Body Positive Spotlight Series — How to Manage Weight Gain

body positivity - managing through weight gain

It’s time to kill that old New Year’s resolution about losing weight. Right? The New Year, New You thing has been disappointing women for way too long. Unless you’re under doctors orders to lose weight, you have no reason to stress about what the scale says — because I’ll bet you’re fabulous just the way you are.[clickToTweet tweet=”Don’t resolve to lose weight this year — the only resolution you need is a body positive one!” quote=”The only resolution you need is a body positive one.”]
This year, resolve to love and accept your body the way it is. As inspiration, I’ve enlisted the help of fashion entrepreneur Anne Claire Isabella, owner of Ikapela Designs. Anne, who’s been both a size 6 and a size 16, shares how she’s kept the self-love going during and after a weight transition.

One Body Positive Journey

Budget Fashionista: Anne, can you introduce yourself to the Budget Fashionista community?

Anne: Sure! My name is Anne Claire Isabella. Isabella in Hawaiian is Ikapela, hence the name of my store: Ikapela Designs. I’m 53 years young and love my life. I’ve been married for over 32 years and have three wonderful grown children and one grandson with another grandchild on the way…HOORAY!

Professionally, I’ve been working from home for the last 10 years. I used to be a Merchandising Manager (a fancy phrase for buying things with other people’s money). I love it.

Then my husband and his business partner needed a third wheel as their business was growing. I was a perfect match. Over the years I tried different things to stay busy in my “off time,” — painting, writing, photography. Had fun but eventually found sewing. I’m self taught and literally started sewing five years ago. That’s when I started selling my clothes on Etsy, and now on AmazonHandmade.

body positivity - ikapela designs handmade clothing

His Team Lava Lava and Her Pareo/Sarong matching Hawaiian Polynesian wrap, skirt, cloth – Special Order Only – Made in Hawaii by Ikapela Designs

Budget Fashionista: I know you managed through a weight transition. Can you describe how your weight changed and over what period of time? 

Anne: When I got married I weighed 120 lb. and wore size 6. I’ve always had a large okole (rump) and I considered it my biggest ASSet. 🙂 I never realized how good food could taste (sorry mom!…she fed us healthy and proper portions) until I met my husband. He was in the restaurant business at the time. I started to gain a little weight, to maybe a size 8 or 10.

Then I started having children. After my first I was just starting to lose the weight when I got pregnant with my second child. Then life got really busy between work, home, children, etc. Ten years after my second, we had our last child. At that point, I was a size 12 or 14, but still felt healthy and happy.

Over the years of eating lunch with the boss or buying fast food I gained more weight. I still did well on my physicals though, with good cholesterol levels and blood pressure.  I was never into exercise either. No one in my family was.

Budget Fashionista: Did you ever feel panic about the weight?

Anne: [clickToTweet tweet=”I can remember the day I thought, ‘I think I’m getting fat.’…” quote=”I can literally remember the day I thought, ‘I think I’m getting fat.’ It was the morning after a weekend of holiday parties. “]My fingers were swollen and my rings felt tight (I never take my rings off). I lifted my head to stretch and wondered why I could feel the back of my neck with my head. Yikes, my back was fat.

Budget Fashionista: Some women who gain weight go through a grieving period of sorts for the “way they were.” Did that happen to you? 

Anne: Over the last 10 years, the one thing I complain about is not being able to wear my heels any more. When I started gaining weight, I developed Plantar fasciitis so I started having to wear Jesus sandals exclusively. I liked them and more importantly, they are good for your feet. [clickToTweet tweet=”Heels are not good for your feet. They’re good for your ego, which is probably why I miss them.” quote=”Heels on the other hand are not good for your feet. They’re good for your ego, which is probably why I miss them sometimes.”]

When I think back at all the times I was thin, the only regret I have is that I didn’t take advantage of being thin. I always wore loose-fitting clothes. But I was so thin I don’t think I looked healthy at all.

Budget Fashionista: What advice do you have for women who are experiencing weight gain?

Follow Me

Catherine Brock

Catherine Brock is a writer, editor and marketer who's been sharing wisdom online since 2002. She's been featured on, and ABC7 Chicago, FOX2News St. Louis and KCAL9 Los Angeles. Connect with Catherine on LinkedIn, Instagram, or Twitter. Learn more about Catherine.
Follow Me