The $60 billion weight loss industry thrives on a single belief: That it’s better (and healthier) to weigh less than to weigh more.Â
The problem with that belief is that it’s not always true.Â
Yes, being overweight increases the risk for many health problems, and manyÂ people do get healthier when they bring down the number on the scale.
But plenty of people have improved their health by gainingÂ pounds.
The proof is all over Instagram. Search hashtags like #morethananumber and #gainingweightiscool and you’ll find emotional stories of transformation from women who stopped obsessing over weighing less and started to focus more on strength, balance, and overallÂ wellbeing.Â
These 15 before-and-after photosÂ show why weight gain shouldn’t always be feared.
Some peopleÂ â€” like fitness blogger Emma O’NeillÂ â€” gain weight by putting on more muscle and getting stronger.
She started lifting weights and gained more than 20 pounds of muscle mass.
Jessica O’Brien said that her body changed dramatically when she stopped focusing on how it looked and started focusing on what it could do.
She gained about 10 pounds but ended up much stronger.
“A few years ago, I used to trick myself into thinking I was healthy,” trainer ChloÃ© Maxwell wrote on Instagram. “I was scared of food, scared of carbs.”
“A few years later, I’m 15 kilograms heavier,” she added. “After almost 2 years of weight lifting, I’m 3 times stronger, 2 times more confident, and a lot happier.”