Kathleen Kamphausen

Candice Huffine, 30, has been a plus-size model since she signed her first modeling contract at age 15. She moved from Bowie, Maryland, to New York City right after high school to pursue her career. Since then, she’s traveled from England to Sweden and Morocco for work. She’s been featured on the cover of Italian Vogue, in V Magazine, and in the 2015 Pirelli Calendar, among many other publications. She’s currently working with H&M and carved some time to talk to Cosmopolitan.com about her career and awesome attitude.

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What was the first time modeling entered your mind?

Gosh, I have no idea. When I was a kid, I just thought I was adorable, and I always wanted to pose. I wanted to have other people look at my poses, and I wanted a bunch of photos taken of me. I know it sounds so vain, but it was really fun and I loved it.

Certain kids grow up without very much confidence and certain kids just, like, have it. Where do you think your confidence came from?

I think it stemmed from my upbringing at home and my mom. We never discussed size or beauty in a way that, like, you shouldn’t feel so proud of yourself or you should feel more proud of yourself or whatever. She told me that I was beautiful and that I could do whatever I wanted to, and if my weight fluctuated — and it certainly did — I didn’t get flack for that.

Were you overweight as a child?

I went through a stage where my body was trying to figure itself out and I was growing in one direction before I was growing in another direction. And that’s fine, it happens. My mom didn’t put me on a diet; she didn’t tell me that I needed to make all these drastic changes. The body changes. We just always went with the flow.

When you got into modeling, did you feel like there was special scrutiny on your body?

No, not at all. I was 15 and a size 8, probably because I was tall. But I was signed as a plus model immediately. I didn’t even know that plus modeling existed, so I needed them to explain to me what that was: Another division set up for girls who weren’t a sample size. To tell a 15-year-old she’s plus-size is extremely confusing — especially for me because I was a cheerleader, and I thought I had this, like, very slim, trim body. I didn’t realize this label existed in the modeling world or that I would be tagged with it. But I thought it was great that I could be exactly what I wanted (a model), and I didn’t have to change. I got work immediately.

It’s amazing that being labeled didn’t affect you. Many women are torn apart if they don’t fit into a particular pair of jeans or need to go up a size.

The “plus-size” label exists in the modeling industry because the client needs to know what to ask for if they want to hire a model who’s a size 14. So many plus-women are offended that models are being called “plus-size.” But I think we’ve put a bit too much time and effort, or weight — no pun intended — on the term.

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Looking back over the year we are about to close out and sifting through the archives…getting glammed by the queen @patmcgrathreal for #THECAL2015 was an unbelievable highlight!!! #whatayear #thesearethedays #thankful #cheersto2015 #behindthescenes #fiercebeat #patmcgrath #candicehuffine #musemodelsnyc

A post shared by Candice Huffine (@candicehuffine) on Dec 31, 2014 at 11:32am PST

Do you feel like it’s becoming an increasingly good time to be a “plus-size” model?

Absolutely. Now people are opening their minds, realizing that you can put a plus-size model in your advertisement or commercial or whatever, and you don’t even have to draw attention like, “Look what we did! We put a plus girl in there!” And it’s only going to have a positive effect.

What kind of misconceptions do you feel like people have about plus-size modeling?

People think we’re unhealthy, plain and simple. And that’s not the case. So whereas on one hand, there’s so much praise and excitement for women like myself or other plus models for showcasing their bodies very proudly, you can’t please everyone. There’s always going to be a small group of people that thinks you’ve just, you know, eaten an entire pizza. It’s not that way.

Well, you look super-healthy, to me. You’re the picture of health.

Thanks! We are super-healthy. Plus models that I know are some of the healthiest girls I’ve ever seen. They’re yoga teachers, they eat strictly organic foods, or they’re vegans or whatever. I can’t reiterate enough that this is just the way our bodies are supposed to be. I’m extremely active. You don’t see me dwindling down to a size 6 because my body’s not meant to be a size 6.

Did you start working out when you get into modeling? What’s your motivation?

Well, I’ve always been active. In high school, I was a cheerleader. I played lacrosse. It just feels good. It’s not a weight loss thing whatsoever.

Would you be penalized if you did lose weight? Would you get less work?

No, there’s work for girls of all sizes. You see a lot of women that are a size 8 working. It just so happens that they’re called “plus-size” models too, and then it gets all confusing.

Speaking of a “plus-size” model who is a size 8, are you technically a “plus size”?

Well, yeah. I mean, I am between a size 12 and a 14, and sometimes a store will not carry past a 12. Sometimes they won’t carry past a 10. It’s a very blurred line for which stores I can shop in, depending on how high they go in their sizing. When they don’t carry your size, it takes you out of the store entirely.

Do you ever feel like you have been penalized, in terms of your career, for not being a big enough size?

No. I mean, I think that the clients that need me at the size that I am are the ones that will hire me. There’s lots of different girls with different shapes. I mean, I’m not necessarily the same size 12 as another girl that’s on the board, just because we are proportioned differently. I’m not offended or worried that I need to make any changes or anything.

What’s your regular fitness routine like?

I try to do something active every day. On the days that I can’t, I don’t beat myself up for it because I live in New York City and I try to walk everywhere that I can.

My husband is a triathlete, so I’ve been inspired by his training routine (even though I can’t match that whatsoever).

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Love is in the air!!!! #aruba #onehappyisland #midushi #blackspicer #allyouneedislove

A post shared by Candice Huffine (@candicehuffine) on Sep 27, 2014 at 7:55pm PDT

I’m doing this new thing this year where I try to run a mile a day. I’m not a great runner, and I find it extremely overwhelming to say, “Now I’m gonna go for a 30-minute run.” Because I can’t run for a whole 30 minutes. Instead, I just start small, and say, “I’m going to run one mile.” It’s really just 15 minutes, and it’s less daunting. You just can’t go from zero to 60 basically, but my end goal is to be able to finish a 5K without stopping or one day down the line to do a half marathon.

