Skinny Fat: A person who is not overweight and has a skinny look but still have a high-fat percentage and low muscular mass
That’s what I was in my teenage years and into my 20s: “Skinny Fat”. At least I sure fit that description but didn’t know it at the time and probably wouldn’t have cared if someone told me so.
In fact, health and fitness were never even thought it my mind until I was about 19. Oh except that time my husband (who was my boyfriend at the time) and I did P90x because we watched the Jersey Shore every night.
I obviously got obsessed with Gym, Tan, Laundry and thought “well I’ve got the tan and laundry down, so lets hit the ‘gym’ part”.
The only thing I remember about the program was the feeling of vomiting because the intensity was “too much” and thinking to myself that working out is “not my thing”. So continued my life of parties and unhealthy habits.
Fast forward to a new city, newly engaged, and a new job. Motivation with a wedding coming up started sinking in at age 19. Oh ya, I was doing the “Upcoming Wedding” workouts which entailed running a couple of times a week for maybe a mile or two and thinking I was making SO much progress.
Cardio was my only form of fitness, and the amount I did was barely worth considering me “active”. But as the wedding approached, I decided that maybe REAL gym time was necessary. I was completely clueless with my Planet Fitness membership- which really meant tanning membership for me.
I would go a few times a week with some friends, hit the treadmill and do some rounds of equipment that I had no idea how to use correctly. We would then hit up Dairy Queen or an Asian buffet and discuss how we killed our workout that day.
Little knowledge of the reverse effect we were creating in that moment with the food we were consuming. Either way, I dropped a few pounds and was comfortable with my body by the time of the wedding.
In my mind, fitness was no longer needed for the next couple years.
The day came that, although I don’t remember specific details, my husband laid down the truth and said the words “Skinny fat”. He said to be the best we can be we should focus on health and get fit together.
He encouragingly tried to be apart of fitness with me, going to our apartments fitness center, jumping on the treadmill and grabbing the dumbbells. I was still in the stereotypical mindset that weights made women “bulk” and I was afraid to push myself.
I did more research and even found a knowledgeable person to give me advice and mentor me a little… so comes the Calorie Deficient diet along with daily cardio. Ok, cool! I got this! I run a minimum of 4 times a week and consume 1200 calories of McDonald’s and red bull daily.
That was seriously my routine. So, of course, nothing happened. Maybe 5 pounds down? No muscle gain and nothing fulfilling. For some reason, I just wasn’t into it and to this day I wish I could go back in time and go all in with him – never deny the help and the desire to share in a journey with your best friend.
At the time I was a lost puppy, didn’t know what I wanted in life, who I was, where I was going and obviously didn’t like the way I looked. I would spend many evenings on the floor of my closet wondering what was wrong with me, why I couldn’t do anything with myself, or why I wasn’t good enough.
Struggling with the reoccurring self-mutilation fallbacks that seemed to help relieve pain as a teenager. The funny thing is, I had a pretty good life. There was really no reason I can tell you that I felt this way except that everyone has different breaking points and my mental health just wasn’t in the right place.
I needed something, or so I thought. Looking back now I can see what I needed was to learn to love myself and to realize I was enough.
We soon after made a HUGE decision to start a family, have a baby, and create a fulfilling life full of dreams. We started making and hitting goals… stopped smoking, stopped eating red meat, started building a tiny house on wheels.
We very quickly found out we were going to have a little one in our lives. Fitness again was out the window although we had become very consumed in pregnancy health, stretches, and daily routines to help the birthing process once it arrived.
We were all about having a wonderful natural non-complicated pregnancy. We started learning about foods and the different impact foods had on my body and the baby. Then came the weight.
I really didn’t even notice it until maybe my 8th month in pregnancy, but I all of sudden noticed the 50 extra pounds on myself and began thinking that as soon as this baby was out, I HAVE to do something. The birth was perfect, but I was left still almost 30 pounds heavier than I was used to and I was anxiously chomping on the bit for that 6-week checkup to clear me for active work!
