Chelsea Settles is an absolute inspiration for the young women who are convinced that they are trapped in a lifestyle that threatens their very existence.

Last year we profiled Settles who currently has her own reality show on MTV that dutifully documents her journey from small town USA to the glam factory of LA. When the now college grad made her debut, she was 325 pounds. But that was so yesterday!

Today, Chelsea Settles is starting the New Year on a lighter note. Literally. The 24-year-old has slimmed down considerably and not only looks absolutely amazing but also feels healthier than she has ever felt in her life. Settles achieved her goal the good old fashion way without succumbing to any surgical procedures for instant gratification. She embraced a more disciplined and structured lifestyle that included a healthy high-protein diet with lots of veggies. She also maintained an exercise regimen that targeted her problem areas, and the results are undeniable.

She explains to US Weekly how she finally got herself on the right side of the tracks, “ I started to eat for the right reasons—for fuel—not because I was bored or emotional, “I’d never really believed I could change. But as soon as I visualized what I’d look like if I did and stopped making excuses, change happened”.

If that’s not inspiring, then I don’t know what is. Kudos to Settles for highlighting the “Real” aspect of her Reality show and successfully battling the demons that were intent on robbing her of the life she deserved to live to the fullest.

For all the youngsters out there battling with their weight, this could be you!

  • http://www.adivastateofmind.com A Diva State of Mind

    She looks great!!! Congrats to Chelsea!

  • FaSho

    She looks fabulous. I’m glad she did it the healthy way instead of chopping and dicing her insides up. Look forward to seeing what happens next with her in LA. CONGRATS keep up the good work

  • http://blackinthestacs.blogspot.com BLITS

    “But as soon as I visualized what I’d look like if I did and stopped making excuses, change happened” <—- THIS!! Kudos to her. She looks fab. I'm on my workout grind too because of her and the show. Can't wait for Season 2.

  • http://www.herperfectblackdress.com Dr. Reginia

    She looks great. I am very proud of her accomplishments. it takes hard work and dedication to lose and maintain this type of loss. Great job girl.

  • Jess

    i only caught her show once, but was impressed by Chelsea’s beauty, courage and intellect. So happy for such a nice girl!

  • gmarie

    congrats to her! I think it also helped for her to be taken out of her environment. I know she wishes she could’ve stayed back east to help her mother but believe that town was stunting her growth. I didnt finish up the season..is she still with that boy?

  • Ginger

    Congrats, she looks wonderful!

  • TheBestAnonEver, Part 2

    She looks wonderful. Good luck to her because the REAL work has just started.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/01/magazine/tara-parker-pope-fat-trap.html?pagewanted=all

  • Piper

    As much as I am proud of Chelsea Settles for doing something that is right for her, I can’t help but think of all the young people, especially women, out there who will read this and think that life begins when you are thin (or thinner). I don’t want to hate on skinny people, but a lot of them think that just because someone is fat, they need to be rescued. Her choice was an INDIVIDUAL choice, and while she should be proud of herself, Clutch Magazine (and a lot of so-called black magazines and I say this as a fat black woman whose a size 24/26) does a disservice to young people by assuming that life can only begin as soon as someone loses weight. For those of us who have tried and failed at dieting, I would suggest a more balanced perspective. How about showcasing someone whose tried and failed at dieting, and is learning to love themselves no matter what size they are. By the way, I’m healthy, no health problems.

  • Piper

    Why not profile Gabi Fresh? She’s proud to be plus-sized, no offense to Chelsea Settles. It would be nice to see the other perspective. As a size 24/26 woman whose given up on dieting, and just chooses to be healthy, I’m really tired of coming to your magazine and seeing these articles shaming women into thinking their life cannot begin until they lose weight! Shame on you, Clutch!

  • Piper

    Are you going to erase this too?

  • http://www.clutchmagazine.com Clutch

    Huh? What is wrong with profiling this young lady? She has her own reality TV surrounding her story of weight loss.

    Also, we in no way “shame” women – and if “shaming” means promoting a healthy lifestyle @ any size we are guilty.

    Please look over all of our content and really take the time to go through and read all of our pieces that we have accumulated over the last 5 years.

    http://www.clutchmagonline.com/2011/09/in-defense-of-fat/
    http://www.clutchmagonline.com/2011/08/putting-to-rest-fat-hatred-encouraging-self-love/

    Shame on you for making this celebration and kudos for this young woman into something else.