I’m also a member of ClassPass. Even though I’m doing this running thing on the treadmill, it’s a bit like, “I’m not a gerbil. I can’t just run in place all the time as my only workout,” because it gets boring. You need to keep it fun. So I thought ClassPass was pretty genius and depending on where I’m shooting, I can see what class is nearby and try new things. So far I’ve only done spinning, but I want to go rock climbing and try boot camp. I like to box, and I have a trainer (Chris Sams) that comes to our place twice a week when I’m around. I feel like that’s the new model workout. Everyone’s boxing.

I get setbacks occasionally, because of my travel schedule. So I need to make sure to do things myself while I’m gone to keep up momentum. You just feel so much better when you’re done. It’s like, “Why did I make so many excuses before?” Otherwise, you feel like you’re restarting, and you get really sore and want to take time off, and it’s an ongoing thing. But the point is to be doing something — just doing something makes you feel better. It’s, like, one of my favorite hashtags on Instagram right now, from the athletic brand Without Walls: #GetMovingHaveFun.

Speaking of, do you have any trouble finding fitness apparel that makes you feel good?

Without Walls makes all these fun pants. Zella from Nordstrom makes amazing plus activewear, and Lane Bryant just started a new athletic line. I’ve been in the industry a really long time, and I’ve watched plus fashion change. It’s amazing to see designers who previously haven’t been involved in plus-fashion linking up with plus-brands or expanding their own sizes and doing their own thing. There’s a lot more options now, and that excites me because as a woman, because all these stores exist with all these different trends and options you’re supposed to have fun with. We all deserve to wear the things that we love.

Considering the way you feel about fashion for all, how do you feel about Fashion Week? You rarely see plus-size models cast in shows.

I feel like it will come soon. You’re seeing curvy girls in all different kinds of publications and doing all these amazing things. Fashion Week happens to be slowly arriving to the party. That’s a common question, like, “When do you think curves will be on the runway?” It would be a bold statement for a designer to make, because it would imply they’re starting to do a plus line. If that’s not their intention, then I can see how that could be a little bit confusing. But it only takes one, so I’m really confident that that is the next thing, for sure.

There’s a very big gap between what you see on the runway and plus-size. Why do you think designers don’t meet in the middle?

It’s hard to say what happens on that end of things, but the whole time I’ve been in the industry that’s the only thing I’ve seen. For a while there, you only saw the same kind of girls in magazines too, and that’s changed. For Fashion Week, we’ve seen the same thing over and over, and so I just know that that has to change. It will.

You seem really patient.

It’s true. It’s true, but I just know it will happen. Definitely.

Are you ever cast in a shoot where there are plus-size models and, I don’t even know what you would call them, but “regular” models?

We say straight-size, but that’s sort of odd too. But yes, absolutely, I’ve been on lots of editorial shoots with straight-size girls. I did W magazine twice, and I was the only plus model in that, and I was in the Pirelli Calendar and on a big press tour for that. I don’t even give it a second thought because I know I’m a good model; I know there’s a reason why I’m there. I’ve thanked the editors and stylists who cast me in editorials a million times for integrating me without making it a thing, calling me out to say, “plus model Candice Huffine.” It’s exciting because that means, you know, these people, they just get it, and they know that differences are beautiful and women come in all shapes and sizes.

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More from the ever so lovely and glam @lovepanache! Shot by @marknewton67 in beautiful Palm Springs! #lovepanache #candicehuffine #milkmodelmanagement #musemodelsnyc

A post shared by Candice Huffine (@candicehuffine) on Jan 21, 2015 at 9:52am PST

Has there ever been a situation, even in a casting or on set, where you doubted yourself or your body?

No. I mean not at all. There have been frustrating moments, where it’s like I really want to wear that outfit that doesn’t fit me. And it’s a little bit of a process to get the looks together, and I’m there like, “Bah, I just want to wear that over there,” so that happens. It doesn’t make me feel bad; it’s just frustrating because I love fashion and I want to wear everything.

Nobody’s ever made me feel like I didn’t belong there. The other models I’ve worked with, regardless of their size, have all been super-nice. We’ve all just sat around and chatted, and there is no weirdness.

Do you feel like you are healthier than some of the straight-size models that you’ve worked with?

Well, I don’t really know what their lifestyle is or their habits, but I will say they are totally eating on set. It’s such a shame that people think plus models overeat and regular models don’t eat at all. It’s got to be such a hard thing for them to always be trying to defend. We probably lead the same kind of lifestyle — me and another model out there probably both ate pizza yesterday. And then we also probably both had a green juice this morning. It’s just the way their body is and the way my body is.

Did you really eat pizza yesterday?

I really did eat pizza. Because I travel a lot, I make the best decisions I can in the situations I am in, but sometimes it’s just a sandwich on the go or whatever you can grab. Catering is usually really nice on sets, and there’s a lot of vegetables and salad options — I love fresh salads and vegetables and things like that. I love the little cheat foods as well. But because I am on the go a lot, I need to keep my energy up and feel good, in general. So I need to make good choices.

When I’m home, we do a lot of smoothies in the morning (that’s my husband’s doing). It’s the best thing for cleaning out the fridge. For breakfast, I’m an eggs kind of gal — usually scrambled, or on Sundays, eggs benedict. Lunch is usually a salad. I love that, in New York, you can just go up to a chopped salad bar, and be like, “I want this, this, this, this.” The next thing you know, you have 11 things in there. So that makes it easy to get some veggies in. And then for dinner, I like to cook a lot because I’m away so much that I tend to crave just being home and super-simple foods. I like roast chicken, a baked potato, and a salad. I know a baked potato is not the most healthy thing, but I’m not loading it. I just always like a starch like a mashed potato, a baked potato, or a French fry. That’s my weakness, mostly.

