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'My hair was falling out, my gums were receding': How Massy Arias overcame depression to become a fitness guru

Devon Kelley
Assistant Beauty Editor

Massy Arias is fitness influencer and a speaker at theCURVYcon, showing her 2.3 million Instagram followers how to embrace their bodies and approach fitness from a functional perspective rather than an aesthetic one.

Massy Arias is tired of seeing women conform to societal body pressures. Arias is a speaker at theCURVYcon, the body-positive conference headlined by Emmy-nominated actress Chrissy Metz, which will be live-streamed exclusively on Yahoo Style on Friday, Sept. 8, at 6 p.m. and starting at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 9. (Photo: Courtesy of Massy Arias)

But Arias didn’t always have such an empowered approach to health. Just six years ago, she struggled from severe depression that left her body deteriorating from malnourishment and her mental health in shambles. “My hair was falling out, my gums were receding, and I wasn’t eating,” Arias tells Yahoo Style. “That was a turning point for me.”

Now Arias maintains a fitness empire, helping women with similar struggles take control of their health as a full-time job. Her fans, her husband, and her baby daughter keep her accountable for her health. “When I have no motivation, the emails and comments from people telling me that I am their inspiration keep me going,” she says. “Having a partner who motivates me and my daughter means I have somebody else to get up for and get moving every day.”

Still, catering to a massive audience can be exhausting, so Arias instead rejects the idea of maintaining a perfect façade. “I’m showing them that I have days where all I want to do is chill. I have days where all I want to do is meditate. I have days of immobility, days of flexibility, days of balance,” says Arias. “I want to talk about injury. I want to talk about all these different areas, and honestly the hardest part is to try to please everybody.”

For Arias, relating to other women is the most important part of her job, and motherhood has played an integral role in seeing eye to eye with her clients. “I am completely more empathetic than I was before. I can relate to a lot more women than I was relating to before,” she says. “I understand how difficult it is to give birth and to reconnect with my body. It’s made me a better person, and it’s made me a better trainer.”

She hopes to share the importance of self-love to her clients and to her daughter. “If my daughter was looking at me 20 years from now, I’d want her to be proud of me. I want her to know I did everything I wanted to do. I was fearless, I was unstoppable, and I never let anything and anybody stop me from what I wanted,” says Arias. “That’s what I want to pass on to my daughter and to women in general, to stand for what they believe in and to just love themselves.”

She believes that fluctuations in your body shape shouldn’t dictate your body image and hopes to show that to her clients too. “A lot of people don’t know that I went all the way to almost 180 pounds, they didn’t see it because I have so much muscle on me, but I gained 32 pounds [during pregnancy] and gained over 35 after I had the baby, eating and breastfeeding and all of that,” she says. “When you have that self-love and self-confidence, there’s nothing more sexy than when a woman accepts herself and has no insecurities because she loves her body.”

Massy Arias used fitness to fight mental illness and wants other women to share the confidence she’s gained. (Photo: Courtesy of Massy Arias)

She continues: “As women, we try to please other people, and it’s not until we’re completely confident that we can be completely happy. Women have this idea that we need to appear a certain way in order to be loved or in order to have the right attention or bring the right attention to ourselves, but when we love ourselves, we’re not doing anything other than what makes us happy.”

theCURVYcon takes place on Sept. 8 and 9 and will be live-streamed exclusively on Yahoo Style

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