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Parker McKenna before and after

Source: Gregg DeGuire/Jerod Harris / Getty

Actress Parker McKenna Posey has come a mighty long way from her days playing little Kady Kyle on My Wife and Kids, and when you look at the now 23-year-old, you can very well see that.

She has spent her years since the ABC comedy went off the air working to feel her best in her body. To grow strong, build muscle, and in her words, to be “slim thick.”

The journey to do so began soon after she stopped playing Kady, based on what the beauty told BET during a recent interview. When she started going through puberty, she noticed that she started to look a lot different than the other young girls who were going out for the same roles. Because she wasn’t teeny, tiny Kady anymore, the roles started to dry up.

“When I hit puberty and things started changing around 12, 13, I realized I’m not about to be a twig anymore. I’m not going to just have a kid body anymore,” she said. “And even going out for my auditions back then used to be hard because I didn’t look my age. My body was just a little bit different than everybody I was competing with. So that’s really when it hit me. I realized, ‘Ok, I’m probably going to be a little bit curvier.’ And back then I was like, ‘I don’t like it.’ It bothered me, mainly because it affected my work and auditioning and stuff like that. I stood out more so than I needed to.”

Starting last year, McKenna decided to make a number of different changes, including getting way from a relationship that was reportedly abusive, moving, and getting in the gym almost every day.

“Last year I kind of like was over everything” she said. “I didn’t even know if I wanted to act anymore, what I really wanted to do. I moved away and was just in a crazy situation, so it’s time to start getting things together. I want to feel better, I want to look my best. Cause like I said, I was super skinny and I was feeling frumpy for once in my life and just not feeling myself.”

So she linked up with her trainer, Quinton Horton. With his help, she was able to gain weight in the the places she wanted to, tone up, looking and feeling her best. And the great thing about Horton is that he doesn’t restrict what the actress consumes in the way that many trainers do.

“I am so bad when it comes to dieting. I love food way too much,” she said. “So I really love that about Q. He knows that I’m going to eat my pastrami chili cheese fries and all that stuff, but he makes sure to get me in the gym and tone those areas. Work on what I have and not focus on what I don’t have.”

The hard work has been paying off, so much so that she’s left fans of My Wife and Kids blushing on Instagram.

“‘Oh Katie you were like so little and now you’re an adult.’ It’s so funny to me because it’s like, what did you guys expect? Did you not grow up? I’m confused,” she said. “I’m sorry that I made you guys feel super old or uncomfortable or whatever the case may be [laughs]. I even see those comments sometimes too: ‘You should’t be doing this, you’re Katie!’ No. Katie was a character. I’m actually Parker and I don’t know what you guys want from me. I’m being myself and I just grew up.”

The confidence she has shown in order to “get on the ‘gram and shut sh-t down” as she put it, fully embracing her body as an adult, comes from working to have the utmost confidence in herself.

“I always tell everybody that you have to be your biggest fan,” she said. “Wake up and tell yourself in the mirror you’re beautiful, you look great, and you’ll really believe that eventually. I really love my body now and I learned to just be comfortable in my skin and show it off if you’ve got it. Even if you don’t got it, just love yourself and just be yourself.”

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