What’s your advice for people who get frustrated when they can’t fit into clothes because they can’t find styles they like in their size?

You just have to keep trying, even the things you think aren’t going to fit you or styles you don’t think are for you. Sometimes I fall into a rut of my own personal style, where I wear really relaxed pieces that tend to be a little bit shapeless. Today I’m in this tight dress, which is a little different for me, but I want to try and do that more.

Try searching online: There are amazing plus bloggers, like Nicolette Mason, whose style is very sweet and girly and the total opposite from the way I dress. But there’s something about the way she puts it all together that makes me think I could try that. All of these bloggers have different styles, and they link to the pieces they’ve found. There are options. Or there will be. Everything is possible.

Follow Elizabeth on Twitter.

Related: Watch Sophie Simmons interview Orange Is the New Black’s Dascha Polanco about body image.

Elizabeth Narins Senior fitness and health editor Elizabeth Narins is a Brooklyn, NY-based writer and a former senior editor at Cosmopolitan.com, where she wrote about fitness, health, and more.

Plus-size models share their fitness secrets

1 of 5Bella Model Management ABBY VALDES: “First of all I try not to dehumanise myself by comparing myself to thousands of other women. I am not them and they are not me. You should never wish to be anyone else. You don’t know what issues they are battling. Then I pay attention to what I eat and how much I eat. I was raised eating very big portions and I also have a sweet tooth, so I have to be careful not to over indulge too much. And with exercise, if you hate exercising then you just need to figure out what you do love. I love rock climbing and weights.” 2 of 5Bella Model Management BRENNA: “I go to the gym three to four times a week and do interval training on the treadmill and cross trainer. I’m not great with weights as they bore me, but occasionally I force myself to do some. I also walk everywhere I can – incidental exercise is the best.” 3 of 5Bella Model Management GEORGINA BURKE: “I like to box because it’s fun and a good way to release stress. I don’t count calories or monitor everything that goes into my mouth — life is for living not counting!” 4 of 5Bella Model Management MERCY WATSON: “I live next to the ocean so I love soft sand running and swimming. Also as a model you often have to hold poses in unnatural positions for extended periods of time, which can put quite a bit of strain on your body. So to help with this I do reformer Pilates for realignment and to build up my core strength. I try stay away from processed foods and eat as much fresh produce as I can with lots of veggies, protein and whole grains, but I think the key is not to deprive yourself and just enjoy the less healthy options in moderation.” 5 of 5Bella Model Management FIONA FALKINER: “I really love staying active and getting outside for a walk/jog/ride. Or if it’s in the gym I’m a little obsessed with spin classes. I also practice yoga as I find it’s amazing for mind and body.”

We live in a world where the perfect body may or may not exist, but more often than not we receive all kinds of mixed messages indicating what society perceives as beautiful.

From a size six to the term plus-size, the reality is that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes, and it’s unrealistic to think otherwise.

Hayley Hasselhoff – daughter of David Hasselhoff – has been modelling in the plus-size world since the age of 14, and is more than proud to advocate for woman in and outside the fashion industry.

Instagram/hhasselhoff ROLE MODEL: Hayley Hasselhoff – daughter of David Hasselhoff – believes there’s no reason why plus-sized models shouldn’t get the same recognition as stick-thin ones.

“People always want to go to the extreme negative side of things, and it’s the same with plus-sized models. Plus size in the industry means curves.

“Let me break it down for you. Straight-sized boards are models size zero to six. Plus-size boards are models starting at a 10.

With more and more beautiful plus-size models appearing in our magazines, it’s important to note that they’re just as healthy as the person next to you, except one thing’s different – they’re not exercising themselves into the fashionable shape.

These women work out to be healthy, happy and confident that’s it.

To find out exactly how these extremely beautiful and curvy women stay fit and healthy in the model world, we chatted to five fashion insiders. Click through the gallery above to discover their fitness secrets.

– PopSugar

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Whether ectomorph, endomorph or mesomorph, different body types, and shapes deserve respect and treatment of equal measure. However, this is not the case among fat women and men, especially fat women who are willing to become skinny. The phenomenon that’s cherishing skinny girls while down looking upon the fat and the plus size is misplaced. Worsening this phenomenon is a section of blog posts, magazines, and articles dwelling on weight loss among the fat as a way of making them appealing and beautiful. The best antidote to this unpleasant view of plus size people, fat women and women is adoption and upholding plus size healthy diet habits practices, especially among the plus size people.

What is “Plus Size”

Image by Rene Pister from

There’s a big difference between the obese and the plus size people. While the obese are grossly overweight, the latter’s bodies are generally larger than the ideal size of ordinary individuals. It’s so unfortunate that a majority of these people don’t realize that a “skinny or slender” body isn’t the standard gauge for a healthy and beautiful body. Weight loss decisions adopted by such individuals is entirely pointless because no severe defects are emanating from their plus size bodies. So, the question is, “Why to fix what’s not broken?” Bree Warren’s case is proof enough that plus size bodies are not entirely awful since she faced less intimidation in the fashion industry. In her mind, she thinks that her body refreshes and rejuvenate those who come across her in the modeling industry.

Instead of focusing energy on weight loss, consideration of plus size healthy diet habits and patterns is a more viable choice and below are action-oriented healthy dietary practices that keep the body healthy, but not obese.

Our Top Five Picks

Our top five recommendations are plus size healthy diet habits focus on instilling confidence in victims as well as making them happy. A living testimony of the fruitful results of this diet is Bree Warren, the Queensland model after going platinum as the most sought-after plus-size model globally. She categorically reveals her two hacks; taking burgers and “having a tape measure waved in her face at dinner.”