    On Gabi Fresh: We have featured her numerous times :)

    http://www.clutchmagonline.com/2011/06/gabi-fresh-speaks-out-are-plus-size-women-required-to-support-plus-size-designers/
    http://www.clutchmagonline.com/2010/08/young-fat-fabulous-blogger-gabi-gregg-is-mtvs-new-tj/
    http://www.gabifresh.com/2009/07/clutch.html

  • Carrie

    “I’m really tired of coming to your magazine and seeing these articles shaming women into thinking their life cannot begin until they lose weight”

    We must be reading different magazines because I have never encounter an article in this that promotes being skinny to be happy. This is simply an article about a woman who want to make a change and did so in order to have a healthy body. If you see shaming in a simple article celebrating a women who has taken control of her body and health in a safe healthy way, then chances are you have the problem.

    Like it or not being fat isn’t healthy, if it was the US would be among the healthiest countries in the world. Doing articles on fat acceptance in any form won’t make the lifestyle anymore healthy if anything if just normalizes obesity and poor health.

  • http://Www.curvyceo.com CurvyCEO

    While I applaud Chelsea’s accomplishment, I can’t help but agree with Piper in that we need to be careful of reinforcing the message that life begins only after you reach a certain size. Before everyone jumps down my throat about the need to be “healthy” let me say that I am not arguing in favor of obesity. (Hooray for chafing thighs and knee pain! Um, no.) But you have to remember that good health isn’t just physical…it’s emotional as well. If you are constantly bombarded with messages that tell you that life is miserable unless you weigh x or wear size y, you may beat yourself into losing weight but you will not be able to keep it off. Long-term physical change must come from a place of self-love. Thankfully that is what Chelsea experienced – she took the risk of moving to a new environment, forced herself to experience new things, and ultimately learned to put herself at the top of her priority list…not her mom, not her boyfriend. That is the change that needs to be celebrated the most.

  • Naffy

    I would just like to point out that weight loss surgery does not equate to “succumbing to instant gratification” and is by no means an easy affair. While I have not had the surgery myself, I have read plenty about the trials and tribulations those who opt to get the surgery have to go through and I think it does a disservice to your readers for you to perpetuate the idea that it is somehow a quick fix with no difficulty involved. I in now way wish to diminish the accomplishments of Ms. Settles, I admire what she was able to do tremendously. But there is no need to build her up by cutting others down with that thoughtless comment.

  • d_nicegirl

    Great article suggestion.

  • Timcampi

    @Carrie

    There have been enough articles on how being skinnier widens the dating pool for me to disagree with you. That is clearly a perceived form of happiness gained by slimming down.

  • Ms. Information

    Piper, excessive weight is a symptom of something else…low self esteem..rejection…whatever have you. You have “given up” on losing weight? That weight can give you diabetes and other ailments. It’s not about being skinny, but who is healthy at a 24/26? NOONE!!

  • Girl

    324 isnt healthy for ANYONE. Stop deluding yourself.

    Im tired of seeing so much obesity in the black community then having deluded clowns like you saying that it’s “fine”and I will continue to APPLAUD Clutch and others for celebrating black people especially black women who get their lives together

    324 at 24 years oldf That’s beyond ridiculous.

  • OhmyKimb

    Life will definitely continue when you are actually really healthy and allow your body to operate at optimum capacity. I’m happy that you are being healthy and your right life doesn’t not start at the point of thinness, but 24/26 is NOT healthy.

    No health problems now doesn’t mean it’s good for your body later….I lost 50 pounds I had no health problems, but a least know I know my body isn’t under a bigger load to try and operate.

  • Simone

    Nice dress.

  • binks

    Agreed! That line of the article made me scratch my head because it is unnecessarily snarky and a false assumption, unless you know someone who had weight loss surgery or a doctor then you should know its not instant gratification both my parents and cousin had weight loss surgery and they work hard if not harder to maintain their weight and healthy lifestyle by no means is it a quick fix and for some people these surgeries are necessary for a jump start for heavy weight loss, I wish people do their research or at least is Knowledgeable about the subject and explore the reasoning for other options without coming to the conclusion that they did it because it was easy that is just ignorant. But congrats to Chelsea she looks great

  • fuchsia

    I love Chelsea! she brings light to MTV and her show is an inspiration for all young girls following their dreams. Chelsea never portrayed that life begins after slimming down. She set goals in her fashion career, move to a big city, and slimming down to a weight she was comfortable with and felt healthier to her. I don’t see anything wrong with giving her kudos on her success in all areas of her life. Losing weight was ONE focus of the show, not the whole thing.

