Plus size designer Anna Scholz went from a size 28 to a size 18 and has launched her own fitness and recipe column to show girls that they can still be curvy AND healthy.
The former plus-size model and designer, graced the covers of glossies in her native Germany throughout her teens, embarked on a healthy living and eating plan after a health scare three years ago that gave her the push to get fit.
She began making her own clothes at 13, when she was 6ft tall, a size 16 and couldn’t find anything fashionable, young and sexy in her size. The entrepreneur had her first clients at 16; when she began modelling at 18, she saw a gap in the market for fashion forward, womanly and exciting clothes beyond a size 14. Anna made it her mission to make curvy women feel better about themselves and is an Instagram star with thousands of followers.
Her designs have gained a legion of fans across the fashion industry and her new column in plus-size magazine SLiNK, encourages girls with curves to eat healthily and use gentle exercise to increase their fitness, mind and health. Anna has teamed up with personal trainer Clifton Fearon, co founder of Elite Fitness to create easy to follow exercises that compliment her recipes healthy lifestyle.
Anna said, “I get a lot of reaction to my foodie Instagram posts, sometimes more than to my collection posts. Customers are constantly enquiring about recipes and have told me numerous times that I have inspired them to change their habits and start moving more. When Rivkie from Slink magazine approached me to be a columnist, I saw it as an opportunity to share my new passion about nutrition and cooking with my customers and the magazine’s readers. I work in an industry where we get accused of promoting obesity and I would like to demonstrate that you can be healthy in different sizes.”
Anna opened up further about being a plus size fitness guru, the backlash and what inspires her to stay healthy.
Have you always been in the plus-size category or did you gain weight over time?
I have been plus size since I was a child; I slowly gained more and more weight over the years. I just read that if you eat an extra 100 calories every day, you will gain a stone in a year. You eat every day and have to make better choices all the time, so this is a journey I am on for life, not a quick fix but a change.
What prompted your fitness journey?
When I turned 40 I had gallstones stuck in my bile duct, which turned into pancreatitis. I had to stay in hospital for three long weeks, which gave me plenty of time to think that I needed to start looking after myself to be fit enough for the very active lifestyle I have. I simply wanted to have more energy.
What did you do to lose weight and get fit?
Apart from exercise I changed my eating habits, avoided all processed food and exercised a lot of portion control. I replaced my sugar cravings with much better snacking options like oatcakes with organic nut butter, which satisfy my cravings much more than biscuits ever did.
My biggest luxury is my personal trainer who I now see three times a week for an hour. I started off slowly with twice weekly for 30 minutes and slowly increased over the years. He motivates me and pushes me much harder than I ever would.
Did you receive support from the plus-size community?
Most people are intrigued, supportive and interested, but some of my customers’ feel that I am not really plus size anymore; but at a size 18 to 20 and being 6ft 1in tall, I certainly still am.
What is your typical weekly fitness routine?
I see my personal trainer three times a week, always in the morning. I find if I don’t get it out of the way at the beginning of the day I won’t go and I’ll end up using excuses like not wanting to ruin my blow dry. We focus on a mixture of cardio including boxing – which I love. My trainer also incorporates resistance, core training and weights into my sessions. He keeps it varied and interesting for me so I don’t get bored. I also walk my dog every day; occasionally I turn that walk into a light jogging session.
What is your typical daily diet?
You can make healthy foods more appealing and interesting by experimenting with flavours. I really enjoy putting new ingredients together and creating something new.
First of all I try and avoid processed food and buy organic where I can.
Although my boyfriend who is also a personal trainer and nutritionist keeps trying to get me to drink lemon water in the morning…I can’t quite get myself to do that as I like a nice big cappuccino to start my day. If I train I have a protein shake afterwards and I add plenty of berries which make it taste nicer and adds vitamins.
I vary my breakfast and I find that eggs with rye bread and some avocado fill me up for a long time, and I am rather fond of porridge with cinnamon and blueberries. For lunch I usually have a salad greens with all kinds of add-ons like, goats cheese and beetroot with seeds; tuna, tomatoes and artichokes; chicken strips and mangetout with mango. I am a big fan of cooking extra for dinner and adding bits like roasted sweet potatoes for lunch the next day. My dinners are really varied, but I try and avoid big portions of carbs like pasta and rice. I eat all kinds of meat and fish and try to be as creative as possible with my vegetables, especially dark leafy greens.
It is important to say that I am not that strict, I feel it is important to have a cheat meal a week (or two) otherwise you won’t stick to any regime, just don’t make those a habit.
What words of advice would you give anyone on a journey to improve their health through weight loss?
Being healthy means eating a balanced nutritious diet and exercise regularly.
Don’t fall for a quick fix. You have to be patient and take it very slow. It takes a long time to gain all the weight and the healthiest way to loose any weight is to take it slowly. Don’t focus on the scales; it is not about weight loss, but on improving overall fitness and toning up.