Because body image negativity is running so rampant over the internet and everywhere in the media, I wanted to take a bigger stance against it. So I talked to my sister Jackelyn who is an amazing fitness instructor and health advocate and we decided to team up and create the only positive body image magazine. Then we called it Fiterazzi :)
The magazine talks about things other mags don't wanna discuss. Things aren't always perfect and beautiful and weight loss. It's a new way of health and fitness media that will show you how to get the body you want while loving yourself every step of the way. No more body bashing. Only body loving. The articles our writers, nutritionists, and RD's have written are from a more personal perspective instead of just talking AT YOU. I always believed that writing to someone as if they are your friend and you are sharing a story with them versus lecturing is so much more enjoyable and effective. I wanna take a moment to congratulate my lil sis Jackelyn for spearheading the magazine as Editor-in-Chief! I really hope it grows and will help re-sculpt the way our society perceives beauty in women. Please have a read and share Fiterazzi.com with your girlfriends. The stories are inspirational and educational.
Let me know in the comments what you think about media and how it trains us to think that beauty can only look one way. What do you think is the best way to battle this? And why do we let other people tell us how we should look!!??
PS - click here to get your January Workout Calendar and see the workout of the day!
1. Oh look! OMG such a cute swimsuit. Let's zoom in on that print!
2. Oooooohhh leopard print! Love!!! Mint, lavender...wait...why's there something sharp under her armpit?
4. Wait, do you see what I see?
My expression at this exact moment of realization that
PHOTOSHOPPED.Target, really? Which design intern did you hire to alter the shape of this beautiful model? And why? I mean...I don't support photoshopping a woman's body to sell beauty and beautiful things, but really, if you were gonna do it, could you have at least hired someone more qualified for the job?!!?? All jokes aside, I am actually glad they didn't get an experienced photoshop artist to touch up this photo. It lets us all know ONCE AND FOR ALL that someone out there is calling the shots on what the standards on beauty are supposed to be in fashion and media. This is simply demeaning to women everywhere. I just wrote a blog post about how social media sites like Tumblr and Pinterest are helping to battle the ED craze by posting warning messages when you type in "skinny" and "thigh gap" into search. Progress. Good. But it's sooooo sad to see big powerhouse companies like Target who have SUCH an influence on young people everywhere FAIL at using their power in a positive way. Why Target? Why? But you know what...I have a conspiracy theory. Maybe the artist who did this disaster of a photoshop job was actually REBELLING by doing such a horrendous touch-up. Maybe it was a hidden message to us all! Ha, wouldn't that be something? What are your thoughts on this? I'm curious to hear your opinions. <3 Cassey Images courtesy of Target.com.
Photo by ShaneaThis image strikes me hard. As I little girl, I was chubby, I was made fun of (having my last name didn't help either), and I do remember turning my fingers into little scissors and wishing I could cut off my fat. Honestly, I didn't even know what fat was or that anything was "wrong" with me until the other kids told me so. Some days I was really terrified of going to school. I tried to distract it all by just studying harder. It wasn't until 7th grade when I started to get taller/skinnier and when I moved to a new school that the bullying stopped. This notion that "thinner is better" and that "fat is bad" gets ingrained in kids' head from an early age...whether it's subliminally from media or just hearing it from other family members complaining about their bodies. So it is HARD to accept your body when everyone tells you not to. Body dissatisfaction begins to take over your life and you become obsessed with changing it. And you know what? Some girls won't know how to. That's when the dangerous habits begin.