  1. Keeping a food diary

A well-structured food diary helps you maintain a consistent diet, and this is the only ultimate method of manning your body activities. You can achieve this by jotting down all your favorite food and adhering to the diary religiously. From the log, you will quickly discover how to tweak your diet, through cutting the excess and topping up insufficient components, making it more balanced.

A perfect example of an excellent food diary is that of Ashley Graham. The model and body activist blend lemons, kales, apple, beets, ginger and parsley in her green juice for breakfast.

For lunch, she combines quinoa, brown rice, vegetables, and tahini. She wraps her day with a composition of sweet potatoes, baked salmons and arugula salad for dinner.

  1. Saying no to sugar

Sugars are the primary source of energy to the body, and so you need them. However, the sugar supply to the body must be at equilibrium because high levels lead to health complications such as obesity and diabetes. Take dietary caution to avoid consuming high levels of sugar that will end up harming you. Avoid high consumption of processed foodstuffs as they contain overwhelming amounts of sugars that are utterly harmful to the body. Whatever food or drink it is, never consume it if it doesn’t include a label indicating the nutritional values in it.

However, this measure at times faces a highly prevalent challenge because some people tend to take midnight snacks and soft drinks that disrupt the course of the excellent course of living a healthy lifestyle.

  1. Cutting carbohydrates

Carbohydrates lead to weight gain. They are broken down into sugars and energy that power cells and facilitate biochemical processes in the body. However, too many carbs are harmful because they are stored in the form of starch. So, the more you consume carbs, the more you keep piles and piles of fat in the adipose tissues. Therefore, the sole redemption from this occurrence of this phenomenon is cutting the amounts of carbs consumed. Just regulate it!

However, skipping is not an option in this approach. Skipping meals starves the body and deprive your body essential nutrients and energy required for optimal functionality of the body.

  1. Avoiding extremes

In pursuit of happiness, little mistakes usually come along the way and in this context, extreme actions are typical scenes. Too much determination ruins the maintenance of a healthy diet. You will notice that some individuals unreasonably cut sugars and calories too much to the extent that they end up suffering from insufficient sugar and calorie levels. One interesting thing about the body is that it won’t respond negatively to whatever conditions you put it in, it adapts fully.

The safe hack in regards to this is adhering to a controlled pattern of health maintenance practice. With a careful moderation, everything will fall in its place.

  1. Sticking to an exercise regimen that best works for you

History has it that a majority of people taking up exercise regimens start off on a high note, but the psych disappears with time, and at the end of the day, these individuals entirely abandon the culture of exercise. Why is it so hard to comply with these regiments?

The common mistake that most fat men and women do is picking intensive and hard exercise options that make them tiresome quickly. We’re not living not living in an ideal world, so why choose problematic exercises?

You can go for comfortable and enjoyable exercise options that you will want to take every day such as swimming, jogging, walking, rope jumping, stretching as well as better posture exercises. Some of these exercises won’t consume much of your time and cause you fewer strains. Despite the fact that they are light and less involving, they work just as well as the heavy exercises. Thus they are convenient and viable for maintenance and keeping the body fit.

Therefore, fat men and women should rule out the thought of losing weight and adopt the maintenance of healthy living through a plus size healthy diet habits aiming at maintaining their body size as well as simple exercise practices that complement diet.

Bree Warren is categorical on the importance of exercises and asserts that exercising is a source of work ethics. And this comes in handy with her modeling profession. As for Ashley Graham, kickboxing is her favorite workout choice, and this is an implication that the floor is open. One can maintain his or her preferred workout choice.

Conclusion

Ashley Graham and Bree Warren’s successes in their endeavors breath life into those who are plus size. Their cases is an indicator that such people have a purpose in life and all they need is confidence and the sense of self-acceptance to live a happy life just like anyone else. So, hurry up to make a plan of plus size healthy diet habits, living a confident happy life.

Ashley Graham can’t win. No matter what she looks like, whether she’s “too big” or “too small,” someone in the internet will always have an opinion on her body. Lately, the consensus is that she’s “too small,” with sites like HollywoodLife and the Daily Mail reporting that she’s lost 20 pounds.

On a recent episode of her podcast, Pretty Big Deal, the 30-year-old responded to the accusations after answering a question from a fan on why she works out before events, such as the Met Gala. The question came after Graham revealed in a previous episode that she prepares for big red carpets by self-caring, such as working out.

In her response, Graham explained that she worked out not to change herself physically, but for mental stability. “For me, going to the gym isn’t about losing weight. It’s about gaining, not only confidence, but there’s a mental stability that I get through it,” Graham said. “I get this euphoria. Your body, your brain is releasing endorphins when you work out. You just feel better when you leave the gym. You hate going. You love when you leave.”

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Loved talking at the #ForcesOfFashion panel with @voguemagazine 💛 dress @prabalgurung

A post shared by A S H L E Y G R A H A M (@ashleygraham) on Oct 11, 2018 at 5:23pm PDT

MORE: Why Model Candice Huffine Is Done Apologizing for Her Body

Graham also addressed the ongoing speculation over her body. She explained that she often looks different depending on what she’s wearing or what angle the photo is taken, but that doesn’t mean that she’s lost weight. And even if she did, she has one message to the haters: “It’s nobody’s business.”

“People think that working out sometimes equates to wanting to lose weight,” Graham said. “I’ve had so much backlash of certain angles or photos taken of me or dresses that make me look big or make me look small, and God forbid, she gains 20 pounds. God forbid, she loses 20 pounds.

