Queer Eye‘s Jonathan Van Ness is celebrating his weight loss journey.
The grooming guru from the hit Netflix show shared before and after photos on Instagram on Tuesday — one of him at his heaviest weight, and another of himself now.
“After my step dad passed away I gained 70 lbs. in three months,” Van Ness, 31, wrote on Instagram. “I didn’t like how I felt or looked, it’s so important for me to look back and tell that man from five years ago he was lovely and gorge. I can celebrate where I am now as long as I send love to the ‘me’s’ along the way.”
Van Ness told InStyle that he was a chubby kid until high school, when he lost weight. But after his stepdad died of bladder cancer in 2012, he gained 70 lbs. in just three months.
“I just could not stop eating, and that took me, like, two years to lose that weight,” he said. “My fitness journey now has really been from that really rapid weight gain. I was a chubby kid who got made fun of a lot, and I got fit in high school and I stayed fit in my 20s, until my dad died. I went from being pretty fit to 230 lbs., which isn’t, like, the biggest for being 6-feet-tall, but I had been 165 lbs. just three months prior. That taught me a lot about how people treat you differently when you’re fit and when you’re bigger.”
Van Ness initially started hitting the gym to lose those 70 lbs. for other people, but now he works out for himself.
“There was a time when I was like, ‘Oh my god, I have to lose this weight because if I don’t, then who’s gonna date me?’ ” he said. “[Now], my working out is about me. It wasn’t always like that, but that’s where it’s landed. It’s something that I choose to share because I want to help people feel better and I found that for me, just sharing myself seems to be helping.”
And he adds that while unfair female body standards happen to be a hot topic right now, they’re just as bad for men.
“I think that the ideal of men’s physiques in general, gay or straight, is one of the most under-talked-about things ever,” he said. “Ninety-five percent of these bodies that we’re seeing, that we’re striving so hard to look like, are genetically engineered, like, let’s be very clear. It’s steroids. It’s just important for people that are trying to do the best with what they have to be honest about it.”
Van Ness said he used to care more about looking like the men he sees in ads, but now he’s happy with his body.
“I love how I look right now,” he said. “If I were to do steroids, it would be so that other people would see me the way that I already see myself. And no! F— that. No. No, thank you.”