"Over 80 percent of 10-year-old girls are afraid of being fat. By middle school, 40-70 percent of girls are dissatisfied with two or more parts of their body, and body satisfaction hits rock bottom between the ages of 12 and 15." (NYC.gov)So how do I like my body now that I'm a fitness instructor? There are days when I love it and days when I hate it just like any other girl. Social media comments don't make it any easier, but seriously if you make stupid remarks and your profile is private and you have no followers, just stop it. I know that at the end of the day, I am more than just my physical appearance. Seriously. My body holds my talents, my dreams, and my drive. It doesn't define me. So don't let it define you either. Let's teach our little girls and little boys this. They don't need to know that anything is wrong with their body, because there isn't. They just need to know that they should smile, work hard, and reach for their wildest dreams, whatever it may be. The change starts with this generation, now. Love, Cassey PS: This post was DELETED off Instagram after I posted it in the morning. I am soooo infuriated that Instagram and the reporters of the photo thought it was child pornography! LIKE SERIOUSLY!?? Read the caption for once. We had such good, real, emotional conversation happening in the comments. And to think that all those so-called "fitness" accounts publishing nearly pornographic butt shots and underboob are not being reported? Unfair. That is why I am reposting this on my blog where no one can take down my post except for me. As I said on Instagram, I will not be silenced. PPS: Thank you to my friends Drew and Lynn Manning from fit2fat2fit.com for sparking this emotional conversation during lunch yesterday!
Herself - Cassey Ho Body Double - Arika Sato
Director - James Chen Visual Effects - James Jou Makeup Artist - Caroline Esparza Hair Stylist - Kristina Gibson Producer - Emily Conti Director of Photography - Garrett Shannon 1st AC - Danny Neal Key Grip - Patrick O'Keefe Gaffer - Ed Rehr Production Assistant - John So Production Assistant - Nohe Roche Talent Producer - Catherine Sawin
The first time I walked on stage in my leopard bikini.
The butt shot.It took about 8 weeks for me to drop 16 pounds. That’s about 2 lbs a week, which they say is very healthy and safe, so I was proud of myself. But what I was not proud of was how I did it and how I felt for the next 2 years. 4 years ago, I was a younger Cassey who had just moved back to CA from Boston after quitting my job. I was eager to reinvent myself and start a new. I was reading a bunch of blogs about weight lifting and discovered this community of girls who did Bikini Competitions. Not the Miss USA kind, but one that was based solely on muscularity and body composition. I was slightly intrigued by the sparkly bikinis and the toned abs and round bootys. I thought they were so pretty, so fit, so confident. I was like, I wonder if I could get myself to that level? Could I do it? It’d be my own personal challenge. Those 8 weeks for some of the most wonderful and terrible times of my life. It was late February and I hired a retired bodybuilder who owned a gym in the area and asked if he could get me bikini competition ready by April. He said yes he could. So the personal training sessions began. He had me working out for 4 hours a day on top of me teaching my fitness classes because “those didn’t count.” I did weights and cardio with him in the morning for 3 hours and then did my own cardio at home in the evening for 1 hour. He also planned out my meal plan. This was what I was allowed to eat:
The line up.
The line up butt shot.I didn’t walk away with a trophy that night. It was ok though, because all I wanted was to have a slice of cheesecake sooooo badly. You guys know I love cheesecake. Plus I hadn’t YOLO’d in 8 weeks. My family and friends took me out for cheesecake. The moment the cheesecake touched my lips, it was like heaven x 800 billion. But the moments after were pure agony. I cramped so hard and had to curl into fetal position in the car for a couple hours before I could walk again. My stomach wasn’t ready. I cried. It had been starved for so long that it didn’t know how to react to cheesecake. This is actually a real symptom of starvation. Some people even throw up after starving for so long that once they eat something, their stomachs completely reject it. Now, you would probably think that I was able to nourish myself back to a healthy state of mind and body and get on with life post-bikini competition right? Well this is the part that I’ve been avoiding telling you for the past 4 years because I am so ashamed of the sick mentality I had afterwards. Guys, for a