Daytime talk show co-host gains nearly 20 lbs after divorce — and feels more like herself

Kerry Justich

Jeannie Mai has been through a lot this year, from announcing her divorce from her husband of nearly a decade, Freddy Harteis, to finding out just 6 months later that he’s going to be a father with his new girlfriend. But the co-host of Emmy-award-winning daytime talk show The Real took to Instagram amid her ex’s announcement to share some positive news of her own — her 17-pound weight gain.

In a pair of before-and-after photos, the 39-year-old TV personality posed in the exact same dress at her previous weight and after her nearly 20-pound gain. Although she looks undeniably gorgeous in both, she shared why she made the decision to add a few pounds and how it’s making her happier.

“On the left is the first time I tried on this dress, at a weight I’ve kept for 12 years, 103 lbs,” Mai wrote. “Staying 103 came from my self control to lose ‘chubby’ teenage weight and a stressful idea that my body was built to look best ‘thin.'”

But after believing that she needed to strive to be lean for so long, the recently single Mai decided she’s been through enough and doesn’t want her body to continue to suffer.

“I realize that I’ve been thru so much shit mentally and emotionally, why the hell should my body be forced to suffer (from my over controlling ways) too? So 3 months ago I started a new eating plan and training program and gained 17 lbs,” her caption reads proudly. “I don’t have a weight goal…just a promise to be as physically strong as I am mentally indestructible.”

Having previously been transparent about her decision to divorce from Harteis, Mai has seemingly adopted the strategy of being open with her over one million fans and followers, who remain interested in how she is moving on from her long-term relationship. Her process seems to have a focus on getting to know and love herself, which body image has a lot to do with.

“So far I’m 3 months of eating more, (clean protein and saying yes to carbs!!), lifting heavy weights (best therapy ever!!) and truly loving all of me,” she wrote. “Not sure where I’m headed but I know I’m gonna look the best I’ve ever looked because I’m spending quality time on ME. Here’s to Mai first.”

Although the star doesn’t go into more details about her specific routines, Mai has been posting a lot of her workouts to Instagram and seems to be attaining fitness influencer status.

Mai’s fans noticed the difference, mentioning in the comments that she looks both healthier and happier. But what the TV favorite points out herself is the opportunity for more camera angles.

“I’m def learning now that a figure with curves offers interesting angles,” she writes. And she’s certainly learning how to work them.

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