I found myself getting on the treadmill even sooner than that and remember thinking I can’t go through all this with no progress again There HAS to be more to fitness than this. I went through a couple of personal trainers who did at home based programs which helped. I learned the different food types and portions.
For example, I didn’t realize that corn is a carb or that a portion of rice is 1/2 cup NOT 2 cups. They gave me detailed plans… eat this at this time every day and do these workouts at this time everyday, twice a day.
Check in on this day every week at this time every week. It’s exhausting just reading that isn’t it? The pounds started coming off, and I was introduced to free weights which I loved. I learned that it really helps with weight loss* and didn’t bulk me up just because I am a woman.
I got down to maybe 125 from starting weight at 140 postpartum which was great and started seeing muscle definition, but as soon as that happened, I got burned out.
I started doing more “cheat” days because I was BORED. It became work not fun. I was held accountable for a price tag and time limit (personal trainers are hired by a certain number of weeks) and by someone “watching” my progress and grading me. I got turned off and didn’t complete the programs because I felt pressured. I knew I still wanted more.
My solution to boredom and pressure came from home workouts. I began doing workout videos ONCE a day at home in the little “gym” I created myself. I had learned which foods were “clean” and had a purpose for my health and stopped eating foods that didn’t provide some benefit. No more pop. No more fast food. I stopped over complicating it.
Do one video a day. Eat whole foods. Stop depending on a 3-page long recipe to make food taste good. Food is fuel and is more beneficial in the raw, whole, original form. I began drinking a superfood shake once daily as a meal or post workout.
I joined online groups and accountability groups and surrounded myself with people who are going through the SAME thing at the SAME time or maybe have progressed further and can offer advice and support. I am a huge believer in gathering a niche of people that believe in the same thing as you, have similar goals, and want to help others achieve the same. This was a huge turning point for me.
No one else I knew was into fitness but NOW I had a family. I had multiple fitness families that I connected with and shared with, got feedback from and was held accountable for without the pressure.
The biggest thing was it was something I wanted and not expected to accomplish from a “price tag” or “time restriction”. Nothing at ALL against personal trainers, they are great and benefit so many people but for me… it was about more than “do what I say.” The approach I needed was to learn about why and how so I could apply it to my everyday life which leads me to a lifestyle change creating good and lasting habits.
By learning about wellness and applying it, instead of just following someone’s instructions telling me exactly how to live, I started to enjoy it, I fell in love with the process and felt good about my self every step of the way.
Slowly the amount of time spent on the floor in my closet reduced*, the time spent with tears in my eyes vanished. I had the purpose in my life, and I was watching myself succeed at something.
Through the entire learning process, I was busy. I had a newborn baby and was struggling with motherhood and all the things that go along with it! In fact, working out was the only thing that made me feel like a real person for a long time.
In the midst of new mother overwhelm, building our tiny house and moving cross country (which we have successfully now accomplished), I accomplished goals because I didn’t make it to hard. I didn’t overcomplicate it. People say time is a holdback, but it is only if you let it be. I would get my 20-30 minute video in at 5:30 am or midnight if I had to.
That was OK because it worked for me, and I told myself it didn’t matter when I got it done as long as it got done. Once I saw the goals being met and saw my body transform into what I dreamed I knew that fitness was my new love, that it is so important to make time for, and that it is worth sharing with others.
The simplicity combined with progress made me love fitness and want to be consumed by learning about it and progressing in it, which is what I do now every day.
Now that I have a little one watching me, I want to show our daughter the importance of self-care both mentally and physically which I believe go hand in hand and be the example showing her all things are possible.
I am still not at my ultimate goal, and I never will be. This isn’t because I cant it, I reach it every day but I continuously change it and push myself farther. There isn’t anything I can’t be or do if I set my mind to it.
That’s what fitness has taught me. I love having a community of like-minded people at different stages, it was the biggest game changer for me.
If you want to get inspired, or reach out for guidance, or just make a new friend I am always ready to add more people to my niche and take them on the journey from directionless and lost to achieving what they once thought was impossible
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In-Post Image: Shutterstock.com & Image given by Author