These inspiring ladies prove that fitness is not about fad diets and weight loss. It's about feeling (and being) strong.
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Kelsey Wells has long been preaching that weight is just a number. In the first pic, Wells looks pretty great at 145 pounds. In the second, she hits her goal weight of 122 pounds. In the final snap, where she shows off some serious muscle definition, she's a full 18 pounds heavier with a final weigh-in of 140 pounds.
"THANK GOODNESS I finally learned to start measuring my progress by things that matter—strength, ability, endurance, health, and HAPPINESS," Wells wrote in her post. "I have never been more comfortable in my own skin than I am now. And if I didn't say #screwthescale long ago, I would have given up on my journey."
Photo: Kelsey Wells
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Alex went from anxiously weighing herself every day to just focusing on making healthy living a lifestyle. Now, even though she weighs more today than she did when she was obsessively counting calories, Alex looks and feels better than she ever has. "The number on the scale does not define or indicate your level of health or fitness," she recently wrote in an Instagram post. "If I only knew then what I knew today: That body weight does not equal body composition, that cardio isn’t the only way to workout, that nutrition does now equal low-calorie, low-carb, or low-fat [and most of all] that consistency is key." (Did you know that an elimination diet probably won't help you lose weight?)
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It's important to love your body at all stages—and that's the message the creator of gaines4girls, is trying to send. In the picture on the left, Aby says she weighs about 116 pounds versus the picture on the right where she's 136 pounds. Even though she loves her body at both weights, she explains how she has more energy now than ever before. "Do what YOU love, because if you do that I feel like you can't help but learn to love yourself in the process," she said on Instagram. We couldn't agree more.
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In 2015, Anne decided she was going to gain more muscle and focus on toning her body. Today, while she's 15 pounds heavier than before, she feels stronger and more confident than ever. "To some people, it's about being as teeny weeny as possible. To see the number on the scale be as low as possible," she says. "Personally, I like having muscle, shape, and curves. Being strong and healthy is important to me." It's always refreshing to see people whose physical health goals, like their strength, are more important than their weight. (This is exactly why more women are trying to gain weight through diet and exercise.)
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As part of the #gainingweightiscool trend on Instagram, fitness influencer @aubernutter shared how proud she is of her strength and the muscles she's worked so hard to build. "Self-love and confidence in the skin you're in is so important," she said. "Your mental health is important. Your struggles and feelings are valid. Everyone needs to be told that they are valued, loved and that things will get better."
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After completing a year and a half of Kayla Itsines' Bikini Body Guide (BBG) program, Jessica was shocked to find herself gaining weight instead losing any while looking more fit and toned. "I gained 4kg (8 pounds) during my BBG journey and have never felt better," she wrote on Instagram. "When you work hard at something, you feel good, and when you work hard on yourself, you feel AMAZING."
Katie Scarlett Lolas
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Katie Scarlett Lolas is known for sharing transformation photos flaunting her weight gain. "The moment I stopped focusing on my weight was the moment I took the first step towards really transforming the way I looked and felt about myself," she recently shared on Instagram. "I am proud because I no longer define my worth by my weight. I am proud because I have muscles and I feel strong. I want you to be able to make yourself proud too."
Photo: Katie Scarlett Lolas
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To show that good health can be measured in many different ways, Samantha Faye shared this picture flaunting her weight gain. "Left is 7/19/2016 and the right is 1/2/2017," she wrote alongside the snap. "I weigh 10-12 pounds more in the photo on the right. My legs and glutes have grown, my body fat % has gone down significantly, and I feel fantastic." (Related: This New Health Measure Will Change the Way You See the Scale)
Photo: Samantha Faye
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To some degree, life is about whatever makes you feel happy, healthy, and empowered, which is why fitness influencer Teagan wants you to stop feeling anxious about the numbers on the scale. "Weight is a terrible thing to obsess over and an extremely unreliable reflection of your health," she recently wrote on Instagram. "I remember being so happy at the first photo and how skinny I was—ah, how times have changed. Now it's all about how feeding my growing [body] with healthy carbs, fat, and protein." (Related: How Bad and Good Carbs Affect Your Brain)
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You don't need to be a certain size to be healthy, which is why this fitness blogger shared why her weight gain has been an empowering experience. "Don't be fooled or ruled by the number on the scale," she wrote on Instagram. "I'm actually 3kg heavier in the right picture compared to the left. I am eating more than ever, stronger than ever and enjoying training 3 times a week. It's important to acknowledge progress when things feel tough."