning herself up to compete in bodybuilding competitions, until one day she’d had enough. “A six pack didn’t make me happy. I was never enough and always needing to improve,” she said – so she let go of her rigid diet and exercise plan and hasn’t looked back since.
When nurse Claire Maxwell fainted and broke her jaw at work, she lost a stone. But when it came to putting the weight back on, she decided to use it as an opportunity to craft a strong and healthy body in the gym with the help of weightlifting.
Former model Liza Golden-Bhojwan illustrated just how much her body changed after she stopped “fighting” it to fit the industry’s ideals, and shared how much happier she is now.
Jess can feel her body getting stronger in the 3 years since she realised “a single number does not define who I am”. Nowadays, she’s ditching the scales and has found herself “stronger, healthier, and all around happier”.
For personal trainer Victoria, her journey to gain weight was not an easy one. She suffered from anorexia (depicted in the first picture), and a year later (in the middle picture) she had developed an “obsession with food, exercise and my body”. While she believed she was healthy at the time, Victoria now knows “there is nothing more unhealthy than putting so much stress on the body and mind to be low body fat %…It’s having a healthy outlook on fitness and not letting it consume your life”.
Looking back, Mackenzie Forbes “will never understand how I ever convinced myself that being “thin” would bring happiness and help me feel like I would be accepted. Little did I know that lifting weights, not killing my body with HOURS of cardio everyday and eating enough would get me to the body I had ALWAYS wanted.”
Going up 5 dress sizes might be a negative thing for most people, but not for Allison Kimmey. After years of feeling uncomfortable with her shape, and dieting as a result, she finally realised her attitude had to change when she had a baby daughter. Now it’s all about embracing who she is rather than wishing she was different.
She may have gained 3kg, but for Carina, more weight = more strength.
Over the space of 18 months, fitness blogger Emma O’Neill has gained 10kg, and she couldn’t be happier about it, because she’s proud of the muscle mass she’s achieved. But the most important thing, Emma urges, is to only get involved with health and fitness if it’s “a fun addition to your life, rather than the whole of it.”
Some people say Megan Jayne Crabbe “ruined” her body by quitting her diet and exercise scheme, but she disagrees. (and so do we) “THIS IS MY HAPPY BODY,” she proudly writes – and she looks great.