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@violetabymango #iamwhatiam #violetabymango

A post shared by A S H L E Y G R A H A M (@ashleygraham) on Oct 15, 2018 at 11:30am PDT

MORE: How Fashion Vlogger and Curvy Model Alexandra Thomas Prioritizes Self-Care Over Scrolling

As for why she works out before red carpets, Graham said it’s not to fit into beauty standards but to feel as confident as possible. “The thing about the Met and big events like that, yes, it’s a 360 of judgement,” Graham said. “You’ve got cameras on every single angle. Everybody there looks incredible. I’m not trying to fit into any standard that people imagine me to fit into, but what I am trying to do is to feel my best because there are cameras, because I don’t want to have to think about, ‘Oh God! I don’t want them to get me from that angle!’ It’s really, truly about mentally feeling great.”

FANS have hit out at Ashley Graham’s svelte frame claiming she was losing her trademark curves.

The plus-size model, who regularly flaunts her figure, attended Vogue Magazine’s Force of Fashion summit alongside supermodels Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner.

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Loved talking at the #ForcesOfFashion panel with @voguemagazine 💛 dress @prabalgurung

A post shared by A S H L E Y G R A H A M (@ashleygraham) on Oct 11, 2018 at 5:23pm PDT

The 30-year-old wore a bold yellow, green and pink dress by Prabul Gurung, but fans noticed she looked considerably slimmer.

Ashley, who recently launched a clothing collection with PrettyLittleThing, posted a photo of her multi-coloured dress on her Instagram.

Despite receiving more than 450,000 likes, people slammed Ashley’s apparent weightloss.

She was accused of bowing to pressure to lose weight, and people questioned whether she was still classed as plus-size.

3 Fans noticed Ashley looked slimmerCredit: The Mega Agency

One commenter told her she was “too skinny”, while another person replied: “Looking good @ashleygraham but don’t get skinny on us!!!! You’re our idol.”

Others also claimed she was no longer plus-size, with one person commenting: “Love the dress , don’t lose anymore, as the whole thing was plus size.”

This commenter agreed, saying: “She isn’t plus size anymore in this picture she look super skinny only like a curvy girl but not a plus size.”

A third said: “Looks like you aren’t plus size anymore.”

3 People criticised her weight loss onlineCredit: Getty Images – Getty

Another person added: “My only concern is that Ashley’s the most popular “plus sized” model today, and if the most represented plus size model isn’t truly plus size..

“Then that’s a sad reflection on a whole group of plus size women that already don’t see a lot of representation for themselves.”

But people also defended Ashley, arguing it is her right to look however she wants.

This person said: “Yes she’s lost weight does it even matter she’s still hot, don’t be salty because she’s working out and you can’t be bothered with your own insecurities.”

3 Ashley hit out at her critics

No stranger to controversy over her weight, Ashley addressed it on the panel, and has posted about it in the past.

She revealed that she gets criticism every time she posts a workout video, with people telling her she “needs to be fat”.

Hitting out at her critics, she explained: “I don’t workout to loose weight or my curves bc I love the skin I’m in.”

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I Worked Out Like Ashley Graham And Here’s What Happened

Getty Images

It’s not a secret that the gym can be an intimidating place (for anyone), but it takes an especially brave soul to exercise as a plus-size person. You have to ignore the trolls on your workout selfies and the awful people who come up to you mid-push-up to tell you to stop trying (a real thing that happened to me). And you have to be able to ignore the incredulous voice of our culture at large, continually asking: How can someone be happy with their fat body and still work out?

Until we as a society shift our thinking towards fat acceptance and body positivity for all bodies, these will remain obstacles for plus-size people. But something we can do about it right now, individually, is to simply keep loving our bodies the way they are-and keep exercising. For inspiration, I look to none other than plus-size model and fitness enthusiast Ashley Graham.

Graham’s Instagram account is a major workout resource. Every few days, she posts a picture or video of her training. And these are not the photos or videos of a woman who’s taking it easy at the gym. They’re sweaty. They’re hardcore. They depict routines that probably warrant a doctor’s note if you’re working out for the first time. And they’re also an inspirational example for those of us who don’t care to work out out to lose weight, but instead do it to feel good, energized, and healthy.

So, partly because I just freaking love Ashley Graham, but mostly because I want to follow her good example, I decided to copy her workout routine for two weeks.

Let’s get this out of the way: I’ve seen so many exercise challenges and read so many fitness advice articles that claim doing a celebrity’s workout is all you need to do to get you a body like theirs-and I hate those articles. Aside from the fact that those types of stories don’t take into account health conditions, genetics, abilities, or even resources, why is the assumption always that we need (or even want) a body like someone else’s? So before you keep reading, know that this is not a story about my quest to get the same body as Ashley Graham. Instead, this is a story about a woman who works out (me), gaining workout inspiration from a famous woman who also likes to work out.

So with all that said, this is what I learned about my body-and fitness in general-after working out like Ashley Graham.

I’ll admit, I was a little intimidated to take on this challenge. I’ve been open about my workout history and have been a consistent athlete for most of my life. Even so, Graham is the#CurvyFitClub Queen, and I had recently been in a sort of fitness rut. For this week, I chose to pair cardio with Bulgarian split squats (with bicep curls to boot), burpees, kettlebell swings, and TRX bands, all inspired by AG’s Instagrams. The workout is more intense than what I normally do, but I was up for it.

I alternated between a running workout and a strength-training workout each day of the first week. The cardio days involved a 40-minute treadmill run consisting of: A 10-minute warm-up jog, then running on an incline for one minute, followed by two minutes of recovery time during which I slowed (and flattened) things down a bit. Graham doesn’t specify that she does this exact thing, but according to this running ‘gram, she is intensely doing cardio. So I looked up a cardio workout and found one that was more intense (within reason) than what I normally do.

