Ok first of all I’ve decided I’m going to have to give up trying to do a blog post a day, I just haven’t got the time most days now I’m squeezing in gym, classes and trying to cook amazing nutritious meals! I really wanted to try to log each and every day, but to me the fact that my days are so full now (rather than sitting around all evening being bored as I often found myself before) is testament to how much I’m embracing this year and doing new things!
So, the gym has been going pretty well. Monday’s effort felt amazing, I managed to beat my treadmill running time, up the levels on the cross trainer, up the weights I was doing, and generally push myself a little bit further. Felt really great all day afterwards.
Yesterday wasn’t so good. I am at a hormonally imbalanced point in my monthly calendar which meant that:
a) I woke up in a foul mood feeling like I wanted to do nothing less than go to the gym
b) I felt quite dizzy and wobbly and seriously questioned whether I should be going to the gym!
I managed to drag myself there with some encouragement from Mr TwentyNine, but cardio felt like a no-go area for me so I stuck to weights which actually made a nice change (and I did manage to increase what I was lifting too!), rounded off with 15 mins of exercise bike once I felt a bit more able.
I do admit that I’m struggling with my impatience to see a change. I know it’s only been 10 days so far, and that realistically I’m not going to notice anything at all for at least 4 weeks if not more, but I want to know NOW that I’m doing some good! It’s really frustrating to go from the high feeling you get after doing a really great workout, to getting home and realising that your skinny jeans still audibly laugh at you when you consider putting them on. It’s also frustrating that I’m not losing anything weight-wise, which is ridiculous as a) I don’t want to, and b) I know that turning fat into muscle can make you weigh more, if anything. But the fact is I am exercising, drinking lots of water, not eating more than 1,500-1,800 calories a day and so far nothing is happening!! The control freak in me can’t stand it!
I am also getting a bit fed up with the constant “Why are you going to the gym? You don’t need to!” and “You’ll disappear soon!” and “You’re lucky, you’re naturally slim anyway!” comments coming from family, friends, colleagues, een complete strangers!
AAAAARGHHHHH! I will answer those questions here, and direct any further askees to this blog to find their answers!
Q. “Why are you going to the gym? You don’t need to!”
A. To address the title of this blog – I am skinny fat. Here are the facts.
Height – 5ft 4in
Weight – 120lbs
BMI – 20.6
All good, you might be thinking, and you’re right, those stats look great.
Body fat percentage – 32.4%
That unfortunately puts me into the ‘above average’ category for women of my age, and a good 10% above the start of the ‘ideal’ category I’d like to fall into. It also makes me skinny fat.
I only came across this term recently when I was googling ‘skinny but high percentage body fat’ because essentially, that is my problem. It is described very well in this article here but to put it in a nutshell while I may be slight in weight, the weight that I do have is All. Bad. Stuff. It’s fat, it’s not muscle. I hold my hands up and confess that, prior to the past 10 days, I have been a complete exercise-phobe! I literally did nothing behind the essential movements from room to room at home and at work, and the occasional short walk at the weekends. I spend Monday-Friday from 8:30 – 5:30 sat on my backside at my desk, only moving if I want a cuppa or a toilet break. I am unfit. I get out of breath walking up a flight of stairs, and at my age/weight that is just ridiculous!
So do I need the gym? Yes, I badly do.
Q. “You’re lucky, you’re naturally slim anyway!”
A. No I’m not!! I am categorically not one of those people with a fast metabolism who can stuff their faces all day long without gaining an ounce. Want to know how I am the weight I am? Because I eat (or rather ate) sod all. I would try to limit my calorie intake to 1200-1500 a day, and on the days where I caved to this ridiculous diet and binged on all the fattening sugary foods I could find, I’d fast for the next day to compensate. None of this was a conscious effort – I’d do it without even realising it. But in totally the wrong way! Whereas now I can cook an incredibly healthy, delicious meal full of vegetables and other nutritious foods without going over 500 calories, my previous answer would be something like half a pizza, or a Weight Watchers microwave meal, or 5 chicken nuggets and chips, or a chicken korma cooked with a low-fat but bursting with sugar jar of sauce. The problem was that people only ever saw the stuffing my face part. They’d see me cramming in a muffin, or a greasy burger or half a pack of biscuits, and that’s what they’d notice. What they’d fail to see was the following days when I skipped breakfast, had a cup-a-soup for lunch and one of the pathetic excuses for meals I listed above for my dinner.
Yes, it kept the weight off. Yes, with clothes on I looked skinny and I loved it. But my poor body suffered in so many ways as I did this on and off over the last 10 years. At my lowest adult weight of 107lbs my hair was dry and completely lifeless, my nails were thin, flaky and brittle and wouldn’t grow past the end of my fingers, my skin (although always a sufferer of adult acne at some points in the month) was pale, greasy and spotty, and my eyes looked dark, tired and sunken. I couldn’t escape the fact that underneath the skinny jeans and body con dresses, my body did not look good. Thin – yes. Healthy – not in the slightest.
It was evident from the fact that I put on 8lbs on holiday over 2 weeks this year (when I was consciously still trying to eat as carefully as I could but allowing myself a big meal every night and the occasional treat) that I was eating all the wrong things and carrying the wrong type of weight. My legs looked so lumpy when I got back from holiday that I looked at all the quick-fix answers I could find – cellulite creams, leg massagers, and I seriously considered taking out a membership at my local nail salon to use their vibration plate machine! It took a lot to admit to myself that the one, the ONLY way I was going to have the body I dreamed of was to change my diet radically and exercise, exercise, exercise.
So am I naturally skinny anyway? Not by a long shot.
Q. “You’ll disappear soon!”
People who know me, or anybody who takes the time to read the above, will know that ‘disappearing’ is not my intention. I have no desire to be a shape where my hip bones stick out under my skin like chisels. I don’t want a sunken, haunted look to my eyes and cheeks. I don’t want harsh protruding joints any more than I want a deflated chest and a shapeless backside.
I. Just. Want. To. Be. Fit. And. Healthy.
I think it’s actually quite sad (although guilty of it myself until recently) that we live in a society where we think that someone going to the gym MUST mean they’re on a quest to lose weight. Why can’t we see it more as a part of something we should all be doing daily? Most of us are so less active than the human body was ever intended to be! Maybe I’m being harsh and I’ve hidden my problems away for so long that I’ve done nothing to stop people being led to the assumption that I am on a quest for thinness, but I still find it very difficult to convince anybody who puts such a statement forward to me that ‘disappearing’ is not on my wishlist.
So will I disappear? No. I will get leaner, stronger and healthier.
I will be very, very much more visible.
I have a clear picture in my mind of what I want to look like, and I have taken some ‘before’ photos so I can track my progress visually, rather than using the scales. When I’ve reached my first time target – 6 weeks – I might just get brave enough to post them side by side, and hopefully by then I will be seeing a start of the difference I’m after! Until then I will just have to be patient, persevere and go with the gut feeling I have that I know I am making a difference. I also have to work hard to ignore the people who are questioning me, doubting me, and adding to that niggling little devil in my mind that occasionally asks if I really think I can do this?
Yes. I can. I will.
Are you a skinny fat girl? Have you come up against the same kind of comments/criticisms? Or maybe you’ve been the one commenting/criticising! Leave me a comment and let me know!