Tess Holliday says she wants to ‘normalize the fact that fat folks like moving their bodies’ after returning to the studio for her favorite workout — hot Pilates — following a month off.
The 35-year-old took to Instagram on Wednesday to share a sweaty selfie and video after her workout, and told followers that she was ‘so hyped’ to get her preferred exercise in that she nearly cried.
Tess went on to share a message to anyone who assumes that plus-size and overweight people don’t work out, insisting that she loves moving her body and she isn’t the only one.
Woohoo! Tess, 35, recently returned to private hot Pilates classes after taking a month off because her instructor stopped classes
Loving it: Sharing a post-workout video, she said she loves moving her body and ‘you can’t buy this kind of joy’
‘I just want to normalize the fact that fat folks like moving their bodies, and I love moving my body,’ she said
‘Guess who is FINALLY back at Hot Pilates! (I’m so hyped I’m almost cried lollll)’ she wrote post-workout, sharing a snap of herself in leggings and a sports bra.
Tess explained that her instructor — with whom she books private sessions — hadn’t been offering classes for a month but is now back in action.
‘Tired as hell but happy!!’ she wrote.
‘Y’all, I am so hyped, I just finished Pilates, with my red face and my frizzy hair,’ she added in a video. ‘I was finally able to get in, and if you can’t tell, I am just so happy, it’s insane. Insane, instant mood boost.’
She continued: ‘I just want to normalize the fact that fat folks like moving their bodies, and I love moving my body.
‘And, you know, I feel very grateful to be able to move my body in a way that makes me feels good. And you can’t buy this kind of joy. I mean I paid for the class, so you can technically. I’m just hyped. It’s good to be back.’
Tess has previously credited hot Pilates, and her instructor Sora Connor, for helping her ‘start to heal my relationship with my body & I feel truly connected: mind, body & soul for the first time in my life.’
Her fave: Tess has previously credited hot Pilates, and her instructor Sora Connor, for helping her ‘start to heal my relationship with my body’
‘I feel truly connected: mind, body & soul for the first time in my life,’ she said
In past interviews and social media posts, Tess has fired back at critics who argue that she’s lying about working out.
‘My workouts were important for me to show because there’s so much judgment placed on me about what my life is like, and if I’m active or if I’m not active,’ she told People.
‘I struggle with it because I don’t want to feel like I have to prove anything to anybody.’
In 2019, she shared a video of herself at the gym to challenge haters.
‘Proving my critics wrong is my favorite workout,’ she wrote. ‘I use the hurt people throw my way as fuel to keep chasing my dreams, and you can do the same – Don’t let anyone tell you what you are capable of. You’re better than that.’
Her workouts aren’t the only thing she’s defended. In May, she posted publicly about her eating disorder in response to her growing frustration with people commenting on her weight and health.
‘I’m anorexic and in recovery. I’m not ashamed to say it out loud anymore,’ she tweeted. ‘I’m the result of a culture that celebrates thinness and equates that to worth, but I get to write my own narrative now. I’m finally able to care for a body that I’ve punished my entire life and I am finally free.’
Opening up: Tess recently revealed she is ‘anorexic and in recovery’ while sharing several selfies on Instagram
Honest: Tess tweeted about her eating disorder, saying she is the ‘result of a culture that celebrates thinness’
Triggering: The plus-size model warned people on Twitter and Instagram to keep their comments about her weight to themselves
She went on: ‘To everyone that keeps saying “you’re looking healthy lately” or “You are losing weight, keep it up!” Stop. Don’t. Comment. On. My. Weight. Or. Perceived. Health. Keep. It. To. Yourself. Thanks.
‘I’m healing from an eating disorder and feeding my body regularly for the first time in my entire life,’ she said.
‘When you equate weight loss with “health” and place value and worth on someone’s size, you are basically saying that we are more valuable now because we are smaller and perpetuating diet culture… and that’s corny as hell. NOT here for it.’
The mother of two added that people’s positive comments about her weight loss are triggering to both her and others.
