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


  • Saori-Luna

    All my life I’ve been under my healthy weight, I think it is a metabolism thing, I watched photos of my mom and dad at my age, and they were so thin. Even when I went to the doctor and they said “you are too thin”, I couldn’t do anything, I was already eating normal, maybe more than normal.
    On those times (10 years ago) I had a friend with eating issues… someday I heard that she was talking about me behind my back and she named me as “the fat chick”. I was so upset, I mean, I was thin and still was “the fat chick”.
    Last year my thyroid started to malfunction. I began with some medication, but it was the worst idea ever, I gained 10 kgs. (I think is like 20 pounds?). I am starting to exercise to feel better about myself, to be healthier, and of course, to loose some weight. But I am so ashamed of myself, I can’t believe I let my body to gained so much weight.
    I am “the fat chick” now. Somedays I’m happy, because I now have boobs and booty, but then I remember what my friend said and think: What is she thinking now about me?
    This issues are so hard to resolve…

  • Kris James

    random question where is the picture taken. It looks like my campus lol

  • Brittany

    I don’t know if you’ll actually get to read this because I know you have a lot of followers, but this post hit me hard. My entire life I’ve been skinny. Like, SKINNY. Because I was malnutritioned due to the diet my mother had me and my siblings on. We were so skinny, people would shout things at us like, “eat a burger!” or, “put some meat on them bones!” Those things don’t sound like insults, been when you’re only eating what’s provided for you and doing what you were taught, it’s like a kick to the gut. I did eat cheeseburgers, I tried to gain weight.

    Finally I moved out of my mothers house after I graduated and turned 18, and within the first year of me moving out, I finally started to gain some weight. It was hardly noticeable, even to me at the time, but it was there. Now, I’m 26, and I’ve done a lot of healthy things that have actually made me gain weight (like quit smoking, a bad habit I picked up from having an entire family and every one of my friends smoke). However, now, I’m 30 pounds heavier than I was three years ago and I feel fat. I’m 5’4″, 142 pounds, and I feel so fat. Everyone I talk to says I look healthy, but when I struggle to get into clothes that once fit me, I can’t help but cry. Especially when I used to be the skinny girl.

    This had been a terrible experience for me because I’m not fit or healthy and I think that’s why I feel bad about my body. What’s here is just added fat. Not muscle like I wish it were.

    Every time I’ve tried to start working out in the past few years, I’ve felt it’s so unattainable and that the trainers were living unattainable lives. I thought, “well of course they’re fit and healthy, they work out for a living. That’s their job. If my job was working out, I’d be fit too.”

    While that may be partially true, my true struggle is fear that I can’t hack it. I’m terrified I’ll fail and I don’t know where to start. I’m tired and have a headache every day after work. I never feel like I can do anything to change my situation.
    Anyway, to know that someone as fit and amazingly positive and inspirational as you can feel ashamed of her body on occasion, I can’t help but think, I must just be human.
    I still am not sure where to start, but at least now I know I can.

    Sorry for the novel, but even more, thanks for sharing Cassey!

  • Nandhini

    I lost 20/25kg when I first entered university…now ive gained back everything and it kills me evey sibgle day. I feel like a let down and a failiure . But like what u said we are all humans too and sometimes things happen. I guess we just got to pick ourselves up again like what u said.

  • Chloe Cassandra

    How convenient is this post?

    My dad keeps bothering me about my weight, ever since middle school. He’ll say “Oh, you’re getting big” and when I was in high school he told me “You need to lose weight here, here, here, and here.” As you can imagine, being in high school I had very low self-esteem and that made me insanely self-conscious and unhappy with my body. He would take me shopping and then tell me “No, you’re too big for that and etc…”. I was actually the normal size and weight for my height/age. I look back at pictures at myself and I see healthy. It made me feel uncomfortable in my own skin. As an adult, I just see it as a sickness to constantly criticize someone’s weight/shape/form. Now I see him criticize my 12-year old brother and 8-year old sister telling them they need to lose weight, their getting fat, and etc… It’s disgusting and sick. Even if you try to tell them that they’re fine as they are or tell him that they’re beautiful how they are… no one listens. It’s ashame. When I have kids I will NEVER make them the ones feel insecure, there’s enough cruel people in the world already. I want my children to be happy in their own skin and just know how to live a healthy lifestyle (even if it means not looking like society’s idea of “perfect” or “ideal”.)

