A Viral Movement is Making Weight Gain Cool, One Empowered Post at a Time

Gaining weight is the new ‘getting skinny.’

While countless people across the globe vowed to drop the figures on their scales as their New Year’s resolutions, one woman is inspiring a growing countermovement.

It’s accompanied by the hashtag #gainingweightiscool.

It all began with a New Year’s Day Instagram post from 21-year-old body positive social media star and fitness coach Arianna Dantone, that featured side-by-side snaps of her body before and after getting more fit and subsequently gaining more weight. Dantone encouraged other women to share their own positive weight gain stories under the hashtag #gainingweightiscool.

The post has since been “liked” 3,699 times, inspiring other females to follow her bold lead.


A growing number of women – many of whom are recovering from eating disorders – are now sharing their weight transformations on Twitter and Instagram in a similar way that the #mermaidthighs trend caught on.

If you search the hashtag on Instagram, you’ll find over 12K posts.


IIFYM does a body good -66 wks later👌🏼LEFT I was a strict yo-yo dieter, eating what I ‘thought’ was enough, following a cookie cutter ‘undereating’ plan from an IG ‘inspiration’. Busting my ass in the gym yet seeing no results except for burning every little muscle AND fat on my body, leaving me with literally nothing. RIGHT I decided I was tired of getting nowhere near my goals, not even close. I was tired of eating the same thing every single day, then binge eating after a few wks because I craved every asshole food available. I was tired of being a yo-yo asshole. I started to do my research and I mean I researched hard with every trainer I had encountered to see who would be the best fit for me. Who I could get on MY team to help push me towards my goals. Who could help me transform my body & mind into something I had visioned for years. Finally after making the decision to hire Erin 66 wks later here I am, eating asshole foods in moderations, eating clean often, hitting all of my goals, and completely transforming my mind & body every single day! I am no longer wasting my time in the gym. I am no longer a yo-yo dieter. I have a plan that is not a cookie cutter plan but it’s set up for me to meet my goals AND to succeed. Ever since starting IIFYM my life literally changed! You CAN have a fabulous transformation if you STOP trying to use your girlfriends plan and find one that works for YOU. Each of us will have similarities BUT not the exact plans in order to meet goals. Do your research. Hire help if needed. Stop wasting time! ✌🏼💙💪🏼 #mondaymotivation #motivation #transformation #iifym #iifymgirls #carbs #protein #motivationmonday #gainingweightiscool #progress #fitnessmodel #flex #gains #goals #bikiniprep #legday #muscles #transformation #gym #npcbikini #fitchicks #fitmom #healthy #igfitness #girlswithmuscles #bodybuilding #beachbody #fitnessjourney #igfitmoms #erindimondfitness A photo posted by Tabatha Burton-Correll (@tabatha.correll) on

In response, Dantone expressed her gratitude, saying that seeing the posts helped her just as much as she inspired others with hers.

“Everyone is saying the thread helped them,” she posted. “Be real and say it helped me even more. I have been having severe anxiety and self-worth issues this week leading up to the LA FIT Expo. It’s no secret I’ve gained weight since the Dallas Europa and sometimes that makes me feel inadequate as a ‘fitspo.’ ”

That’s the progress I’m very much proud of❤Jumping on the #gainingweightiscool train! From skinny to healthy & strong. Same girl, 5 years later, 8 kg difference. Oh my god, it has been the longest and the most difficult process. More mental than physical ’cause it’ all about falling in love with yourself. My big #fitinspiration @taychayy says : “As females, our whole lives we have been told to eat nothing, lift the lightest weight possible, and do all the cardio. I’m here to help empower and inspire women to say screw that, and go against what we’ve been told forever. We want to look lean and muscular, but we don’t have the metabolism, fuel, or patience to do so. We can’t always be dieting. We have to take some time to step back and look at the bigger picture. 💪🏽❤” Amen to that 🙏🏻 #gainingweight #strongnotskinny Questa foto rappresenta probabilmente il risultato di cui vado più fiera.. un cambiamento durato 5 lunghi anni, stringo i pugni se guardo indietro, perché dietro i miei sorrisi si nascondeva una ragazza insicura e un po infelice e questo fa male…Ma ogni anno ho imparato qualcosa, ogni settimana provavo a cambiare e oggi sono qui, mi voglio bene e mi rispetto. Ho imparato finalmente a nutrirmi, a non stressarmi troppo e non pretendere l’impossibile in 7 giorni. Sorrido perché ce l’ho fatta e ho trovato la strada, non importa quanto tempo sia passato, ci ho creduto e ci sono riuscita. Ho impiegato tutto lo scorso anno a far ripartire il mio metabolismo una volta per tutte. Ho dato spazio alla salute più che alla forma fisica. Ci riempiono la testa di cavolate sin da bambine. “Usa poco peso, mangia 1200 kcal… fai ogni giorno una corsetta leggera…”Io sono la prova vivente che tutto questo è un mare di cavolate. Occorre Tempo e pazienza. Occorre mangiare pulito, in abbondanza e non aver paura di sudare. Mangiare tanto ma in modo pulito è DIFFICILE, perché ci vuole un impegno incredibile… andare contro tutto quello che ci hanno fatto credere per una vita è difficile. Ma instagram è pieno di donne che dimostrano invece che tutto questo è possibile❤ Perciò fuori i bicipiti e non mollate 👊🏼

A photo posted by Costy | 25 (@fit_cello) on

She reveals that her weight gain made her feel “unworthy,” especially when she fell into the trap that leaves few females untouched; comparing her body to that of others.

She says that the reaction to her post and the growing use of the hashtag snapped her out of it.

It’s important to keep in mind that the movement is as much mental as it is physical in nature – something that Dantone stresses. Meaning, it isn’t a shift from an eating disorder or focus on food to an obsession with exercise. It’s about overcoming struggles, embracing oneself and giving societal pressures the middle finger.

At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that muscle weighs more than fat and that physical strength, progress and health more important than numbers on the scale.

Cover image: On the Regiment 

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