Tess Holliday Just Destroyed the Most Ridiculous Myth About Being Overweight

March 9th 2016

Plus-size model Tess Holliday challenged the stereotype that overweight people are unhealthy and don't exercise by showing off her workout routine in a series of Instagram posts.

Holliday, who recently told Us Weekly that she exercises three times a week, has faced a lot of criticism from people who argue that she promotes an unhealthy lifestyle because of her weight, so these Instagram posts serve as a bold response to those who assume she doesn't take care of herself.

In the first post, Holliday shares a video of a leg exercise she does for trainer Elvon Mack (known as @MackFit on Instagram):

Holliday, who is seven months pregnant, wrote in another Instagram post that she stays active for her own sake and not to please others. She told Us Weekly that this post was a reference to her recent spat with fitness Instagrammer Ashy Bines, who slammed Holliday for "not [being] a good role model to young girls" and having an "extreme lifestyle" a few weeks ago:

"I stay active for me, & only me," Holliday wrote. "It's not about proving anything or trying to lose weight, it's about what makes ME happy! Our society is so engrained to think that all bodies (especially bigger ones) shouldn't be respected & appreciated, it's heartbreaking. We ALL deserve to be treated with dignity regardless of our size, gender, race, sexual orientation, abilities, etc., & should demand that of those around us. When people criticize or belittle us it says more about them than us, remember that, Don't let anyone dull your shine or underestimate what you are capable of."

Holliday, who was the first size 22 model to sign with a major agency, created the viral #effyourbeautystandards hashtag and has frequently condemned unrealistic body image standards for women in society. Along the way, she has gotten a lot of backlash. Two weeks ago, Bines posted an Instagram image that juxtaposes Holliday in a bikini with a severely underweight runway model named Ana Carolina Reston, who died ten years ago from an infection brought on by anorexia.

Bines, who was unaware of Reston's death when she posted the Instagram, wrote that Reston and Holliday both look unhealthy in their own ways:

Holliday told Us Weekly that she felt Bines was insulting the way she treated her body as a pregnant woman.

"She basically said I was doing an injustice to my [unborn] child by being fat and pregnant and unhealthy,” the model said.

Luckily, Holliday has had nothing but positive experiences working with Mack, whom she said is the first trainer not to shame her for her body or emphasize weight loss. She said that she usually spends 15 minutes doing cardio and then focuses on various weight training exercises. She exercises on her own as well and even recalled walking more than seven miles during a recent visit to Disneyland.

Holliday is not the only heavier woman to defy stereotypes about plus-size individuals and working out.

Last year, Women's Running magazine earned kudos for placing plus-size model and proud runner Erica Schenk on the cover of its August issue:


Women's Running magazine editor-in-chief Jessica Sebor told last year that Schenk's appearance was crucial to fighting misconceptions about runners:

"There's a stereotype that all runners are skinny, and that's just not the case. Runners come in all shapes and sizes. You can go [to] any race finish line, from a 5K to a marathon, and see that. It was important for us to celebrate that."

Schenk told Women's Running magazine at the time that she hoped to encourage more women to run regardless of their shape.

"Some women believe that since they have curves they can’t run or shouldn’t run," she said. "Running is for every body anytime."

RELATED: What Happened When a Fitness Instagrammer Body Shamed Tess Holliday

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