For the strength training, I completed four sets of 10 reps of Bulgarian split squats with a 10-pound weight in each hand, three sets of 10 reps of kettlebell swings with a 15-pound kettlebell, and 20 TRX band push-ups and chest presses-I got these numbers based on what I could reasonably do. And, to be clear, I could barely do it: I wanted to die on day one, but I promise you it did get much easier, very soon.

By the end of the week, I went up in weight on the weighted split squats-going from 10 pounds in each hand to 20 pounds. Even though I was doing a whopping four sets of 10 reps on each leg, the amount wasn’t what was killing me. I realized every time my leg bent that I have the worst balance on the planet, which forced me to go a lot slower than I normally would when using weights (and slower means harder). The kettlebell stayed a consistent 15 pounds, as I was trying to be conscious of keeping my core and back stable to avoid causing an injury.

This is a lot more full-body movement than I’m used to doing, and as such it required a bit more thought on my part in terms of wardrobe. Yeah, sure, I can squat with the best of them, but when you’re doing as much dynamic movement as I was doing this week, you have to be very aware of the outfits you wear to the gym; everything has to be supported. (I lived my life in Rainbeau Curves tops and bras for this challenge, and man did they come through!)

More from Refinery29:

A Totally Shame-Free Guide to Your Body Fat

I Survived 6 Weeks of Crossfit As a Plus-Size, Body Positive Person

7 Arm Exercises You’ll Acutally Want to Do

Us humans are facing an ever-growing health crisis.

All the time you see headlines like World Faces Staggering Obesity Challenge, yet where does this get us?

People are getting fatter and fatter. They are dying of preventable illness. Their quality of life is significantly diminished by the way they look and feel and as a society what do we do for them?

We Shame Them

It’s only in recent years that companies like Dove, with its Real Beauty campaign, and plus-size models like Ashley Graham and Tess Holliday have made it socially acceptable to not look like Kate Moss.

Yet even recently, when Cosmo put Tess on its cover, she was forced to defend herself from shamers, beautifully telling them “Not to worry about my fat ass…”

Of course our definition of beauty is skewed towards tall, strong, chiseled, handsome men, and thin women, yet we all know that’s not what we are.

We are “normal.” Some of us are taller, fatter, skinnier, smarter, dumber, sexier, geekier than others…

And that’s all good. Our society measures us using the same stick, yet that ugly stick beats many of us down.

Einstein wrote, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

We all come from a different mold, and what matters most is that we are good with who we are.

All In Our Heads

A reason that plus-size (what does that even mean?) model Ashley Graham has become popular isn’t just because she more accurately reflects the “average” woman.

It’s because she looks like Ashley Graham, and she’s good with that.

Standing at 5’9, she’s about the same height as Victoria’s Secret angel Elsa Hosk, but with a 33 inch waist and 46 inch hips, she’s got about 10 inches more girth than the petite Swede.

There’s of course no denying that Hosk fits our more traditional definition of “hot,” which attracts men and traumatizes women of all ages.

As my friend, a model of all people put it, “If I don’t look like Elsa, then how does society judge me?”

“How you judge yourself!” I responded.

What’s “Simpler” Than Losing Weight?

Seriously?

You don’t have to be an expert on biology to see that the human machine more or less works on calories in and out. Sure, there’s plenty of nuances on weight, but the simple truth is that near-anybody can get into shape by changing inputs and outputs.

So, why are we so fat, and only getting fatter?

Why do the thousands of diets and exercise books fail our society?

Because weight loss has NOTHING to do with our bodies, and EVERYTHING to do with our minds.

Quite simply, there is nothing that your body can do on its own to gain or lose weight—“Its” shape is entirely dependent on what our brains choose to put in and burn off.

In nature “no body” would choose to eat excessively and carry around excess weight, but in human nature it’s not our bodies that are in control, our minds feed the machine.

The Biggest Loser

Do a few minutes research and it’s unclear how effective TVs Biggest Loser has been.

They certainly showed dramatic transformations. Some people got it back. Others kept it off. While the results are debatable, what’s interesting is their process.

One thing I’m told they did well on the show was that they didn’t just put people through extreme dieting and exercise but they also got them counseling, so they could focus on the core of the problem—their minds.

But of course that still failed most of them because changing minds requires more than a little counseling…

Deeply Change The Mind

Wizards in my world can “easily” help people shed a massive amount of weight in a few hours!

That’s because we’re not focused on the fat on their bodies, but on the patterns in their brain that keep them eating and exercising the same fat way.

Change the brain, and the programming will take care of itself—the body will develop the new healthy eating and exercise habits that shed weight and keep it off.

And while I’m making this sound easy, it requires a highly skilled operator, of which, truthfully, too few exist.

Whereas counselors, therapists, trainers, nutritionists can come at it the same old busted ways for years, transformation requires knowing what is going on inside that head, and actually being able to change it.

Men gain weight for lots of reasons, stress, anxiety, to feel “bigger,” loneliness, etc. being chief causes. With women you have the same family of causes, but it can often be more insidious in that many women suffer harassment by grotesque men—81% says NPR—which can lead them to gain weight to avoid that type of attention.

No matter what the cause, it’s in the head. And that’s how you get to a different effect.

Eating And Exercise Are An Effect

So many things in our society are backwards that it often leads me to think our society has been deliberately engineered for suffering.

While on the surface all the articles about our growing weight problems should signal that we want to do something about it, in fact, if you’re schooled in the art of propaganda, you know that it normalizes it, hence the trends continue…

Just like “Say No To Drugs,” which perversely normalizes drug use, the programming is busted, and hence every day more of us are saying yes.

The same is true of this “Next Great Public Health Hazard: Loneliness,” which is now being heavily “marketed” along with backwards solutions. (e.g. share your stories of loneliness. Ugh!)

Pushing thousands of diet and exercise books as the solution to our weight problems has the same perverse effect.

