"I’m learning to embrace my body as it finds its new and healthy normal."

Susan Brickell
May 31, 2018

At the end of the day, the number on the scale is just that—a number. Gaining weight and muscle in order to be a healthier version of you is nothing to fear, and certainly not the end of the world, Julia of genuinely_jules wants her more than 30K Instagram followers to know.

This fitness influencer, who once had an unhealthy, distorted view of her own body, has gained 20 pounds and gone up several pant sizes in the last few years. The result? She's happy and radiating confidence. She's become a voice for recovery and self-care, encouraging others to view food as fuel for the body.

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“Maintaining such a low body weight and BF %, afraid of weights for the fear of gaining muscle and weight was not healthy,” she wrote in an Instagram post earlier this week.

In her transformation post, she revealed how her body and mind have changed for the better since gaining the weight. She recognizes that her 105-pound self was “unhealthy," because she had an unhealthy relationship with food, and indicates that her currently “healthy” 125-pound self makes her much happier. 

She tells Health that she decided to make a change because she knew her life was at stake. "By continuing the cycle of restriction, I was only doing a disservice to myself and my future," Julia says. As her body changed, she embraced her weight gain because it allowed her live her life more fully. "I am no longer afraid to go shopping for fear of not fitting into the smallest size or [go] out to eat for fear of calories consumed and can fully enjoy my life with friends, family, and FOOD!"

I have gone up 3 pant sizes and gained 20 pounds since the photo on the left was taken 3 years ago. Most women would be terrified of the prospect of gaining a pant size every year. For me, I’m learning to embrace my body as it finds its new and healthy normal. I no longer associate weight gain with failure and weight loss with success. I view each day as an opportunity to make healthy choices that will better myself-physically, socially, emotionally, and professionally. I still love getting all my veggies and water in, but I also love French fries and a glass of wine. I still love running, but I don’t force myself to run countless miles everyday, watching the watch burn off calorie after calorie. I’ve learned that sometimes you need to say no to the gym in order to thrive in your professional and social life. I’ve learned to listen to my body when it’s hungry by giving it the fuel it’s asking me for. I’ve found I have more energy for life and am the happiest I’ve ever been by adding more food and caring less about the exact grams I’m putting in my body. • Note: I don’t always list weight or sizes, but found it to be relevant tonight as I went to buy new pants this weekend and found the size 4 was the best fit in most of the pants I tried on. In the past, I would have really let this negatively affect my relationship with food and exercise for weeks until I could get back into a smaller size. This time, I turned around and admired the 🍑 and bought the pants because they looked good and I felt great. Booya, take that ED! The bum is back!

A post shared by Julia ❁ Recovery ❁ Fitness (@genuinely_jules) on

In a post from April, Julia shared that she listens to her body when it is hungry, and by increasing her food intake, she’s become more energetic and is truly at her happiest. “I no longer associate weight gain with failure and weight loss with success," she wrote. "I view each day as an opportunity to make healthy choices that will better myself-physically, socially, emotionally, and professionally.” 

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Nor is she obsessing over going up a size. “In the past, I would have really let this negatively affect my relationship with food and exercise for weeks until I could get back into a smaller size," she captions her post. And what did she do this time? She admired her rockin’ booty, and bought the size 4 pants because they looked and felt amazing.