Ashamed of Gaining Weight

Hey POPsters,

Have you ever been in a situation where you walk into a family party and a female relative walks up to you and says, “Oh you look fat!” or “Looks like you gained some weight!” (If you are from an Asian family, I know you know what I mean.)

Like, what are you supposed to say? Is that a question you’re supposed to actually answer?

“Yeah, I did”?? And then uncomfortably mumble something to move the conversation past your physical appearance?

There’s 2 problems here.

1. To say that to someone, especially a girl, it’s hurtful and damaging to her self-esteem.

2. You shouldn’t have to feel ashamed for gaining weight. But we all do.

The reason why I bring this up is because after this past ABC ABS video, I started getting some comments asking the same very thing my Asian Auntie would say:

“Your legs look bigger. Did you gain weight?”

“Not to be mean but did you have too many YOLO Meals?”

“What happened to your inner thigh gap?”

“How could you let this happen?”

Does gaining weight discredit me as a fitness instructor? Am I a failure? Am I lazy? Do I have no self control? Does that change who I am? Why does it matter? Why all the labels?

To answer the elephant in the room and for everyone who wanted to hear me confirm it, yes guys, I did gain weight.

I’m not mad at the people who asked this question because hey, if you wanna know you wanna know. But who I am upset at is myself…not for gaining weight, but for feeling ASHAMED for gaining weight.

As you know, the past few months I did the big move from SF to LA, adjusted to my new place, traveled a ton, and started focusing on new projects, making it hard to stick to a set diet and workout schedule. In fact, I had to delay my bikini competition because of it all. You know, it will be 1 year since my first bikini competition on May 5th. I remember those 10 weeks of hard training and dieting. I remember the discipline and mental focus it took to workout for soooo many hours a day. To eat just chicken breast, broccoli, and egg whites every day. To be so exhausted that it was hard to even think straight. But I also remember stepping on stage in my cheetah bikini with those high heels and strutting my new, super tanned body, showing off the most defined muscles I ever had. It was exhilarating and not gonna lie, I love those pictures. I had never seen my body like that before. Dieting down and losing weight…it was hard. Really, really hard. But at the end, it was extremely satisfying to reach a place I didn’t think was possible.

cassey ho bikini npc

If you read my blog last year, there was a post after the competition where I wrote about being scared of gaining the weight back. I knew it wasn’t really possible to hold my body fat percentage down so low all year. It was inevitable. I didn’t know how I would deal with it. I didn’t want it to happen.

Each week, I started to nourish my body with the goods it had wanted for so long. I no longer had to be on a calorie deficit. So I ate. And it was soulfully satisfying. My mouth savored every bite of food bursting with FLAVOR! I of course noticed a difference in the tightness of my body but made a conscious decision to not be obsessed about calories. It took a while for me to break out of the “bikini model” mentality. To tell you the truth, after the competition, I was scared of fruit. Yeah, how crazy is that? I looked at an apple and worried what it would do to me.

For those of you who are shaking your heads now…yeah…it was a slight form of body image issues and eating issues. It took some time and talking to fellow fitness friends before I could eat normally and not feel guilty about it.

Looking back now, the way I was coached to lean down for my first bikini competition may not have been the best way. It was very extreme. I did not take crazy fat burning pills or anything – I never would – but I was deprived. I felt like the diet left me so lost and dry. I felt like I needed coaching to help me “get back to normal” safely. But I didn’t have that. Because shortly after the competition, I left my trainer.

The after effects of deprivation? Eating, eating, eating. And more eating. Feeling like you’re out of diet jail. Feeling like you better take in as much food as possible before it’s taken away from you again.

You know, being a fitness instructor – your body is a source of inspiration for others. It supposed to be chiseled. Hard. Toned and tight. And when it starts becoming the backwards of a before and after picture, you start feeling like your career and your credibility are on the line.

So I feared. I feared the weight gain. I feared the scale. I feared the day one of you would say I looked fat.

And well, I guess after the ABC ABS video, it finally happened. I knew it was coming though. Yes, I did gain weight because I’m a human being. I’m a girl whose life is a little more than just gym time and meal preps! I too, just like you, eat when I am stressed. I too, just like you, can’t find time to workout when my workload becomes overwhelming. I’m not perfect! But then again…who said maintaining a low body fat percentage made you perfect!? Weight fluctuates! THIS IS LIFE.


Part of me feels relieved that someone said it. But part of me feels upset. In all honesty guys (and you know that with my blog, I speak the truth and don’t hide behind some perfect fitness instructor curtains only revealing what I want you to see) I’m gonna be real and say I’m a little disappointed in myself for “letting go.” But at the same time, I don’t really regret the food I ate and the rest I took that got me to where I am today.