People feel shamed for being “lazy.” Guilty for eating poorly. Weak for knowing it’s “simple,” but being unable to do it.

And these emotions only reinforce the mental patterns that cause weight gain to begin with.

To truly address these problems in our society, we must start with the cause—nobody ever teaches us how to think and feel good.

P.S. You can read here more mindset articles.

And here you can listen to free audio tracks from the Masterclass on Building Your Limitless Mind.

YouTube star Nikkie de Jager just had one of her favorite people on her show. Jager was giddy as she chatted with one of her all-time heroes. Ashley Graham, who shared she was fat-shamed by a stylist last year, was very open in discussing the challenges that come with being in an industry full of, and dominated by, thin people. The two women were bonding over being plus-size in two very creative industries—which also means they are often very difficult industries.

Graham explains that, despite her status in the fashion industry, she still gets fat-shamed. Not OK. “The end of last year, I had a stylist and I couldn’t fit into these pants,” Graham explained as Jager did her makeup. “ smacked the side of my thighs and she said, ‘Ashley if you just got rid of that right there, you would be able to fit into these pants.’” UM—excuse me? Isn’t the point of a stylist to find clothes to fit you rather than the other way around?

Graham continued, saying she hopes to see the fashion and beauty industries evolve into something better.

“What I really want to see is that we don’t have to have this conversation diversity, that it’s already there,” she said. “Because that’s how the world is. We are all created so differently. We need to be able to embrace that and have this natural conversation around it instead of saying, ‘Oh, there’s a big girl in a magazine,’ or ‘Oh, we’ve got our black people,’ or ‘Oh, we have to make sure we include all gender.’ It’s like, just include everybody. At the end of the day, that’s just it.”

Nikkie de Jager/ YouTube.

Words to live by. In fact, To All The Boys I Loved Before actress Lana Condor shared a similar sentiment with ELLE Canada. The 21-year-old, who struggled with her own negative body issues for a while, said she doesn’t understand why women look at their imperfections in a negative light because that’s exactly what makes them unique.

Jager asked Graham how she handled the stylist— what did she say back? Graham said the worst part about the situation was that the stylist made her snarky comment in front of a room full of skinny models. But Graham stood her ground.

“OK, look. You know that first of all, I’m not going to lose weight to fit into a pair of pants,” the 31-year-old model told the stylist. “And second of all, you know who I am. I’m not about conforming to people like you.”

The stylist then apparently told Graham that she was “just joking.”

“That’s not ‘just joking,’” de Jager replied to Graham. And Graham agreed, saying one of the models pulled Graham aside later to say she appreciated her standing up for herself. “One of the came up to me and said, ‘Hey, I just want to let you know I appreciate you standing up for yourself,’” Graham told de Jager. It was probably inspiring for another woman to see and something she needed in that moment, almost as much as Graham.

Here’s a sweet moment from her time with Jager that Graham shared on Instagram yesterday. “Sang our way through a makeup tutorial you don’t want to miss! @nikkietutorials did my makeup and I’m fangirling over here 💋 link in bio to watch the full video,” the model wrote.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by A S H L E Y G R A H A M (@ashleygraham) on Mar 5, 2019 at 5:40pm PST

“I don’t work out to lose weight, I don’t work out because I want to be thin, I work out to stay healthy, strong, firm and to keep my mind clear. #nationalworkoutbuddyday thank you @kirastokesfit for kicking my ass!” Graham shared this video last week You go, girl!

View this post on Instagram

I don’t work out to lose weight, I don’t work out because I want to be thin, I work out to stay healthy, strong, firm and to keep my mind clear. #nationalworkoutbuddyday thank you @kirastokesfit for kicking my ass!

A post shared by A S H L E Y G R A H A M (@ashleygraham) on Mar 1, 2019 at 2:03pm PST

Fifteen years ago, on a quest to lose weight, I joined a Learn to Run 5K clinic. I was terrified, filled with worry that I would be the biggest, the slowest, or get left behind; I was certain I didn’t belong. On the first night, our run leader introduced herself and to my surprise, she was a plus-size athlete. Under her leadership, I realized that I could live my athletic dreams in the body I had without constantly battling with my weight. Quickly, my motives changed from trying to conform my body to a certain size to building the body I had into the strongest version of myself. It was one of the most freeing experiences of my life and it changed everything I thought I knew about fitness.

Today, I am a plus-size personal trainer and athlete on a mission to change how our society views athleticism. Ten years ago I opened a business called Body Exchange, a fitness boot camp dedicated to plus-size women. Since opening my business I’ve trained thousands of plus-women and guided them to realizing their athletic potential. This March, I’m releasing my first book, Big Fit Girl (Greystone Books), which I hope will empower others to do the same. I believe that fitness comes in all shapes and sizes—I witness this every day. As a trainer and an author, I strive to broaden the way we think about athleticism and ensure that women in a diverse range of sizes feel included and represented in fitness and sport.

But I also know that embarking on a fitness journey can feel daunting. Here are my tips for getting started and unleashing your inner athlete—in the body you have now.

1. Know your why.

It has been proven that people who are motivated by core-values sustain changes for the long term. For example, if you start exercising because your doctor instructed you to and only because you feel you “should,” it may be difficult to stick to your goals. However, if you’re exercising because you believe that exercise will give you more energy and help you keep up with your two-year-old, then that becomes a core-valued belief and will have more lasting power. Think about your core values and get to know them; write down your why and keep it visible. It may take some time to find your “why,” but that’s what will keep you going.

2. Get the gear.

Getting the right gear is an essential to step in your fitness pursuits. Having the wrong gear can result in skin chafing, pants riding up into your crotch (trust me, not fun), boobs bouncing out of control, and many other fitness catastrophes. Let’s not go there. We don’t want any reasons to arise that beckon you to throw in the towel.