  • Carrie

    @timcampi – Save it. I read that article and sure if you equate getting a date with happiness then you have other problems. I can’t help it if people are more attracted to healthy people than obese people. And guess what? That isn’t opinion, it’s stating a fact. If you have problems with clutch stating facts then maybe you should talk to the people who did the study.

  • Carrie

    @timcampi- Please. I have seen the article that you speak of and it basically said that if you are obese, the less you weight open up your dating pool. It didn’t equate dating with happiness (although you did which say something imo), it didn’t tell women to lose weight, it state scientific research. Clutch didn’t commission to study and they didn’t say “so if you wanna man, get to the gym” But do you know who did? Many of the commentors because it is true. Like it or not the majority of people aren’t interested in dating obese people. If that makes you sad, then take control and change it but don’t try to blame it on the the magazine stating their OPINION.

  • isolde

    Oy, Piper, this aint the place for FA. You better take that sanity to Jezebel. Oh, and that part about you not having any health problems . . . yeah, you could post a link to the charts from your last physical with healthy range cholesterol and blood pressure numbers and a clean bill of health, and even then you couldn’t possibly be “healthy” if you have an obese BMI. Obviously your health is based on how you look and not the clean bill of health, your doctor gave you. That quack! ;)

    Anyway, Congrats to Chelsea on her weight loss, but when you think about it, her weight loss is about as surprising as someone losing weight on “Biggest Loser.” With a trainer/nutritionist and tv cameras following her every move, of course she was gonna lose weight. I watched the show online, and what fascinated me was not the weight loss, which I thought was inevitable, but how Chelsea navigated her way through LA and found a job in retail, in spite of her size, but then again, I’m sure MTV had something to do with Chelsea being employed. So . . . anyway, Congrats to Chelsea on her weight loss.

  • Grace

    Jeez Louise. I love Clutch because it strives to be a site where it provides a balance of views. Thus, this week you may find an article that promotes healthy living, next week it may be about appreciate your size. It varies. What makes it SEEM as though they are imbalanced is because people are more likely notice, and REMEMBER, the negative things they are sensitive about, and therefore feel like they are being repeatedly attacked. Statistically speaking that could not be further from the truth.

    There are times when Clutch post articles that I vehemently disagree with. But I don’t say, Clutch needs to get its act together! WHY is it always so ONE-sided!! (I usually just don’t click on those articles, lol). Because I know someone will write something about an opposing view sooner or later.

    Just remember you are loved no matter your size and whether you choose to lose weight or get fit, there are resources that support you no matter what. Look out for the ones that support your position, forget the ones that don’t, and look within YOURSELF for affirmation.

  • http://dyhnic.tumblr.com dyhnic

    I am proud of her. Chelsea is a inspiration for all out there battling with their weight.
    She put aside her negative feelings and experiences and started to eat for the right reasons.
    If you really believe you can change, change happened.

    Where there’s a will there’s a way.

  • Timcampi

    @Carrie

    Where did I say I have a problem with it? Where did I say I equated dating with happiness? Why are you getting so defensive? Also dating is a FORM of happiness. Did you miss that word? Because it’s kind of crucial to what I said. If dating’s not a form of happiness what is it? A form of sadness? Apathy? Hand-gliding? Also you missed the word perceive. Which is a form of the word perception.

    I think you’re mistaking me for some over zealot “fat chick” bellyaching about how I can’t get a man. Sigh, wtf? I really don’t get it.

  • ThisIshRightHere

    Very timely piece. I was talking about the age-old plus/healthy debate just yesterday. I agree that a person can be [perhaps considerably] above their “normal” BMI indicator and still have a clean bill of health, so-to-speak. However, at a size 22, 24, 26 a person is easily carrying around 100 extra pounds of fat (not muscle or bone, but fat). Such a person is not operating anywhere near the optimal version of herself.

    Know also, I am not a fat shamer. I am speaking as a plus-sized woman who is on the health/fitness journey; one who like Chelsea, has lost a good bit of weight and is still technically overweight/obese. While a person weighing 324 pounds may “feel” good about herself and even have a fairly clean bill of health at present, I find no utility in pretending that obesity is not, in itself a chronic health problem.

