What do You Gain when you Gain?

It's a simple question really, but not many people ask. We've all heard of the Special K motto, "What will you gain when you lose?" Today, I'm leaving "lose" in the dust and sharing what I gained when the scale tipped upwards.

Just a little photo shop action...
True, for most Americans, losing weight is in their best interest. I'm all for it - let the healthy fun begin! But people struck by celiac, disordered eating or activities also need some hope and love. So here are the top 5 things I've gained...besides a pant size. 

1. Freedom to move my body whenever, however much I wish. No more calorie calculations after a work out for fear of another pound slipping away. No more weird looks when I say I love playing soccer (chicken ankles and all). And a whole lot less "no's" from my body when I want to try a new fitness class, hike, or adventure with friends

One day I'll have as hot moves as that jalapeno!
True, I still have limits. After throwing myself into a hard (stress-induced) workout everyday last week, my knee and energy pulled the breaks this week. And I'm OK with that. Because sometimes getting up from the couch to find the TV remote is the most exercise your body needs that day! But, now, that's a joint choice - between my body, my mind and me

2. More food! It may seem counter intuitive, but I'm eating more than ever since gaining back some healthy weight. The fact is, when I was all stick and bones, it was party because of celiac mal-absorption, but also because of my shrunken stomach. As I've mentioned before, I look back at old Instagram meals and wonder how I wasn't still starving!

Breakfast no more...
Now that my stomach has been trained to crave and eat healthy portions again - after nearly a year of slowly increasing portion size, frequency, and nutrient density - fullness involves a much bigger platter of food than before! Sure, sometimes I overeat (especially when a delicious batch of homemade granola sits nearby), but I mainly enjoy every bite until full. And since more muscles and exercise mean more calories burned, more food doesn't have to pile on more pounds.

3. You aren't mistaken for an 8th grader...or at least have a lower probability to be. When I was at my lowest weight as a freshman in college, I walked into Sports Authority for a new pair of Nikes and was promptly asked if I was running on my middle school team. I don't know who was more embarrassed...the cute teen who asked or me, staring down at my loose running shorts

I've been a lot of shapes and sizes!

Now, I'm not quite as curvy as pre-celiac me, but I do rock a booty. I didn't notice how much curves I'd regained until my family walked out of Outback Steakhouse one night and my dad said, "Casey has a butt again! I suppose it'd be inappropriate to take a picture to celebrate?" No pics...but I promise it happened

4. Better body image. The media likes to imply that less weight always means more confidence. In my experience, though, confidence isn't free with a purchase of size-0 jeans. Even at a weight some may strive towards, I hated looking in the mirror. Hated seeing bones, stretched veiny skin, and a tailbone instead of a butt. And, when I started gaining, I wondered if it would ever detour the belly and pad the arms or butt instead. 
She says it right!
Six months after my body finally started accepting nutrients, and therefore weight, I'm better. Not only because of what I see in the mirror, but how I feel. Capable, not cold. Strong, not super-skinny. Fit, not frail. And while it took time to adjust to having fuller thighs again, now I love seeing the products of squats, short runs and bike rides! 

5. Perhaps the best thing I've gained, though? Less worry and more hugs! When I came home for Christmas break a few months ago, my mom hugged me and said, "It's so nice to feel something besides bones!" My parents will always worry, but now weight isn't their top concern

Hugs are my favorite!
I've had girls from my freshman hall approach me around campus, crying, "Casey! You look so good!" And, one night when I shared the whole celiac story with my boyfriend, he admitted to thinking I was "scary skinny" last year before we started dating. And, being the smooth writing major he is, immediately said I looked much better now. A+. 

The truth is, I'll always be "slim" by society's standards. A few months ago, my dorm's Spanish-speaking custodians asked, "Why so skinny? Genetics? Exercise?" Since I have yet to master celiac summary in another language, I just nodded yes to both. I've never been a big girl - a mostly healthy diet and love for exercise tends to do that. But now I know I'm healthy skinny. And that is big

On top of the world!
I've experienced plenty of losing these past few years - in just the celiac realm, I've lost gluten, dairy, and, of course, pounds. But, this year is all about gaining weight, confidence and adventuring ability! So, sorry Special K, but I'm changing up your slogan. Because gain is the only goal on my mind! 

What have you gained this year, from celiac disease, or gaining weight? Comment below? 


  1. I'm gonna go with freedom (closely followed by squat-booty ;) )- something you already recognized and I think pretty much sums up life at a bigger size. Don't get me wrong, I will forever be a girl and there will always be something I'm unhappy with about my body, but the ability to lift heavier weights, run further, and not be exhausted all the time is the best. And actually having friends that spend more time worrying about what's going on in my life than what's going on in my eating-disorder-plagued head. For every downside, there are ten upsides. Keep smiling, girly. Sending virtual hugs :)

    1. Squat-booty --> nothing like it and my pants know that for a fact! Your paragraph about sums up everything I'm discovering. Really, everything tastes better than being skinny - food, fun, and life overall ;)

  2. I absolutely LOVE this post Casey, so inspirational. Gaining weight is often seen as a "bad" thing, and for those of us who fare on the smaller side, when we say we want to gian and not lose, people give us strange looks, but being "skinny" or underweight is not healthy, skinny and healthy is FINE, but skinny and malnourished is not! So happy for you and how far you have come xoxo

    1. Thanks so much Amber! :) And yes, it's amazing the difference between healthy and unhealthy skinny - nothing is wrong with the first, but the second needs a little tender, love and care ;)

  3. Casey, I loved this!! you are such an inspiration and I am happy you have been able to put on weight again. I have gone through the same thing with gaining weight, and I would definitely agree with you on many of these points. Hugs to you!! <3

    1. Awwww, thanks so much Allie! Virtual hug flying your way! A change in body composition/weight is always an adventure, but I'd say we're both proof that you are stronger in the end :)


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