Unfortunately, the choices are not as vast for a plus-size athlete as they are for women of smaller sizes, and you may need to purchase items online—it’s just the reality. There are many up-and-coming brands that realize that fitness comes in a range of sizes. Search the internet for these brands, check out their Instagram or Facebook accounts to see real customers wearing the clothes, read reviews, and make sure you check their sizing charts when ordering online. Here are some of SELF’s favorite plus-size workout clothing brands.

My top three absolutely must-haves are: a good sports bra, compression leggings, and good athletic shoes, preferably with a professional shoe-fitting at a running store.

3. Set SMART goals.

I have set goals with women for many years and sometimes I find there’s a standard reaction of “I want to lose x amount of weight.” Setting goals should be done in a SMART way, meaning, specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. I recommend writing this acronym down vertically in a notebook and breaking your goals down in each category. If weight loss is a goal, I recommend actionable goals (that may result in weight loss) where weight loss isn’t the primary focus. For example: I am going to meal prep five days a week. I will go grocery shopping on Sundays and Thursdays and prepare all my meals in advance for the week. I am going to do this for 30 days, then reassess. Likely, there will be a side benefit of weight loss to this healthy lifestyle change, without leaving you fixated on a number on the scale.


When it comes to the topic of plus size women working out and health, society would have you to believe that the two can’t coexist. There are myriads of people who believe that plus size people are lazy, eat all day, and have no motivation to live a healthy lifestyle.

One of my biggest pet peeves as a plus size blogger is the judgement you receive about your size from people who don’t know you. Now don’t get me wrong. I get it. If you put yourself out there, especially on the internet, of course you’re going to be judged by people who don’t know you.

Promoting Obesity

Since I started blogging about loving your body, I’ve been accused of promoting obesity. I’ve had people tell me how much they like my style and then in the same sentence say, you look so unhealthy. You can’t be healthy at your size. I often wonder to myself, how could they know about my health. They don’t know me or my medical history.

Don’t Judge A Book By Its Cover

You never know where someone has come from to get to where they are now. A once 500 pound person could be a happy and healthy 200 pound person after years of hard work and sweat, and all the world sees is that she is still plus size.

Photo Credit: Heytheretrivera

For the record, I don’t promote obesity. What I do promote and will not apologize for is women having the right to feel comfortable with themselves. I stand for women who want to look in the mirror and not feel disgusted. Women who no longer want to be afraid to take pictures from the chest down. Women who want to be seen and respected regardless of their size.

READ THIS: A Healthy Morning Routine

I stand for these women to be able to wake up each day and have countless moments where they’re not thinking about a number on a scale. Every woman deserves to have those moments where they feel beautiful and confident in their body.

There’s an unhealthy stigma that plagues plus size women. Plus size women do go to the gym, they do yoga, they are dancers, and they play sports just like everyone else. Two years ago Lane Bryant launched a national campaign promoting healthy realistic images of plus size women working out.

So many plus size women do yoga and can do all the twist and turns that comes with practicing yoga. Plus Model Magazine recently featured the #sizedoesntmatter challenge which has numerous photos of plus size women doing yoga poses.

As a proud plus size woman, I have been on both sides of the weight fence. I grew up skinny with a pot belly and used to get teased for being too skinny. I actually didn’t start gaining weight until 8th grade. By the time I graduated high school, I was about a full figured size 16 and dubbed by society as plus size and by the BMI as overweight.

Thanks to the women in my family, I was taught to be confident no matter my size. Even as I got bigger over the years, transitioning from a size 14/16 to a size 18/20, diet and exercise have always been important to me.

Can You Be Fat And Healthy

Last year Glamour did an article asking this question,“Can you be fat and healthy?“ They spoke with Dr. Linda Bacon, PHD who is the author of, “Healthy at Every Size” Dr. Linda said you can absolutely be fat and healthy.

Her exact words were, “If you’re fat but fit—meaning you can be active for 20 to 30 minutes—you can live longer than people who are thin and out of shape! She then went on to say, “If you eat a good diet and exercise, you’re likely to be healthy, no matter what the scale says.”

The world needs to understand that plus size people, fat people, big people, whatever you want to call us, are not couch potatoes. We are people who care about our health. There is actually a movement for plus size bloggers. It’s called healthy curves.

Read This: Amazing Plus Size Winter Coats

Relationship blogger Cece from “The Big Girl Blog” actually uses her Instagram and Twitter to connect with plus size readers all over the world about their fitness routines and allows them tag and share their healthy meals. She uses the hash tag #pspfit which stands for plus size princess fit.

In addition, last year she hosted a fitness event at a NYSC gym in New York City that brought together women of all sizes. They worked out with a trainer and even had a Q&A about the ups and downs of plus size women getting healthy.

Plus size blogger Shainna Tucker from “A Thick Girls Closet” does a monthly challenge with her readers that entails doing a number of fitness moves every day. Last month she challenged her followers to do 100 squats a day.

Plus size blogger Sarah from Queen Sized Flava (the beauty in the first and third photo’s) shares her journey to being plus size and healthy on her blog. She posts pictures of her workouts and even shares positive messages with her readers.

Be True To Yourself

As women we all have comfort zones. It’s important to be true to yourself and honest with yourself about your body and your health. If you’re not happy at the size you are then change it. Also, small steps lead to big changes. What’s even more important to know is that you’re beautiful no matter your size and to know that it is your responsibility to take care of your body and keep it fit regardless of your size.

And to everyone who thinks that plus size people can’t be healthy, Don’t believe the hype, plus size women workout an live healthy lifetstyles.

Checkout this video from Gym Bitch that shows plus size women being athletic and working out.

If you’re in the market for some new workout clothes, checkout the new workout looks from Livi Active

This article was originally posted on February 26, 2013

How do plus size models stay in shape?

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