"Queer Eye" star Jonathan Van Ness reveals he once gained 70 pounds in just three months — and learned an important lesson on self-love in the process.
The hair and skin care expert on the Netflix reboot opened up about his weight-loss journey this week on Instagram, posting side-by-side photos of himself at his heaviest and himself now.
"After my stepdad passed away I gained 70 pounds in three months," the 31-year-old TV personality writes. "I didn't like how I felt or looked. It's so important for me to look back and tell that man from five years ago he was lovely and gorge. I can celebrate where I am now as long as I send love to the me's along the way."
In other words, he was gorgeous before and he's gorgeous now, but he didn't always have love for his former self.
In a recent interview with Instyle, Van Ness opened up about being teased as a child because of his weight. He "got fit in high school" and stayed in shape throughout his 20s until his stepfather died of bladder cancer in 2012.
"I just could not stop eating, and that took me, like, two years to lose that weight. My fitness journey now has really been from that really rapid weight gain," he says. "I went from being pretty fit to 230 pounds, which isn't, like, the biggest for being 6 feet tall, but I had been 165 pounds just three months prior. That taught me a lot about how people treat you differently when you're fit and when you're bigger."
And though he started exercising out of fear of being rejected, he now views it as a form of self-care.
"There was a time when I was like, 'Oh my god, I have to lose this weight, because if I don't, then who's gonna date me?'" he says. "[Now], my working out is about me. It wasn't always like that, but that's where it's landed."
Need proof? There is plenty of evidence that Van Ness loves a good post-workout endorphin high, and it's plastered all over his Instagram feed. And even if you're not one to workout for vanity's sake, Van Ness might still inspire you to hit the gym. He's that magical.
"Once I work out in the morning there's nothing I can't handle. First and foremost, the main reason I work out is literally for the chemical high that my brain gives me from working out, I feel much better," he tells InStyle. "It also keeps me calm and more grounded. I make better decisions when I work out in the morning. I'm more patient and compassionate with myself now than I was before."
During the interview, Van Ness also dropped some serious wisdom about taking our mental wellness and happiness into our own hands.
"If you're having a harder time or you're just not feeling good enough or you're just really wishing that someone else was going to show up for you and save the day, like, where's your big, tall, muscular man to hold you till your pain goes away? Sometimes that means you have to go take yourself for a mani-pedi and, like, a movie — alone. Show yourself that you're worth being there for you," he says. "Sometimes it's a mani and a pedi, but other times it's blocking that person on Instagram and not thinking about it anymore. That's showing up for yourself."
Van Ness is giving us an inspiring message about self-love at any size: When you can't call in a team of five talented professionals (don't you hate when that happens?), you can show up for yourself. And although sometimes loving yourself isn't easy, Van Ness proves that you're worth the effort.
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