Skinny fat

So, as I mentioned before, I had a “health scare” of sorts on Sunday that I’m almost embarrassed to share. Luckily, my blog is still super new, so I’ll just pretend no one will read this :)

One of my favorite forms of exercise is a boot camp that is put on here in town called Camp Gladiator. I stumbled upon it last summer when looking for ways to get into shape for my wedding. I am NOT a do-it-yourself kind of exerciser…I have close to zero motivation to work out at home on my own. I have to be around people, either in a class or at a gym, in order to really get in a good workout. So, boot camp seemed like a great way to force myself to work harder.

Oh boy, was I right.

It’s held outdoors, the trainers are motivating without being too militant, and there are tons of people there to keep you going.

Anywho, I’ve been doing this camp for roughly 10 months now. I feel better and stronger than I’ve ever felt, but I know that I’m still nowhere near my fitness potential. I still get lazy, skip workouts, and overeat on the weekends. I KNOW this, but it all came to head on Sunday. My boot camp is implementing a “nutrition challenge” of sorts this month to help us get ready for summer. It includes both a nutrition plan AND a chance to get your body fat tested both at the beginning and the end of the challenge. We tested our body fat through Hydrostatic Body Fat Testing, which is basically dunking yourself underwater and having a scale measure your fat vs muscle (read more about it here).

I went in on Sunday in a great mood. Honestly, I don’t mind the way I look. Sure, my thighs are a LITTLE bigger than I’d like, and sometimes my tummy can roll more times than I’m comfortable with. But still, for being (almost) 26, I’m better off than a lot of people I know…(insert awkward self-portrait here…)

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I dunked, I dunked again, and I dunked AGAIN. Having to expel every spec of air from your lungs three times in a row is quite possibly the worst feeling EVER. Or so I thought, until I got the results :(

Turns out, I’m not as fit as I thought I was. I have 26.2% body fat, which falls into the “unhealthy” range. Ahhh! I was mortified. The guy conducting the test told me all about “skinny fat,” and how he’s seen it time and time again. Girls with low to average body weight, with “soft” features as opposed to hard, muscular ones. Apparently, this was me. In order to get down to a healthy body fat range, I need to either LOSE 10 lbs of fat, GAIN 10 lbs of muscle, or do some happy combo of both. Talk about a slap in the face.

I walked out of there, shaking and red-faced. Part of me subconsciously knew that this would happen, and the other part of me was blindsided. It’s one thing to like the way you look, but it’s FAR more important to be healthy. The thought of my body being categorized as “unhealthy” in any way was terrifying.

Have any of you ever had a rude awakening in terms of health/body fat/etc? How did you handle it?

I’ll get into my plan of action on the next post. For now, I must work.

Talk to you soon! And thanks for listening :)

-Melissa

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15 thoughts on “Skinny fat

  1. A lot of people that are skinny have this perception that being skinny goes hand and hand with low bodyfat. Thats why bodyfat testing is so important. Even though it was a shock to you, your probably glad you know so you can do something about it. Increase your muscle mass right away because it will raise your metabolism and help you decrease bodyfat. Muscle is the biggest energy hog in the body. I have a post about training for women that might help you. Also controlling your insulin levels is key to reducing bodyfat. Contact me if you have any questions. Good luck

  2. Hey Melissa!

    I’m right there with you, girl! Skinny fat. It’s a sad story! :) Like all your life people telling you how thin you are you and how they scoff at you if you mention working out because why would someone your size need to work out? But with me also having more than 20% body fat, it was an eye opener!

    I started a weight lifting training program in February and LOVE LOVE LOVE it. You can click on over to my blog to read a bit about it (http://jenniferhudy.wordpress.com/). I’m on the quest to turn this skinny fat girl into skinny buff girl :)

    Good luck to you!

  3. I did! The women in my family have historically high cholesterol, and I always sort of thought that it was due to their relative “plushness”. Around your age, I found out that at 5’2″ 120lb I was “skinny fat” AND had cholesterol OVER 250. I immediately switched to turkey burgers, cut back on eggs, drank flax in my coffee, took fish oil, etc. With ALL that, the lowest I got down to was 187. Blah! But, by that time, I was ridiculously skinny and still losing weight, so I quit worrying about it.

    My advice to you? Exercise, balanced diet, plenty of water, and then fuggedaboutit! – not a big deal :)

  4. Hey Melissa-

    Just curious.. what is your height and weight?

  5. loseitbig says:

    How accurate are the scales that compare your body fat to dunking way? I am just curious. Thanks

    • I haven’t done a scale in forever, but I did input my measurements into the US Navy online BF calculator, and it gave me 23% which was lower. Dunking is one of the most accurate forms there is!

  6. Elizabeth says:

    Congrats to you for taking action and doing something about it! I have always eaten healthy and taken care of myself, but carried high cholesterol (220ish). Finally I got tired of feeling sorry for myself and decided to do something about it. I turned to a vegan diet and have dropped my cholesterol into the healthy range! Taking charge of my diet has empowered me. I love knowing I am in control of my own health! Good luck and keep us updated!

  7. [...] great. To be honest, I was never much of a workout-while-on-vacation kind of girl, but after my rude body fat awakening, I figured the LAST thing I want to do right now is make that 26.2% any higher. I was pleasantly [...]

  8. [...] had a scale-induced MELTDOWN in front of my husband, Preston. It was pathetic. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m struggling with the concept of “skinny fat” and how to bring down not my [...]

  9. [...] my quest to build up muscle and lower my overall body fat, I decided that I should brainstorm some sort of reward-based system to help me stick to my workout [...]

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