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



  1. a perfect post Cassey, a perfect way to answer to people curiosity and in the same time express your opinion on such an important matter like “skinny obsession”
    I found your blog a month ago, searching for pilates tutorials on youtube: now I’m finishing the beginners calendar and I’ll continue to follow you.
    I want to stay in shape (I’m 40 this year!) but I know I’ll never have again the body I had when I was 20 even if my weight is the same (I’m 174 cm x 60 kg).
    Whatever, I feel great!
    thank you sooo much

  2. Dear Cassey…
    I had the same problem as you…I wanted perfect slim body with no fat.. I ate so little…I had hunger, I went to bed early, so I did not starve because my last food was at four o’clock…I had no energy..
    Than I said stop to myself…it wasn’t wasn’t happy.. And I never had the perfect silhouette from my fantasy. Even when my ribs had sticking out I had my big butt (Now I know it’s not to big actually..).
    I just stopped with that crazy routine..I stopped care about what everybody think and say about my butt.
    I started from the beginning. I decided that I want to be fit and HAPPY!..
    But after that diet, when I started to eat weight started to gain..I was so upset. I didn’t want to fall to crazy diets I ate healthy. Now.. two ears after that diet season..I’m actually HAPPY! I have my healthy, fitness body. I’m strong, I’m fast, I’m beautiful! I love my ”large” butt… It’s part of my body..part of the instrument that i need for my sports (I ride a freeride bike).
    That’s my story (Sorry for grammatical mistakes..I just learn eng :) )
    Love you Cassey, you inspire me every day! Stay strong!

  3. I’m going through a tough time right now- I have been in bikini competition shape and leanness year round for about a year and a half after having anorexia and dropping weight- I gained weight and muscle and got into amazing shape (where I am now) but I am not having my period though every other vital has returned. My estrogen levels are low and so my doctors told me I have to gain weight. Because I had anorexia at 14 and am now 16 I have never been above 106 lbs (5’1) and average 103-105. My doctor wants me at 110 to be able to menstruate. I know I need to think about health first, but I am scared because being so cut has become a huge part of my identity personally and at school. That line “wrongend of a before and after” really resonated with me.. I’m so nervous guys! I want to make sure that I keep my muscle and tone even though I have to gain weight. Tips, advice? Love you guys :)

  4. Patricia says:

    I noticed how in control you were your movements.
    People who regularly compete don’t stay that lean at all times, since it’s not manageable.
    Thanks for the beginner’s calendar! I’m falling in love with Blogilates!

  5. Kassy Nubla says:

    You are perfect Cassey! I swear. People should be more concerned on looking fit and healthy instead of looking skinny and depriving themselves of food. I want to have abs but I dont wanna starve myself for it. It all boils down to determination and hard-work :)

  6. Danielle says:

    About a year ago my old/ex best friend looked at me and said “you gained weight” yes i did i was stressed with my boyfriend and had turned to food as comfort. But she was the one that was addicted to mcdonalds or anything she could get her hands on. I felt bad for her to not control her binges and cravings. I was hurt and felt betrayed. ~fast forward til this month~ I decided why not give it another shot at our friendship. We went to the gym together and catch up. Turns out she was jealous, wishing she had what i had and more. And yet she made another remark i cant quite remember but affected me in just the same way. Only because she was trying to put me down about my accomplishments to make her feel better. She went to mcdonalds right after. :(

  7. Every time I have a conversation with my grandmother she always finds a way to call me “HEAVY”
    1.) I do have a high fat percentage, I also have a lot of muscle mass. She has neither.
    2.) I am 5’11”. She is 5’5”.
    3.) She has an anorexic mentality. She eats, but not enough. and she doesn’t eat foods crucial to her health. I do eat those foods. Just sometimes I binge. I do want to take off the metaphorical fat suit that is just actual fat. I want her to gain weight and be healthy.

    I have accepted that I will never have the body she wants me to have seeing as i really should make sure I don’t go close to 130 becuase i am freakishly tall.

    I would also like to point out that in the fifties and lower, a woman was supposed to be freakishly thin and small, and those from that era have that mind frame. So I say…don’t have that mind frame and be who you are supposed to be.

  8. Keep your head up love you cassey! !!!! From Canada

  9. It’s not all about having “THAT body”, anyway, you look better now. I don’t understand how people want other people to starve and not enjoy food. Food is there to enjoy! You can eat clean and it can taste good, but never go onto an extreme like only eating so little your body is starving, you’re feeling weak and tired. That is the opposite of healthy and happy!

  10. I truly appreciate this post! I’m newer to the blogilates scene, and this post just sits with me.
    Last summer, I was at my lowest weight(which I realize does not equal healthiest) due to some health issues I’d been struggling with. Of course, everyone had negative comments about how tiny I was, but I was working out, running, lifting weights…and despite being small, I felt strong.
    Now, I”m back in nursing school, which = a ton a stress! And I’ve put weight back on. About 20 pounds worth!! I eat clean, the majority of the time, but when night-time boredom and munchies hit, I go haywire. I know I need to get myself back under control, buts its harder than it sounds, isn’t it?! People thankfully haven’t been commenting that I’m fat by any means, but the comments on “oh, you’ve gained weight, looking good” …they don’t FEEL so good either!! Yes, I know I’ve gained weight, and yes I know I needed it..but the spare tire I now have around my middle, I don’t need!