year and a half after my bikini competition I had a form of an eating disorder, some form of extreme orthorexia – the eating disorder of being obsessed with eating healthy food. I kid you not, I was afraid of apples. I didn’t want to have anything to do with any type of fruit because I thought they had too many carbs and sugars. I thought they would make me fat. And I couldn’t even fathom having grains. Grains meant fatness guaranteed. I kept restricting my food the way I had when I was on the bikini competition diet except now I had a little hot sauce again. I was eating full eggs with yolk instead of egg whites. I had sweet potatoes once in a while. I also decided to work out for about 1 – 1.5 hrs a day like a normal human. These were all healthy things. But, I KEPT GAINING WEIGHT. This process was so terrible because I was gaining weight before your eyes on YouTube, on the blog, on Instagram. People kept commenting “Is Cassey getting fatter?” “Why is Cassey gaining weight?” Because of the pressure from social media and the pressure on myself, I tried to restrict even more. I mean, it used to work before, so why doesn’t it work now? But no matter what I did, I KEPT GAINING. A year later, I decided the heck with it, I’m just going to eat whatever I want. So I had pizza, Chinese food, lots of rice, boba, cake – whatever I wanted. I ate that on the daily. I also got so unmotivated that I stopped working out too. And guess what. I didn’t gain weight or lose weight. I was like what!?? My metabolism is broken! I was so confused and lost. But eventually, that way of life started affecting my YouTube videos. It got harder and harder to film a video. I was huffing and puffing and felt so weak. Now, I was super ashamed and embarrassed...not only was my physical appearance diminishing, so was my actual strength - the thing that REALLY MATTERED. I had always taken my strength for granted. I thought it would always be there for me and that all I would need to focus on were my looks so that the public wouldn’t judge me so much any more. But it was that moment when I was filming “Flat Stomach Fat Melter” that I knew I had to get back to working out. But not for vanity…for me, my health, and my joy. That’s also when I realized that I needed to eat for my energy, for nourishment, for happiness, and not for my looks. And that CARBS AREN'T BAD! It was that switch in my mindset that changed everything. I am so happy to say that 4 years after my Bikini competition, I’ve healed myself by loving myself and respecting myself again. As a fitness instructor in the public eye, I know why I felt so pressured to look like every other fitness model out there. It's almost impossible to not think...If only I had abs, people would like me more. If only my butt were bigger, more people would do my butt workouts. You know, I understand that there is truth in that. But I also know that vanity and the physical shell only lasts for so long. I can’t base my career and my life off of how I look. Because looks will deteriorate with time. And I don't want to deteriorate with time. Because with time, your mind gets wiser. It’s been PROVEN that people who diet by restricting foods usually gain all their weight back and even more. It’s just not sustainable. As you can see, my body acted like a sponge after my 8 week bikini competition. PLEASE use me as an example and DO NOT put yourself and your body through that torture. And I am so happy I have my healthy and happy brain back. It was literally THE WORST not being able to think and hating life for the sake of 6 pack abs, that well, never even came. And you know how tough my core workouts are! I just never had 6 pack abs. And who knows if I ever will…but I can bet you that my ab strength can out-crunch a lot of people who have 6 packs. And that’s something I am proud of and that no one can take away from me. At my best, I had pretty lines on stomach, but even at my lowest weight, I still thought I was fat. The body image disorder was the spring board for the ED. I want you guys to also take a step back and ask yourself, why am I working out? Why am I “dieting”? Is it for looks purely? Because if so, you need to refocus that energy on something else if you want your new body to last. Like strength. Or skill. Or joy. I recently watched this video called #WeighThis by Lean Cuisine and it was so beautiful. The video showed a bunch of women who were asked if they wanted to be weighed by their body weight or weighed by something else. I loved it so much when the women were lead to the scale, they decided to put their textbooks, diplomas, and their backpacks on the scale. A huge thank you to Lean Cuisine for inspiring me to share my own personal story.
