If you follow any fitness bloggers on social media, you may have peeped the unexpected hashtag, #GainingWeightIsCool. As the fit set sees it, that’s because muscle weighs more than fat (so while losing fat does result in weight loss, gaining muscle may result in a few additional pounds gained). But because we’re culturally conditioned to believe smaller is better when it comes to numbers on a scale, gaining weight can be discouraging—especially if you don’t understand why it’s happening. That’s precisely why on New Year’s Day, fitness blogger Arianna Dantone started the #GainingWeightIsCool hashtag in the first place : To teach followers that progress and health are so much more than numbers on a scale.

According to Yahoo! Style, the 21-year-old Texas-native started the now-viral trend on January 1st, after posting a side-by-side picture of her body at two different weights from June 2015 to December 2016, captioning it, “gaining weight is cool.” She’d shared the images in part to give herself a confidence boost after gaining a bit of weight and feeling, as she says, “inadequate” as a “fitspo” blogger.

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As her Tweet racked up more and more likes—1,800 to date!—Dantone realized how often women equate weight with happiness. So she decided to ask her followers to share their own inspiring weight-gain stories, asking, “What does #GainingWeightIsCool mean to you?”

Over the subsequent weeks, hundreds of women shared their own weight gain stories and photographs. Some posted photos of their own fitness transformations, while others shared stories of overcoming eating disorders and learning to love their healthy bodies. To date, Dantone’s hashtag has been shared tens of thousands of times across various social media platforms (there are more than 10,000 #GainingWeightIsCool posts on Instagram alone). Dantone writes that she feels “so happy” to see how much of a difference she’s made in helping women feel confident about their bodies no matter the size.

In an Instagram post, Dantone wrote, “Women empowerment is fucking incredible….I feel so happy right now after everyone shared their journeys and stories. I am happy to say ‘hi, this is me.’ This is my body…It does great things. And this weight gain has been so necessary and so freeing on my MIND. I should not feel any less because of it!!! And neither should you. You should feel strong, healthy, capable and beautiful. Because you are.”


More on body-positivity:

  1. Model Iskra Lawrence Discusses Body Positivity and How She Overcame An Unhealthy Obsession With Her Weight
  2. 317,000 People Follow This Woman’s Instagram For Body-Positive Wisdom
  3. 9 Things You Should Know About Weight-Loss Workouts

Head to Instagram and Twitter for more inspiring #GainingWeightIsCool stories.

Now, check out model Myla Dalbesio’s powerful body-positive poem:

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