  • Jennifer B

    Crazy! Cassey, you are SO beautiful, your body is healthy and in shape, and your personality and smile shine brighter then anything! :) I am 5’1″ and weigh in between 112-120 lbs depending on what level of stress, anxiety, exercise, eating patterns, etc I’m dealing with! The thing is, NO ONE is perfect, and the other thing is, weight fluctuates frequently. I go through times in life where it’s easy to exercise 5 times a week and eat as well as I can, and I look and feel great, then there are times when exercising is the last thing I want to do and that doughnut looks oh so good! Everybody has these times and feels these ways; if you deny that, you’re simply not human! There are certainly people who live very strict, disciplined lives and really don’t fall of track, ever, but that is a whole other conversation. No matter how many people try to encourage to be comfortable in your own skin and be healthy at your own level and pace, the world throws at you that you need to be vegan and 5’8″/100 lb…that is so unhealthy and absolutely ridiculous! EVERY person is different, our bodies are all different and need different things! I have 6 sisters and every single one of us is different. I’m small while another sister is tall or a little larger, and my oldest sister is smaller then us all! So, poo on the people who shame anyone, especially you because you have dedicated your life and worked so hard to be healthy and to inspire and help other to be happy and healthy with who they are. It’s not all about our physical appearances, but that’s what everyone will look it; what you can see. But guess what? There are often amazing people inside the not-so-perfect bodies, and those who are “perfect” (whatever that means to you) often are so self-centered, shallow, and can only compare and judge others to make themselves feel better.

    Thank you for promoting HEALTH, Cassey. Love and happiness and health at your own pace, wherever you are in life. I was a dancer (tap, jazz, hip-hop, ballet, modern) for 5+ years, fit as could be, but I hurt myself and had to stop and was mentally paralyzed at the thought of exercising any other way then dance! I actually ended getting sick with something that shot my endurance and stamina down to 0, and am JUST getting back to where I can easy walk and do a Blogilates cardio video without being completely winded! During dance I took pilates at a local studio and still do to this day and I love it! When I’m feeling discouraged or am not able to make an actual class, I’ve been doing YOUR videos because I love them and you are a joy to learn from, even if it’s through a computer screen! Okay, now I’m rambling…anyway, I just hope you don’t feel discouraged anymore. One last thing. There’s a quote that goes “Do not judge. You don’t know what storm I’ve asked her to walk through.–God” It’s SO true! We don’t need to judge, though we will (because we’re human), because we don’t know what anyone has been through, is going through, or will go through! Not our place to be judging jerks! Especially on someone’s appearance. It’s so easy to be completely discouraged, embarrassed, self-conscious, and afraid of being yourself; comfortable no matter what you look like, and I am so sick of people taking out their issues on other people to make themselves feel better!

    OKAY! That’s all!! When I start writing it’s hard to stop! lol! :) Blessings, much love, and to all who may come across this comment, you are AWESOME, your journey is special and set apart from everyone elses; don’t be afraid of people or what they have to say. If it’s negative and crappy, forget them and remember who you are inside and out. No matter what your outer shell looks like, your character, heart, and soul are so much more important. Nurture those things with loving people, positive environment, encouragement and self love. I’m done now…blessings and have a beautiful day!