‘For folks like me that are trying to reframe our relationships with our bodies and heal, hearing comments about weight is triggering as hell,’ she said.
‘It sets us back in our progress — and when people working on themselves see you commenting to me that way, it hurts THEM, not just me. I can take it (I shouldn’t have to, but I can) but they didn’t ask for that trauma, ok?’
Happy: The body-positivity activist, pictured in March, said she is now able to ‘care for’ for the body she ‘punished’ her entire life and is ‘finally free’
Damaging: Tess, pictured earlier this month, shared that she she lost weight while healing from her eating disorder and people have been encouraging her to lose more
Thoughts: The mother of two believes it was ‘hard and confusing’ for people to hear her say she is anorexic when she’s a plus-size model advocating for larger bodies
Tess ended her post with a warning, saying: ‘If you can’t tell someone they look nice without making it about their size, then baby, please don’t say nuthin at all.’
While she was met with plenty of support, she also faced backlash from other anorexics who think she is ‘lying’ about having the eating disorder because she is plus-size.
‘I’ve had a lot of messages from folks that are anorexic that are livid and angry because they feel like I’m lying,’ she told Good Morning America. ‘I am plus-size, but advocating for diversity and larger bodies, and so I think for people hearing me say I’m anorexic was really jarring and hard and confusing.’
She said that she was diagnosed by a psychologist but has struggled with ‘disordered eating’ most of her life.
‘I always thought that I overate,’ she said. ‘But then, people in my life would say, “Oh yeah, I ate more than Tess,” and it was almost like I wore it as a badge of honor.’
The social media star, who found fame as a plus-size model, wants people to know that eating disorders don’t discriminate.
Hard to handle: The model, pictured in July 2020, has spent decades of struggling with body image and backlash over her weight
Truth: ‘For folks like me that are trying to reframe our relationships with our bodies and heal, hearing comments about weight is triggering as hell,’ said Tess, pictured in October 2020
Social media star: Tess, pictured in November 2020, has more than 2.1 million Instagram followers
‘You can’t look at someone and tell whether or not they’re healthy. You just can’t,’ she said. ‘I understand that people look at me and I don’t fit what we have seen presented as, you know, the diagnosis for anorexia.
‘But then, for me, that tells me that there’s a larger problem which I’ve been actually saying for years is that we have a like, a lack of diversity and representation in the world.’
Tess told GMA that she wants to use her platform to share her story and hopefully help others with similar struggles.
‘The sky’s the limit,’ she said. ‘I actually feel like I can take on the things that life is throwing my way and I have been happier in the last six months, through my recovery than I’ve been in my entire life. I feel whole. I feel at peace. I really feel in my power.’
What is atypical anorexia? How Tess Holliday can be anorexic AND overweight at the same time
Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by weight loss, a fear of gaining weight, and a distorted body image.
People with anorexia generally restrict their calories and types of foods they eat. They may also exercise compulsively, purge via vomiting and laxatives, and/or binge eat.
When people think of anorexia, they normally think of a person of extremely low weight. However, a person with atypical anorexia nervosa does not have this symptom of the disease.
Studies have found that people with larger bodies can also have anorexia.
In 2013, the American Psychiatric Association added atypical anorexia nervosa to the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).
The DSM is used worldwide and contains sets of diagnostic criteria to help clinicians diagnose mental health problems.
Atypical anorexia has all the criteria of anorexia met, except significant weight loss. The individual’s weight is within or above the normal range.
According to the DSM-5 criteria, to be diagnosed with either atypical anorexia or tradition anorexia, they must have:
- Persistent restriction of energy intake (in the case of anorexia, leading to significantly low body weight)
- Either an intense fear of gaining weight or of becoming fat or persistent behavior that interferes with weight gain (even if significantly low weight)
- Disturbance in the way one’s body weight or shape is experienced, undue influence of body shape and weight on self-evaluation, or persistent lack of recognition of the seriousness of the potentially low body weight
Sometimes atypical anorexia is considered an ‘other specified feeding or eating disorder’ (OSFED).
Source: National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA)