Monday, February 07, 2011

Skinny Fat

My journey has evolved over time. Making the decision to get banded, weight loss, maintenance, to focusing on improving my overall health and strength. After hitting my first weight goal, I switched to focusing more on health---not only the number on the scale. When I got the band I wanted to be thin again, but I also wanted to be strong and healthy.

Most of us, including myself, are a bit obsessed with being thin. But the body is a funny thing. You can look thin, but still be fat even though your BMI is within the healthy range for your weight and height. It's one of the weaknesses of both the scale and BMI---there is no body composition component. So while I have always believed exercise was critical and was doing a decent amount, I started wondering am I skinny fat? Did I have a high body fat percentage to my lean body mass? Had I lost lean body mass along the way vs. maintaining or ideally increasing it?

I don't know where I started body fat wise, but I know I was fat both scale wise and plain ol' fat wise when I started out (just look at that pic!). Unfortunately, I never got my body fat percentage taken along the way either. I've mentioned in the past year that while I have lost a few pounds, I have seen more changes in body shape / size since I made the shift to focusing on strength/health. I'm also definitely much stronger. So, I've decided to get my body fat percentage taken this week.

In the meantine, I thought I'd look at my own comparison from my final goal weight of 138-142 lbs.
  • I could jog five miles in under an hour.
  • I could finish a 5K in about 30 mins.
  • I could run a mile in about 9:30 mins comfortably.
  • I was wearing a size 6.
  • My arms were squishy---no real definition. My legs were better from the running.
  • I could not do a full man push up.
  • I was scale dependent. I weighed in once a week and, if I am completely honest, it either made me feel good or bad about myself.
  • I think I was at least a bit skinny fat. I looked thin, but not lean.
At my current weight range 132-136lbs:
  • I can jog five miles in under 45 mins and still have plenty of gas left in the tank.
  • I can finish a 5K in about 28 mins.
  • I can run a mile in about 8:30 mins comfortably.
  • I am wearing a size 4 (solid designer 4 - in other brands I wear a 2 or 3 juniors)
  • My arms and legs are solid with definition.
  • I can do at least 10 full man push ups (I haven't tried to do more than that in a row, but have done multiple sets of 10!)
  • I am not scale dependent. I have not weighed since before Christmas. My clothes were a bit tight right after the start of the new year, but are no longer tight. Last time I weighed 129lbs. I'll weigh again eventually, but not sure when.
  • I believe I am no longer skinny fat.
I see plenty of women that are not what is commonly defined as "thin" in camp, at races, the gym, but damn are they fit! And, I am a firm believer that they will outlive those women that have a small number on the scale, but aren't fit. So my point is that it's more than a number on a scale---a low number does not automatically equate to healthy. How fit are you? What are your fitness goals? Are your goals more than a number on the scale? And most importantly, do you believe? (Wish is a 4-letter word!)


Justawallflower said...

This is an awesome post! It really is amazing how much people consider the number on the scale, or even their pant size as a guidance to how "fit" or "healthy" they are. Thanks for sharing! And awesome on the improvements!

Angi said...

I agree with Wallflower... this is a great post. You are totally right on that whole skinny-fat versus skinny-fit thing.

Ever thought about writing a book?

Nella said...

Great great pic!
I need to try doing that!
I am still anonymous!