Here's a vlog I just filmed sharing my metabolic disruption story with you.This all happened to me while I was preparing for my bikini competition. Advised by my trainer, I was put on this crazy diet - only eating about 1000-1200 calories a day and working out for about 4 HOURS every single day. 1000-1200 calories is NOT enough energy to sustain such an intense workout routine - I was weight lifting, doing cardio, HIIT, and teaching POP Pilates classes. My calories came from vegetables and protein mainly. I wasn't allowed fruit, grains, or fat sources. I became SO tired and irritable. Some days I literally had no energy to do anything. I would just fall asleep. My mind was foggy and I couldn't concentrate. So, for 8 to 10 weeks I endured this crazy plan, I did the bikini competition with my new, lean body, and then I decided to go back to “normal-healthy.” I decided to introduce a variety of foods back into my diet, like brown rice, quinoa and different types of protein - not just chicken breast and tilapia. I'm talking salmon people! Salmon. Well let me tell you, my body did NOT like that. My body acted like a sponge. SOAKING EVERYTHING UP. For the next 3 years, I gradually gained weight. And there was nothing I could do to stop it. During this time, I was STILL working out really hard for about 1 hr a day like a normal healthy person! But my body just didn’t respond. It backfired and rebelled instead! It was seriously so frustrating because in my mind, I was doing everything right. Diet + exercise should = weight loss or at least maintenance. But because of the damage and stress that I put on my body during that bikini prep, my hormones changed...in a bad way. Cortisol, the stress hormone, increases when you significantly lower your calories, over-exercise and/or don't have enough sleep. And cortisol plays a role in increasing abdominal fat! Even more specifically, LOWER BELLY FAT. AHH. This stress also decreases leptin, the hormone that controls your appetite. So, you feel EXTRA hungry all the time and it’s likely that you may crave those carby, high-fat foods. That’s EXACTLY what happened to me! Beyond the scientific reasons for my weight gain, it was very much a psychological game. When I was dieting like crazy, I was labelling food as “good” and “bad”. I felt like I was trapped in food jail. But you know what happens when you start labelling food as bad? You start craving everything you CAN'T HAVE, even if you never liked it to begin with! All I wanted for some reason was cereal and bread! I honestly never cared too much for those things before. And now, they were controlling me. It even got so bad that I would look at a banana and think "OMG, it's going to make me so fat." I feared bananas for crying out loud. Metabolic damage doesn’t just happen to people who do bikini competitions. It happens to anyone who puts themselves through extreme dieting and exercise routines. Now listen up, I don’t want to scare you. Just because you see a plateau in weight loss and experience increased hunger, THIS DOES NOT MEAN you have metabolic disruption or adaptive thermogenesis.
Metabolic disruption includes many more severe symptoms:
-You literally cannot lose weight
-You become extremely bloated and “puffy” when you eat certain foods
-You become depressed and irritable
-You experience many digestive issues
-Hormonal dysfunction - lower levels of leptin and higher levels of cortisol
-Loss of motivation
-Loss of libido
-Amenorrhea (women will stop menstruating)
-You are cold all the timeSo, what do you do if you feel like something’s not right? It's the simplest answer. REST. RELAX. You need to sleep. Strive for about 8 hrs a day, so that you body an recalibrate itself. You need to stop restricting calories. You need to stop over-exercising. Look, I know this sounds weird. I know you won't want to do it. And I know you may think that you'll turn into a lump of a potato if you do this, but you won't. Because that's what I did, and it worked for me. Unfortunately, I resisted for 2 years as I slowly gained weight. It was a torturous time for me mentally. But in the 3rd year, I decided to just eat whatever I wanted and not work out as much and my body started to recalibrate. I allowed myself to relax. Then a mind shift happened. I realized, why the heck am I so concerned about my physique when really, I should be concentrating on working out because it makes me happy! And eating food because it makes me energized! When I stop focusing on the skinny and started focusing on the strong, I started to see results again. This was the inspiration that propelled the birth of PIIT28 - the Pilates Intense Interval Training program that I do every single day. It's what I look forward to because it makes me a happier, healthier, sharper and more invinceable person. And why wouldn't I want to do something that makes me feel that way?? And the best part is, it's only 28 min and 40 sec a day. If you want to hear more details of my personal story, please watch my video above! I hope you learned a lot from this post. I used to get mad that I wasted a few years of my life worrying about weight gain. But now, I understand why it happened. It happened for a reason. I am meant to share my story with you to help you find your joy in health again.
RESOURCEShttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3673773/ http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/88/4/906.full http://www.nature.com/ijo/journal/v34/n1s/full/ijo2010184a.html
You may be confused about the title of this blog because who wants to gain weight right!? Well, there are people who may be naturally skinny and want to add on some muscle mass, or there’s people who have been through unhealthy relationships with food and lost too much weight and are now looking to add back on a few pounds. Also, some people may be overcoming an illness and need to get back to an ideal weight. No matter what the reasoning is, here are some helpful tips for you to gain weight in a HEALTHY way.
