How This Woman Finally Learned That Being Healthy Has Nothing to Do with the Way You Look
Elianne Alexander wasn't always a fitness influencer posting fun workouts and body-positive memes. Here, she shares how it took her 16 years to really understand what it means to be healthy and confident.
Fitness influencer Elianne Alexander has spent the past year and a half lifting the veil off #fitspo and inspiring people to strive for a healthy lifestyle instead of a certain look. One glance at her Instagram and you might assume that health and wellness come easily to her. But she'll be the first to admit that the journey to get to this place has been anything but easy. (Related: 10 Fit Women Proving That the Idealism Behind the "Perfect Body" Is Utter Nonsense)
In a recent Instagram post, the cofounder of Fit With Bae opened up about the incredible transformation she's undergone over the past 16 years. She shared her experience going from dangerously thin, to overweight, and now, finally at a healthy, happy weight by successfully balancing her cravings and making fitness a priority in her everyday life.
"When I was younger, I thought the more bones you saw, the more attractive a woman was," Alexander tells us exclusively. "That was my definition of beauty."
Health wasn't the priority for her at the time-especially since her life revolved around the desire to look a certain way. "The thought of hitting the gym never crossed my mind when I was 20," she says. "Instead, I would just not eat for periods at a time and eventually binge eat because I was starving."
The vicious cycle continued until Elianne got pregnant at 23 years old. "I was so underweight that my doctor said I was too unhealthy to carry a child to term."
At that point, she knew something had to change and finally started eating more-but didn't' realize that "eating for two" is actually a misconception. She ended up gaining 90+ pounds, and she says this made her feel more disconnected with her body than ever before. "Not only did I not feel good about myself because I was the heaviest I'd ever been, but because my frame was so small it was very difficult for me to carry that weight," she tells us. "Something as simple as walking a mile was hard for me."
In an attempt to lose the weight and gain some strength, Alexander decided to try the Atkins diet and also began doing some basic cardio at the gym. While the strict low-carb diet may have kick-started her weight loss, she ended up sticking with it for two years before trying cleanses and then struggling with yo-yo dieting for the eight years that followed. "I will still so afraid of gaining weight again," she says. "I would drink all sorts of different juices and mix concoctions just so I wouldn't have to eat solid food." (Related: This Fitness Blogger Proves Weight Is Just a Number)
It wasn't till August 2015, when she fell in love with group fitness, that her perspective started to change. "By becoming involved in the fitness community, I learned a ton about the body, stopped looking for a certain physique, and no longer felt the need to dissect my body the way I used to," she says. (Related: Should You Workout Alone or With a Group?)
Now her drive and commitment stem from how she feels, not how she looks. "My goals now are focused on what my body can do and accomplish versus what I want to see in the mirror," she says. "That just doesn't matter to me anymore."
And while she's all about giving yourself a break from time to time, she presses on the importance of making fitness and healthy eating a part of your lifestyle. "Fit it into your schedule like it's something you have to do," she says. "You brush your teeth every day, you go to work every day-and working out has to be like that. Make it a habit and not a chore."