Cassey Ho, creator of YouTube channel Blogilates, has inspired her subscribers since 2009, teaching them effective and attainable ways to get their best body through health and nutrition. Cassey, a digital sensation boasting over 3.4 million subscribers, is a certified group fitness instructor and Pilates mat and Reformer teacher. She created POP Pilates, which fuses pop music with traditional Pilates routines, making the workout fun and engaging for her viewers.
Part of Cassey's appeal is her realistic approach to fitness and health. With over 1 million Instagram followers and 1 million "likes" on Facebook, it's clear that her strategy to make people feel good paid off. But there was a time where Cassey pushed herself to a limit where she realized that, sometimes, reaching a certain goal won't make you happier.
"I wanted to do a fitness bikini competition because I wanted to push my body to see how far I could go, in terms of motivation," said Cassey. "Not in terms of 'how skinny can I get?' It wasn't about that," said Cassey.
With a trainer pushing her and giving her ill-advised diet and workout suggestions, Cassey developed orthorexia, which is characterized as obsessive behavior over eating a "healthy diet." She wouldn't eat apples because of the sugar; she was working out for four hours a day and consuming just 1,000 calories.
"I started to dwindle down and get very thin, and I just remember I kept looking in the mirror and thinking, 'I'm not skinny enough right here; I'm not tight enough right here,' and even though I kept losing weight every single day, I kept finding flaws in myself," said Cassey. The bikini competition got her to her thinnest, but she realized she wasn't as happy as she thought she'd be, toying with the idea of getting breast implants to alter her body because she felt it wasn't good enough as a result.
After the competition, she stopped eating as she had during the eight weeks of preparation and began to gain weight. "People saw me gaining weight and were like, 'do your workouts not work?'" Although the negative comments did hurt Cassey, she realized that working out wasn't about the physical transformation for her. "I realized it wasn't about six-pack abs or having the biggest booty. Literally, that does not define me or anybody else!"
Once she shifted her perspective and decided to do things that made her happy, that's where she saw a positive (and visible) change. "I started dancing more, I got back into Pilates, I started eating more balanced meals — oh, and sleeping more, too. And then the weight started coming off," said Cassey. Becoming happy with her body inspired her video The "Perfect" Body, which garnered 10 million views after it debuted last year. "I was trying to figure out how to take this negative energy and turn it into something else, make a statement," said Cassey. "When I released it, a lot of it was for me, because I needed people to know how I felt. I feel these things and I will crawl into the fetal position and cry. Then people started sharing it. It's not just me! A lot of people are getting attacked."
Check out the full interview to hear more of Cassey's story and advice, and let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.