  • Timcampi

    Lol, my issue was never with the magazine. Which is why I pointed my comment at you.

    And obviously you don’t know which article I was talking about.

    Big Love : Is Your Weight Holding You Back?

    “I struggle with this all the time. While I’m currently reforming my health to be the best Britni I can be, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit I’m also trying to drop a few pounds in the hopes that it will not only improve my health, but also increase my access to a wider selection of men.”

    That’s a clear line from slim to wider dating pool if I’ve seen one. And what did I say? “There is [clearly a] perceived form of happiness gained by slimming down” Again, you’re wrongly assuming that I’m fat and need to take control of my body. I’m only 135…I work out daily. I belly dance. Calm yourself. Save it for when I run to the Crisco lulz.

    Honestly I generally like C.M’s approach towards body issues in general. The articles usually derive from personal experience– and albeit it is a very subjective and biased view it is the truest way to address a body disorder/misidentity/crisis.

  • Soulfullyreal

    Weight is such a sensitive subject, its hard for people struggling with it NOT to feel some type of way, especially when they’ve been struggling for what seems like forever and not getting anywhere, or losing the weight only to gain it back in 6 months. I’ve been up to a size 18, and am now a 12 which is still considered “Plus size” by many, so I get it, and I actually get what Piper is saying we shouldn’t act as if the quality of our lives rest solely on our weight, and that we can’t live happy lives unless we are skinny. However, I don’t feel this particular article or Clutch in general is doing that.
    Yes Clutch will post a “healthy living/ weight loss” type of story, and then a “loving yourself no matter what size you are” story the next week, but they are not contradictory ideas. You can both love yourself as you are and strive to be a healthier person as well. Pursuing one doesn’t negate the other. I love being a freelance writer but that doesn’t mean I can’t strive to be an EIC one day. Being genuinely confident is a mind state that not many ppl, big or small, reach. Self love is a necessity to ones sanity but there is absolutely nothing wrong with self improvement (physical or otherwise) either, in fact I find it vital to my personal growth.

  • http://www.LifeStarBeauty.com Vida Starr

    Being on the show provided her access to resources that many low income overweight women do not have access too. For one thing she was living in Venice. Venice isn’t exactly cheap and many residences are not open to renting to African Americans and in many cases Latinos.

    She had access to the “L.A.” lifestyle… she lives in a place that has Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s and Bristol Farms and very clean and wonderful Ralphs and Vons Stores. I live in South Central L.A. and the closest grocery store to me is disgusting and we have had many protests about how disgusting this store is (Bad produce, spoiled meat, etc…). Some things they’ve improved… others they haven’t. She had a personal trainer. I’ve looked into getting a personal trainer for myself due to having a back injury and not wanting to exercise alone without a professional to guide me. Many of these trainers charge no less than $60 a week. Your average person cannot afford that… certainly not someone who works at a clothing store.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not taking away from Chelsea’s progress, discipline, and hard work. I love her show and I watched it because she had many of the same anxieties, pain, and self esteem issues that I had/have even though I’ve never weight nearly as much. I agree that she is an inspiration, however I’d be careful using her as the prototype or even say things like “This could be you” when she’s a girl who got extremely extremely lucky.

  • Girl

    The average person could loose weight if they wanted to. Americans always come up with stupid excuses. Only here are poor people fat. blah blkah personal trainer, blah blah special food, blah blah blah.

    and regular joe schmoes that loose weight, what’s their excuse?

  • http://www.LifeStarBeauty.com Vida Starr

    Everyone is different. Everyone loses weight or gains weight for a variety of reasons. If she could do it all on her own, then why did it take all of the things that I previously mentioned to help her to lose the weight? She didn’t magically wake up and weigh over 300lbs.

    For one thing, weight gain and loss is mostly psychological. I don’t think people “make excuses.” I think people generally and sincerely want to be fit and/or slim. For some it’s a struggle and for others its not as much of a struggle. For some it takes a lightbulb to go on in their brains to realize they need to change, some need outside motivation, some need to emotional help, and others may need something totally contrary to anything I just mentioned. If people could lose weight just because “They wanted to” then hell, we’d all be skinny. But it doesn’t work like that obviously. Just because you don’t have the same struggles doesn’t mean that others don’t.

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