Photo: Chelsea recently Instagrammed before and after pics of herself. (Intstagram)
Since we last saw her on MTV, Settles has battled ups and down regarding her weight. This summer, she’s heading to Camp Pocono Trails, the fitness camp profiled on MTV’s "Return to Fat Camp" special, and she’s focused on what really matters: taking back her life from the scale.
In August she'll launch F*ck the Scale, a movement in which she’ll step away from the scale for a full year so she can learn to celebrate non-scale victories. Check out the interview below to find out more about the campaign and to get the dish on why Settles is determined to live her happiest, healthiest life.
ACT: What have you been up to since we've last seen you on MTV?
SETTLES: I was recently hired as the social media director for Camp Pocono Trails, a fitness camp for children and teens ages 7 to 19 years old. The funny thing is, I remember watching the "Fat Camp" series MTV aired about the camp years ago. I was battling my weight and so envious of those kids! I would have given my right arm to be at that camp. Fast-forward years later and TA-DA! I'm returning for my second summer. I'm very excited! The kids are so courageous, and I find myself completely inspired and in awe of their dedication. I feel fortunate to be a part of such an awesome brand. Being on the network has opened so many doors and completely changed my life! I couldn't be more grateful.
ACT: We know you're planning to launch the F*ck the Scale campaign this summer. Where did the inspiration for the campaign come from?
SETTLES: After losing 125 pounds, aka an entire kindergarten classroom (ha), I wanted more. I was completely dissatisfied with the in-between phase I was stuck in. I wasn't fat, but I definitely wasn't society's definition of skinny! As much as we complain about labels, that's what I was missing! A label. I had no idea who I was anymore. After a series of poor decisions (more on that later) I finally said to myself: You know what? I'm not fat, I'm not skinny, but I am f*cking fabulous. F*CK THE SCALE!
Photo: Um, Chelsea totally takes gorgeous selfies. (Intstagram)
ACT: You've vowed to stay away from the scale for one year. How did you come to make that decision?
SETTLES: It's been two and a half years since I embarked on my ongoing weight-loss journey. I've accomplished a lot but I still have more to do. I found success through clean eating and exercise, but after the cameras stopped rolling I quickly lost my way. I was desperate to reach the end of my journey so I began to heavily restrict my diet to achieve drastic results quickly.
I started out by skipping a few meals here and there, later turned to binging and purging, and finally escalated to water fasting several days a week. I was weighing myself at least four times a day and that number would basically determine whether I was going to eat or not that day. I refused to admit I had a problem. They say (whoever "they" is, ha ha!) that restriction leads to rebellion, and that's exactly what I did! I rebelled straight to the cookie aisle and over time gained 20 pounds.
I finally had enough! I was sabotaging myself and letting my weight/the scale control my thoughts and emotions. Sometimes I would think: "Wow, you were happier when you were fat! At least you weren't so obsessed and starving yourself." I've come way too far in my journey to continue to live that way.
I'm determined to spend the year celebrating non-scale related victories. Making new friends, traveling, dating, shopping, pampering myself, and much more. I'm still focused on being fit, but my emotional well-being is the big component of this evolution.
ACT: For the readers at home who can't attend a weight-loss camp, what are some ways they can start developing healthy eating and exercise habits?
SETTLES: This summer we're giving the people at home an all-access backstage pass to weight-loss camp. I'll be posting daily recipes, at-home workouts, fitness and nutrition tips and motivational messages through Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and Facebook. BUT My top tips would be...
+ Plan to succeed: If you don't believe in yourself, who else will?
+ Keep a food journal: It's a great way to hold yourself accountable.
+ Start slow: 30 minutes of light cardio (like walking) three days a week and gradually increase overtime.
+ Make fitness fun: Join a group fitness class (zumba, spin, kickboxing, yoga, etc.) The support and encouragement of your peers often gives you that extra push to finish the class.
+ Learn to love your body: People don't take care of things that they don't like.
+ Drink plenty of water.
+ Surround yourself with positivity.
+ Get as much sleep as possible.
+ Don't restrict yourself: Indulge in your favorite treats from time to time, or put a healthy spin on the things you love. I'm an ice cream freak so I have an awesome faux banana split recipe.
Chelsea's Faux Banana Split
2 tablespoons fat free cool-whip
2 teaspoons chocolate syrup
5 chopped walnuts (or any nut you prefer)
1 cup fresh berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries)
Directions: Peel banana and split halfway down the middle. Fill center with whipped cream. Drizzle chocolate syrup, add nuts for a little crunch and added protein, and top with fresh fruit.
ACT: If someone is struggling with unhealthy eating or exercise behaviors, where can they turn for help?
SETTLES: We all have to realize that our thoughts, feelings and behaviors are not unique to us alone. There is someone else out there that relates to your struggles and is willing to listen. It starts with being open, unashamed, honest and vulnerable. There are tons of support groups on- and offline, as well as online forums that protect your identity.
Photo: Some inspiring images of Chelsea's journey to better health. (Intstagram)
ACT: You've been so open about your struggles and the importance of asking for help when you need it. Is there anything else you'd like to tell our readers who might be struggling with some of the same issues you've dealt with?
SETTLES: Each of us has something valuable to contribute to this world. Believe in yourself and others will too! Confidence is a girl's secret weapon, and is ultimately the best diet you'll ever go on.
ACT: It’s easy for someone to peruse Instagram or flip through fashion magazines and feel bummed that their body is not the same size as someone they admire. Any advice on how to feel less insecure about it?
SETTLES: Don't get so caught up in someone's life that you start letting your own pass you by. Try to remember that they're just pictures! Have you ever had a super-crappy day and uploaded a random picture featuring your best smiling face just because? Guess what? You aren't alone! No matter what's being displayed on the outside, we all have a story and struggle lingering below the surface.
If you or someone you know is struggling with unhealthy eating or exercise habits, you can find resources at Half Of Us and the National Eating Disorders Association. For more information, check out the action widgets below.