You might know Anna Victoria for her killer Fit Body Guide workouts, pretty smoothie bowls, and candidness about her stomach rolls and posed fitness photos. That’s why it makes it hard to believe that the Instagram fitness sensation used to cringe at the people who spent hours meal planning and working out.
“Growing up in a small town in Southern California, I thought that people who worked out a lot and ate healthily were just really into themselves and cared about what they looked like,” she recently said in a YouTube video on her channel. While Victoria admits her generalization wasn’t fair, at the time, she thought healthy living seem unnecessary and pretentious. “While I definitely wished for a flat tummy…I never cared enough to do something about it,” she said.
Victoria continued the video by walking through her fitness journey, starting with her childhood. “I did not grow up with the least amount of knowledge about healthy eating or working out—and to be honest, I really didn’t care,” she said, adding that she also loved fast food, which contributed to an unhealthy lifestyle.
“I was eating microwavable food, fast food, packaged and processed food—that made up 100 percent of my diet from when I was 12 up until I was in college,” she said.
Eventually, that led to a series of health problems. “I had a lot of digestive issues…a lot of GI issues,” she said. “[But] I wasn’t putting two and two together.”
At the beginning of her senior year of college, Victoria even found herself in the emergency room with excruciating stomach pain. The doctors just gave her some medicine and sent her home. Victoria went back to her poor eating habits and continued living her life the same way. Looking back, she realizes the issues were all a result of her poor diet. (Related: How Anna Victoria Learned to Become a Runner)
Then she met Luca—now her husband. “He’s Italian and they eat really really fresh, whole, natural foods—and they’re very balanced,” she said. “When he came into my life and started noticing how I was eating, he’d tell me stuff like, ‘Anna, you can’t keep eating Goldfish crackers for dinner.'”
At first she was hesitant to heed his advice, but eventually, as she started trying different foods, she realized how much eating affected her body. “[Before], I had no energy levels, I had poor sleep quality, and that was all coming from what I was eating and my activity level,” she said.
In 2012, Victoria decided it was time to make some significant changes in her life. She had just moved to China to study abroad and found time to research about health and fitness. She also started her first fitness Instagram account, where she shared inspirational quotes and transformation pictures to hold herself accountable. “I pretty much threw myself into my fitness journey,” she said. (Related: This 15-Minute Metabolic Workout from Anna Victoria Will Work Your Entire Body)
Victoria started gaining followers who began motivating her to continue finding a healthy lifestyle that worked for her. But that didn’t mean it was always easy. “My biggest struggles were always mental,” she said. “I had a really hard time coming to terms with the fact that I needed to hone in on my calories and macros. There came a point where I plateaued and wasn’t seeing results. I really had to swallow my pride a little bit and look into what macros were all about.”
For example, Victoria realized that her fat intake was too high and her carb intake was too low, she shared. “Once I addressed that, I saw my body go to another level,” she said.
She also had to find a balance between lifting and cross-training to help reach an optimal fitness level. (Related: Anna Victoria Wants You to Know That Lifting Weights Doesn’t Make You Less Feminine)
Overall, Victoria hopes that by sharing how much her mindset changed and all the ups and downs she had, that people will realize that no fitness journey is linear. “I wish I knew that I didn’t need to be perfect and that I just needed to focus on my progress,” she said. (Related: Anna Victoria Has a Message for Anyone Who Says They “Prefer” Her Body to Look a Certain Way)
She ended her video by reminding viewers not to compare themselves to others and to focus on their own journeys. “Everyone’s journeys are going to look different, everyone’s bodies are going to look different,” she said. “So don’t let that get you down.”
Watch her entire video below to learn more about how Anna transformed her life both mentally and physically to get to where she is today.