    Anyways, this post got off topic, my main point is…that I appreciate your honesty. And I appreciate knowing that all those “super star fitness model experts” out there, have bad days too! Heck, maybe they even have bad months or years!! They’re human too! So often, we’re shown that they never fall off the wagon, when the truth is…if you don’t fall off the wagon, you’re super human or something!!
    So thank you for your honesty!!

  11. Cassey,

    Wow. I have tears in my eyes reading your post. I guess it’s because you are such an inspiration to me and I love you so much! It may not mean much, but honestly, I read your blog every day and it’s not your “hot bod” or whatever that keep me coming back. It’s your personality. I hated working out until I found your videos. I feel like I’m hanging out with a friend when I watch your videos and then all the sudden, 20 minutes have passed, and I’ve done an amazing workout. I suffered from an eating disorder in high school, and now in college, I have gained some weight and am not accepting very well. The past couple of months have been really hard for me, but I take REFUGE in your videos, support, guidance, and positive spirit. I totally understand where you are coming from and feel for you and wanted to reach out and say that 1) I literally can’t even telly you gained weight you still look AMAZING and have my dream body 2) I consider you to be my teacher, my instructor, my guru… but mainly, MY FRIEND. The support you give, even though we’ve never met, is unreal and you provide us Popsters with so much love. Know it’s a two way street. We’ve got your back and have mad love for ya! Xoxo, Talia

  12. Hi Cassey,

    So many people wrote you here and I know my words are just a little drop on the ocean of support and love, but I still want to add it to make this ocean even bigger.
    I came to the US 7.5 years ago being 125 lbs 5.6″ girl and having that weight as my normal healthy weight, so I didnt worry. I came to the country of a completely different food quality and I also lived alone for the first time in 21 years and hardly knew how to cook. so not surprisingly in only 6 month I was 25 pounds up. One day I couldnt pull my jeans more than mid-thigh and I thought oh, I think I did gain some weight, so I got a scale and saw 150 lbs. It did bother me, but like a lot of college and working kids, I just didnt really have time to take care of the problem, plus a lot of kids around me were not in their best shape and didnt seem to worry. but in the back of my head I always though how I would lose weight and look like that actress or that singer. And I kept buying clothes that were size smaller for the day when I fit in them, I knew I will.
    and only 3 years later, during my graduation semester in college, I just stopped eating more than 1000 calories a day just because I realized I cant eat when Im stressed. I ate only tuna salad sandwiches and hummus. in 6 months I lost those 25 pounds. and thats when my transformation began. I was scared to go back to being bigger, so I tried to watch what I eat, I started weighting myself every day and I would not eat almost anything if I saw I gained a pound. I tried working out but I hated it. I went down to 117 pounds which was my teenage years weight and was so scared to go over 120 as if my entire life depended on it. But I still hated working out, I counted calories like crazy and weighted myself twice a day, freaking out how I would be 3 pounds heavier at night. so I became afraid of food that weights a lot and almost stopped eating fruits. And then restaurant week hit the city and I gained 8 pounds in 6 weeks. it was the biggest freakout, I felt ugly even though I was only 125 lbs. so I juiced and worked out every day for a week and realized that working out is not that bad because my muscles looked toned. so I started working out 2-3 times a week and still watching my calories.
    I kept my weigh around 116-119 lbs for year and a half but mostly because I didnt eat much. my wakeup call happened when I went to Europe to visit my family and had no choice but to eat food my grandma cooked for me. I didnt eat a lot, but I knew that I was eating much more calories. and how surprised was I when I came back to the US to… losing 2 pounds! I did not work out for entire 2 weeks, did not move around much and I lost weight! Thats when I realized that its about quality of he food. My grandma used only natural ingredients and made food with love. I thought that if I dont learn what to eat and dont work out, it will be hard for me to ever get in the shape I always wanted to be. So I started working out minimum of 5 times a week, eating more but healthier, learned about nutrition and what my body needs to have energy. I gained 3 pounds in couple weeks knowing its water weight that my muscles need to heal after the workouts plus always having food in my system since I stopped starving myself. I started to see my body change and muscles define. For the last month I worked out every single day because my body is screaming for it and loves it, and I ate huge salads with meat or fish and tons and tons of fruits. I did not lose any weight but I know that Im gaining muscle and my scale cant trick me anymore.
    I started doing your videos 2 month ago and I just adore your personality! That video that you mentioned as the one where people pointed out your weight, I was sure it was just your time of the month because seeing how you have no problem working out and talking while Im screaming in pain trying to follow never made me question your amazing fitness level.
    And i LOVE your supercharge smoothie, I cant get enough of it! and the first time I made them, my boyfriend ate both his and mine portions of the banana pancakes!
    So whoever make comments like that are just unhappy people who need to criticize to make themselves feel better because they just made someone feel bad too. Please dont ever worry about such things. You are already so much ahead of them in fitness and you can only get better and better.
    I am sorry I wrote so much but I think I never talked about this to anyone and your post made me feel sad that anyone would even say things like that to you.Thank you for helping me to become a healthier fitter happier me!


  1. […] 1. Ashamed of Gaining Weight (1263 comments) – a post about how I gained weight back after my bikini competition and how people were telling me I looked fat. […]

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