But first, before I go any further …
When I say gain weight in a HEALTHY way, it DOESN’T mean you should go eat fast food like crazy and have a YOLO meal all day every day. There are ways to gain weight while optimizing health. You need nutrients to give your body what it needs to GROW.
I want you to record WHAT you eat, WHEN you eat and HOW you feel. Recording what you’re eating will help you identify where you can improve your eating habits and potentially add more to your meals and snacks. You can keep a food diary in an organized fashion with the Blogilates Fit Journal or in an app like MyFitnessPal. You may not realize how LITTLE food you’re eating and it can be a “wake-up call” to simply eat better or more. Also, recording when you eat, can help you add snacks into your day if needed. You may also notice patterns forming from when you eat and how you feel. If you notice that you get very tired and sluggish mid-afternoon, and you didn’t eat very much for lunch, then this would be a good opportunity to add a well-balanced lunch and mid-afternoon snack into your day. You don’t have to keep a food diary forever, but do this for a week or 2 to notice patterns in your eating habits. Then you can make changes.
2. Eat Nutrient Dense Foods
You may not realize it, but your diet may consist of food that simply has calories, but not much nutritional value to it. Instead, nutrient-dense foods have a lot of nutrients for their calorie content. This includes vitamins, minerals, complex carbs, lean proteins and healthy fats. Examples of nutrient-dense foods are whole-grains, lean proteins, dairy products, nuts and seeds. In comparison, less nutrient-dense foods are like rice cake, crackers, cookies, soda and juice. Those foods may taste good and give you some energy, but they aren’t really adding anything to support a healthy weight gain. Think about food quality instead of low-calorie snacks.
3. Eat Enough Protein
Eating an adequate amount of protein will help support your muscle mass and growth – and that is one thing that you do NOT want to deteriorate! Also, if you’re active then you REALLY need to ensure you meet your protein requirements. You don’t want to burn protein calories because you want the protein to support your cells, muscles and growth. Most people aren’t aware of how much protein they need. A general recommendation is between 0.8g-1g of protein per pound of body weight. So if you weigh 130lbs you should have about 104 to 130g of protein each day. Stick with the healthiest protein choices such as lean meats, non-fat yogurts, cottage cheese, and fish. Beans, tofu, tempeh and legumes are also high in protein if you don’t eat meat!
4. Drink smoothies and shakes!
Meal replacement shakes are a great way to add in nutrient dense calories without overstuffing your belly. Make sure that the shake mix you choose has healthy carbs, fats, fiber and protein in it with not too much added sugar. You want to make sure that you are FULL before you next meal. So, look for shakes that have at least 325-400 calories with 15-25 g of protein, 5 g of fiber and 10-13 g of healthy fat.
5. Add Extras
If you don’t want to increase your portions of certain foods, instead you can add healthy toppings to your snacks and meals. Try adding nut butters to smoothies, nuts/seeds to yogurt, oatmeal, or cereal. Perhaps more cheese, avocados, and protein to salads. All these small additions will help you increase your calorie intake while adding some taste and nutrition to your food as well!
6. Exercise for your Goals
Gaining weight doesn’t mean you have to stop all exercise. Instead, exercise for YOUR personal goals. This means cutting back on cardio and doing more strength training to build up your muscle mass. Exercise can also help stimulate your appetite, which will also help you increase your intake. Remember that when you add strength training to your routine and you’re building muscle, your body naturally needs more fuel to support itself – therefore eating enough is essential. So, more resistance training, less cardio and you’ll see that healthy lean muscle start to form!
7. Be Patient and Set Reasonable Goals
Gaining weight is much the same as losing weight in the sense that it shouldn’t be rushed and it won’t happen over night. Did you know that one pound of fat is eating an EXTRA 3,500 calories a day ON TOP of what you already need to eat. Therefore, gaining is still a process. But if you’re someone who’s been restricting food severely you may gain weight quicker – and that’s okay! Remember that gaining weight isn’t always a BAD thing. You’ll know if you’re reaching a healthier weight if you start feeling better, have increased energy and don’t feel as tired and irritable throughout your day. Focus on you and trust the process.