    Jennifer B.~

    • Jennifer B

      P.S. Sorry for the LONG comment!!! :)

  • Olivia

    I totally know how you feel. A couple years ago, my grandpa asked the dreaded “did you gain weight?” question. He asked me in front of a bunch of family members, and a few seconds later, I just happened to break the chair I was sitting on! It was embarrassing and I cried. I was just a few months away from my wedding and I was struggling to fit into my dress. But after a few weeks of a more strict and healthy diet, I lost a few pounds and fit into my dress no problem. Since then I gained all the weight back and probably then some, but at 4’11” and 111 lbs. I’m still small. Reading your post made me feel better about no longer being the skinny rail I was in college. I’m still embarrassed that I’m not 90 lbs. or whatever, but I’m learning that filling out is a part of getting older, and I’m realizing that looking like a model just isn’t important to me. Thank you for posting this Cassey. :-) I’ve been following you since 2012, your stuff is so inspiring!

  • Rachel

    Oh my gosh I just about almost
    cried. I have 7 sisters and being one of the youngest and not wanting to be noticed as a couple of my sisters are gaining weight and needing a trainer. I keep watching your videos and trying so so hard not to be noticed for gaining weight. My sisters are known for being a bit judgmental of each other and I always feel like every week I either have to starve myself or workout to the point of my injured back to break down and not let me even move. I’m always so scared because I have such fit friends that seem like they don’t even have to try to stay in shape meanwhile I have to push myself to the point of tears every time I workout and I only see the smallest of improvement if any. I have so much stress going on with family and friends I always feel terrible with self esteem. What you said really hit me hard and I just want to say thank you. Thank you so much Cassey<3

  • Helena

    so you gained some weight so what, you are far from being fat that is for sure and that is all that matters. personally I think you look better now than in that leopard bikini pic. I think your too boney in places. I’m not talking muscles. YOu have those. Just too thin. For me I rather follow someone who is real than one who takes pills to be thin and pretends it’s their exercise program that is doing it for them. Good for you for not being too hard on yourself after all we are all human.

  • Sawatzky

    I can’t even begin to tell you that the struggle is real!!! Trust me. You just don’t hear about women being 5’4″ and nearly 150 lbs. but knowing I’m actually healthy! And remarkably strong I might add. But here’s what I cling to….I suffered a massive brain he mirage that should have claimed my life. Should have beyond question ended the life of the child I was carrying at only 9 weeks gestational. And by Gods provision. I walk and talk and dance as often as I can. My second is son is amazing and crazy smart! I don’t want to focus on how I can get skinnier….while I do want jeans to fit amazing….they’re overrated compared to the joy of being here and being a wife and mother. I want to focus on how I can enjoy life MORE! It’s a gift we take for granted every day!

  • Wee Mitchy

    I follow all your videos and Instagram etc. I know you say you’re a little disappointed in yourself for having “let yourself go” but that’s not what I see. I think you look great! I think you look healthy and strong. I love your full round approach to fitness. It’s not just killing yourself at the gym, but thinking of your nutrition and hydration and rest. Listening to your body is so vitally important. I likewise have gained some weight after being the super trained, toned and lean fitness buff. I too felt ashamed at having gained the weight and disappointed wondering if I had “let myself go”. But actually, I feel I’m the healthier version of myself. My previous regime was not maintainable and actually looking back, I feel it wasn’t necessarily the most healthy. I now am, like you, listening to my body and nourishing it the way I aught to and no, I am not any less fit than I was. If anything I’m better just a little bit squidgy on the sides ?
    You’re an inspiration.

  • Ro Smith

    I think you look amazing right now(I know this is an old post, but…) You currently look healthy and happy and it is more encouraging to see someone of a *normal* size as a trainer than someone super ripped and buff. I see how strong you are and it makes me realize that you are serious about what you do and it’s not a matter if you have 0% body fat or not. Being strong is doing what’s right for your body.

  • 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?

    • Chloe Cassandra

      exactly? why is it relatives focus on weight, when there are more important things in life?

  • 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 :(