Ariel Winter is on a mission for, in her own words, a “big butt” and “Michelle Obama arms.” A few more core muscles would be nice, too. “I have two abs currently and I’m looking to get more,” she says.
The ability to transform her body at the gym is a new experience for Ariel. “Years ago, it was hard because I’d go to the gym with my trainer and because of my antidepressant medications I never saw results,” she says.
Eventually, she decided to switch medications—but not for aesthetic reasons. “I didn’t change my antidepressants because I wanted to lose weight, I’d just accepted it and it was fine,” she says. “I got inspired to actually find a medication that helped me as a person and did all the things I wanted it to do.”
When she found a combination that worked for her, the Modern Family actress says it felt like it “turned back on my metabolism.” She admits the weight loss she experienced wasn’t something she even worked for, saying “it came with medications and happened really quickly.”
Yet, it made an undeniable difference in Ariel’s outlook. “When I changed meds, and started feeling better about myself mentally, losing weight was helpful because it made me feel like I wasn’t just stuck. I hate being stuck anywhere in life.”
The upside wasn’t even necessarily her slimmer new frame—”I’ve always had curves and I like having curves,” she says—but her ability to finally see more visible results in the gym. Seeing her body changed helped her unearth her workout motivation again, and now she works out three times a week.
Her sweat sessions consist primarily of strength training. “I’ll do cardio occasionally but I’m not looking to lose any more weight, I’m looking to gain muscle,” she says. “I don’t weigh myself, I don’t care about that.”
Ariel’s not a dieter, either—in fact, she loves pizza, carbs, and a good cheese plate—but she’s trying to make a concerted effort to eat healthier. “I know eating a ton of cheese, bread, greasy food isn’t great for my heart or my insides so I’m working on that,” she says. These days she’s focused on making small changes (think: turkey burgers instead of ground beef) and upping her meal prep game. “I’m trying to make more foods that will last me throughout the week,” she says.
Ariel’s recent weight fluctuations have made her the target of plenty of cruelty on social media. “I think the one thing that bugs me the most is when people say ‘Oh thank god she lost weight, she used to be so fat,’” she says.
While she used to fire back in the comments of her Instagram posts, she changed gears after a fan pointed out that she spent more time responding to negative comments than nice ones. “It’s hard not to because I’m a feisty person, nobody likes being treated that way,” she says.
But she’s committed to focusing on only what makes her happy—and that includes continuing to crush her workouts in the gym. “I’m doing something for myself that I’m seeing positive results from, and that makes me feel stronger and better,” she says. “I’m feeling more energized and healthier, and it’s inspiring me to do new things.”