Weight Gain Journeys
Here are some POPsters who have gone through some healthy weight gaining journeys!
Isabelle (@thefitbelle) was less than 90lbs and now she’s around 118lb! After a year of changing her lifestyle, she was able to make better eating and exercise habits. She found happiness and is full of much more energy than she was before! We are so happy with her results and think she looks BEAUTIFUL!
Cynthia (@cynthiatmore) proves that the scale DOESN’T matter. She weighs less in the first pic because she was obsessed with seeing a low number on the scale, yet she didn’t have any muscle mass. Once she started focusing on a balanced lifestyle, eating more and exercising for her goals, her body thanked her for it. She’s looking healthy and STRONG!
"My name is XXXXX, I'm the owner of XXXXX...I see you wrote a blog post about detox teas. I am asking that you please remove my brand name from the title tag. We are a small family run business that works extremely hard...I am working 50 plus hours week trying to support my family, so I am asking you to please remove my brand name."LIES. LIES. LIES. You have enough money to pay ALL the Kardashian sisters but you're trying to play the pity card on me? I hope you see what's happening here. Everything that you think is authentic could very well not be. From lies in photos to lies in emails, it's so overwhelming to have to sit here, sift through the facts, and wonder what's real and what's not. And now, all of a sudden, my real, worked-hard-for for body is competing against a plastic body. The Kardashians have promoted their plastic surgeon Dr. Simon Ourian numerous times on their show and now the guy has over 1.2 MILLION followers. Check out this procedure which costs anywhere between $15k to $40k: I would rather spend $15-$40k on eating ALL organic food, an Equinox membership, and all the fitness clothes my heart desires. But that's me. And who am I to judge women who want to alter their bodies. It is theirs and theirs to change how they would like. My problem is that social media is now exposing plastic surgery to girls as a solution for looking better and feeling better about yourself. What if girls find plastic surgery before they find fitness? What if they begin to think that spending your money on injecting your butt is better than spending money on your education? It worries me. A lot. My heart is thumping hard as I write this. My chest is hot. Some may argue that getting plastic surgery is like getting your hair dyed. Same thing. You're changing yourself. You want to be more beautiful, so both are vain. Yeah....except one involves a knife going in you and we don't even know the long term effects of these foreign objects being in your body over time. Will beauty end up killing you? I don't know. But I'm not willing to be the guinea pig. "Stop comparing yourself Cassey! You always said that comparison is the thief of joy!" The truth is, I'm not comparing myself to them. The followers are. And what the followers think becomes the new ideal whether I like it or not. I feel it happening. They're telling me I need to have a big butt in order to "sell" my butt routine. And when I say sell, I mean, just watch my IG video and give it a like. But I'll keep being me and keep being happy with what I have because I know how trends are. They're in then they're out. It's like fast fashion. Back in the 1920's having a flat chest was in. Now, super butts are in. What's next? Will your body be on trend? Will you alter yourself just to "fit in"? The people used to think magazine covers were the beauty standards. Now, Instagram pics are the new beauty standard. How long will it take for people to realize that what they're seeing on IG is not real? Maybe as long as it took us to realize that magazine covers were photoshopped.
HOW TO REVIEW A PODCAST ON YOUR PHONE:#1. Go to your iTunes app and click search. Type in "sheroic" and you will find us! Click on the cape shoe! #2. Then click "SUBSCRIBE" and tap "Reviews". #3. Down in the center of the page, click "Write a Review". #4. Tap however many stars you think we deserve (umm 5 ok?), write a lil message for me, and then hit send!
HOW TO REVIEW A PODCAST ON YOUR COMPUTER:
#1. Go to bit.ly/besheroic and click on "View in iTunes".
#2. Once you're in iTunes, click "subscribe".
#3. Then click on "ratings and reviews."#4. Once you're here, click the amount of stars you think we're worthy of, leave a message, and hit "submit". That is all! Let me know in the comments what topics you'd like Lisa and I to cover next! Love you so much!