You know why? Because I listened to my body. It needed it. It needed to recover. It needed something it was missing and I let it have it. What’s important is making that mind-body connection and feeding not just your body but your soul too.

And you know what else? I can still lift heavy. In fact, heavier. I can still run far and long. In fact, faster. I can still do my videos and teach my classes while carrying on a conversation. Just because I gained weight, it didn’t mean I lost all my hard work. I’m still fit and healthy and progressing everyday. Isn’t that the ultimate goal?

So yeah, I have a thicker layer of fat on top of my abs. Cool. I’ll start eating super duper clean on a consistent basis and train harder for some weeks, and I will have my bikini body back. Seriously guys, it’s not a big deal! It’s all about resilience. If you feel like you’ve fallen off track, just get up. Just get up and start over NOW.

All I ask of you is that you not judge someone for their looks. I know, sounds so motherly of me to have to say that right? But seriously. What matters is how someone treats you, how they make you feel, and their honest and genuine intent.

I hope this post resonated with some of you. Don’t feel bad if your pants are tight again. Remember, it doesn’t change who you are. Just power on and embrace the ups and downs of life. It just makes the triumphs that much sweeter.

Take care guys and let me know in the comments if you’ve ever dealt with someone calling you fat.

<3 Cassey


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  • Linda

    You eat too much fat

  • Elizabeth

    I feel you on this. For the last two years of my life, I was THIN. 5’4′ and a 100 pounds! Great,righg?! No, because I was sick. I have Crohns Disease. My body was killing itself. And I nearly died, at my lowest I was 80 pounds. But God granted a miracle, I got better, and my disease is in remission. But I gained so much weight, like a lot. I am after a 8 months, about 180 pounds. But I can run, I can work, by everything that is good, I can LIVE. But what do I get? Fat-shaming. “You’ve have just gotten so fat!” But you know something? It is coming from people who are FAT THEMSELVES. It just sickens me. We have beautiful bodies, and by golly I can eat, and work, and play, and LIVE. But our society, my family would prefer thinness at the line of death, instead of life with some extra weight. So, your beautiful, and healthy, and screw the gap thigh. What are we, poultry? I like your program because your a shot of sunshine, and positivity. Its ok to no be perfect, and I love it. So keep shining, having fun, and leading us along. Your perfect. And so am I.

  • Dana Fawaz

    Today i went to say hi to my relatives and i went out walking with my cousins and lets just say they have a perfect body. all my life i hated saying hi to family you know why? because i know they are always gonna judge you whether u lost weight or gained and so today when i walked out one of the tells my mom hey your daughter has gained weight and when she said that i felt like crying because this isnt the first time someone said that and it hurts it really does not tht ive gained weight but the way people think. and it makes me feel guilty like im like that. yes my cousins litteraly have model bodies and yes i dont but i hate when people shove it up my face and compares me to them. i really just want to be happy and not think about these kind of stuiff ive been dealling woth it for the past 3 years and im tired.

  • Candance

    I know exactly how you feel. I started working at a fast food place maybe 3 months ago and since I’m there every day fast food is in my reach. I used to be thin… I noticed I picked up a few pounds in my stomach but I didn’t know it was noticeable a until I went to my old job today and my previous manager tells me my face has gotten fatter…. at that second I throw my food away and go home to work out. Through the mall you can see Victoria secret model ads and it just made me feel worse. I do fell worse I’ve only gained 7 pounds but I feel bad for all the food I’m eating….. I feel fat now that someone pointed it out, I asked me friend if I gained weight and he said a little. I feel very disappointed. I’m mad at myself for letting myself get to this point not saying no to the food. Now I have to be serious about my workout and dieting or I’ll gain even more weight…. as I women there are very high standards for perfection men…not so much. I hate that.

  • Jelly

    Oh I thought it only happens here in my country! Didn’t know it was an Asian thing :D. It’s pretty annoying, and my grandma likes saying it too to friends/relatives that she hasn’t seen for a long time. I wanna say to her, “After all these years of not talking and seeing each other, you only wanna talk about weight?”.

    Awesome blog btw Cassey! It’s my 3rd week of doing the Monthly calendar. I’m feeling a lot stronger but I am not losing weight. I think I gained some :(( Dieting is hard for me. I cannot follow the meal plans since the some of the ingredients used are expensive and not available in my country. Any help popsters?

  • Mildred

    I’m from malaysia and the FIRST thing people say to me when they see me usually fluctuate around “WOW You’ve lost some weight!” to ” WOW, How did you get so fat?”

    These people connections to me range from close friends and family to people I barely meet in a year. It’s a Malaysian culture that holds “Fat is Bad and Thin is Good” dearly. I’ve seen people around me obsess on the latest diet trend, thinking drinking lemon water and eating an apple each day for 10 days straight is the WAY to be thin. We’re bombarded with weightloss ads and “I heard that if you -do something crazy-, you can lose 10kg in 4 days!” because we like the idea of getting from fat to thin in as little time and effort as possible.

    With you, I learnt the truth that nothing come easy. It’s a lifestyle change. And to do that, I need to form good habits (still in progress). I want to thank you for that.

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  • Rose

    Wow. This was absolutely inspirational, thank you Cassie for sharing your experience. I had felt so alone and terrible after I gained the weight back. But coming from the experience of someone as beautiful and kind-hearted as you, I feel so much more NOT alone. Thank you so so so much, you made my day so much better and I will keep on sticking to my fitness goals!!! Love you so much!

  • Usedtobeskinny

    around the year 2011 I was at my fittest – I was thin previously and had started working out, eating more protein, had a very very active lifestyle, was single, etc.

    Since then – I am married, and I have noticed in the past 2 years that I have gained weight, which has become noticeable in my face. To be honest it is only about 11 pounds more than I used to be but it made such a difference…the worst is facebook.

    Being tagged in new photos and seeing myself in pictures posted years ago. It’s super depressing.
    I didn’t see it coming – I would look at myself in the mirror and think something was off – my hair wasn’t styling the way i liked, so i started wearing hats all the time, and then i realized its not my hair, its my face that has become more round – and it does not suit my body or figure.

    I have been for the past 3 months trying to get back to how i was with a completely lighter diet, working out almost 7 days a week, and I haven’t seen that much results yet. I also get discouraged seeing people who I know who were heavier and are now extremely fit. They are able to achieve these things within 3 months (i know this when they post their progress on social media)but it seems like its taking forever for me.

    I don’t like running into people of the past because I know the first thing they think of is how I look chubbier.
    The worst part is when i was fit, people reacted differently, I was complimented more, I felt way more confident, and now I feeel depressed and unattractive.

    this is the first time ive ever really said how i feel outloud because I feel embarrassed to talk about these issues to friends and family.

    Heres hoping that the next 3 months show physical improvement.

  • GP

    This is an old post, but thank you for sharing it. I just read it today. I feel like I’ve gone off track after thanksgiving, and the holidays are a difficult time to maintain a physique. I was also starting to feel disappointed and ashamed because of all the hard work I put in this year to get my body where I wanted to be, and now I’m starting to regain a little. It’s ok though. I know this is just a bump in the road, and I can get where I once was again. Thank you for sharing your story, you are very inspiring.

  • Shirley

    Thank you for sharing your post. It was incredibly deep, sincere and a valuable message we can all learn from. Thanks for everything that you do. I’m a big fan of yours. You are so pretty, you’re mind is in the right place, your humble and inspirational. Thanks for everything that you do. You are truly original.

  • Jamie

    I’m a former competitive gymnast, lifetime dancer, Zumba teacher on the side of my other career job and divorced mother of 3 young children under the age of 10 – I’m 46.

    I have injuries from my gymnast days and am finding that I just can’t always rally to do a “hard core” weight workout. Blogilates has been a fantastic source of workouts that are soooooo not easy but possible to do on even my toughest chronic pain days.

    Cassie – thank you SO much for sharing the inside out of all you do, feel, experience. This is precisely what makes you so real & easy to follow. You are not perfect, you will make mistakes, you will feel emotions & ponder over them… because you are, like us on the other side of your posts – a human. Keep doing what you do and inspiring us to contemplate what we each do so we can each find our personal best in that moment. I’m fairly certain that I need to bring Blogilates to Northern California and add that certification to the list. I’m sorry folks fire nasty shots at you, ya gotta just know there are wierd folks out there.

  • P

    Hi Cassey,

    This is avery old post but I just wanted to tell that I find it incredibly rude and surprising that someone would criticize you for being too fat! You are far from it and I would like to see the physique of the peope who are saying these things, I’m sure they are far from perfect.

    I’m quite new to pilates but I have been following your workout calendars for three months now. I was in a pretty good shape when I started doing these but I have noticed some very pleasant changes in my body. I just wanted to thank you for your hard work and the fact that you provide these workouts for us for free and also to tell you that your are a beautiful person and your positivity is inspiring!

  • María

    I’m too skinny and I’m currently trying to gain weight. But I know exactly what you mean. People have always told me things like “you should eat more”, “you are going to vanish/disappear”, eventhough I’m perfectly healthy and I eat well. It’s hard :( It makes me loose all my motivation :(