Fit and Fat

Fit and Fat 3

Originally titled “Fit but Fat” I actually decided there was no need for the but (after all, this post is all about having too much of that already…). Therefore it’s now “Fit and Fat”, or more precisely, how I am both.

Yep I’m physically fit, and visibly fat.

Now before you click off this quicker than the latest delivery of choc macaroon Hi-Fi bars sold out (if you know, you know…), I’m not here to moan, just to discuss my thoughts on this matter and  pass on my experiences of being a white middle class obese woman who enjoys exercising. This post may also contain some cheesy sporty outfit shots where I was wearing approximately 0% makeup, had just got back from a fitness class and persuaded my Mum to prance around the garden with me as I tried to look slightly cool whilst wearing lycra. Spoiler – I didn’t.  If that’s not your jam, fair enough, feel free to go back to your googling.

The question I want to ask is, “is being fit and fat” really a myth?

Fit and Fat

Fit and Fat 6

|   Bag – C/O DW Sports   |   Trainers – Karrimor   |   Trainer Socks and T shirt – Primark   |   Sports Leggings – C/O DW Sports   |

I wrote about my battles with being overweight in this post just over a year ago, and the response was amazing. Though reading it back now, I realise, how much in that year have I achieved? Yes, I’m another half stone lighter (which is great, seeing as at Christmas I was pretty much back to my heaviest), but is this so called yo’yo dieting ever going to slow down and not creep back up? I also still exercise as much as I did then, and I love it.

I’m proud that my size 16 bum was dragged around 13.1 miles in the half marathon a few months ago. I’m proud that I got myself fit enough, despite being fat.

As it turns out (now here’s the great big shocker everyone’s been waiting for…) losing weight is hard.

But then being fat is hard too.

Fit and Fat 2

Basically, you just have to choose which thing you’d rather stick at. I’m continuing to try and be the healthiest version of myself, and this means different things for everyone.

For me, it means eating well (i.e. all the nutrients I can possibly pack in but probably still trying to keep my sweet tooth at bay, and cutting my portion sizes), exercising regularly (which improves my physical definition, my mental health and my sleep), drinking a serious amount of water (at work I’m talking 6-8 pints of water a day) and doing this sensibly. There is no magic pill that can instantly make you thin overnight, and it takes a lot of thought, will power and determination to lose weight.

I have a goal, but I also have no idea what that will look like when I get there.

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Being lighter has so many benefits, including when you exercise. If I can power through a 45 minute routine currently with the stamina of the 8 stone lady opposite, how will I feel when I’m another 3.5 stone lighter (which, coincidentally, is still nowhere near 8st!!).

I do wonder though, watching Cathrine as we battle our way through squats and star jumps each week, if she had to wear a fat suit that made her the same weight as me, and I got to try the routine as a tiny 8st slip of a thing, how interesting that would be.

We know that BMI is outdated, but being SO close to the next bracket, I never thought I’d be happy to be labelled as “overweight”!

The official guidelines also have taken into account the size of our middles, which is the most dangerous place to store it, and coincidentally, where most of us are chubbiest! For women, a recommended waist measurement is less than 80cm (or, if you go by New Look’s size guide, anything less than a size 14). Elsewhere, the debate on being fat and fit continues, with studies upon studies throwing different cards onto the table one way or another.

So I don’t know.

I could be fitter.

I also could be a lot fatter.

I’m sure there are a lot of thinner people than me that internally are far more unhealthy. I guess that’s the biggest judgement you take as a fat person, people assume you can’t be healthy. Unless you see a smoker with a cigarette, you can’t tell that their lungs are black from tar. Unless you watch that stick thin girl you just just passed, getting out of breath from walking up a flight of stairs, you can’t tell that the last exercise she did was walking from the car to McDonalds because the drive through was busy.

But when you’re fat?

When you’re fat, you carry it around like a neon sign. You can’t hide from it. Unless people actually know you, they don’t realise that you’re trying really hard to make healthy choices, that those thunder thighs are capable of running a marathon, that you eat near enough the same nutritious food as your family, yet your body just processes it differently. So in order to stop that instant judgement of my health, I’m making an effort to change.

For now I’ll continue to be fit and fat, and not worry about it. I’m strong, and healthy and fit, and on my way to being even stronger and healthier and fitter…and not quite so fat any more.

 

Fit and Fat 4

 

***This post is in collaboration with DW Sports, but all opinions are my own***

  • Loved reading this Alice- you are an incredible lady and probably one of the fittest people I know! You are also looking INCREDIBLE in those leggings – love em! Xx

    • Thank you! :) I got to choose items I liked, I didn’t really think about the fact the leggings and bag BOTH matched my trainers!! 😉 xxx

  • I think you look great, and I find your dedication to exercise and running especially (god, I hate running) really impressive. I’ve struggled with my weight since I was a child and I have always absolutely loathed exercise (I genuinely mostly blame the horrors and traumas of PE at school). I really wish I could be more like you and exercise regularly and enjoy it, but I’ve tried so much stuff (walking, running, swimming, yoga, martial arts, cycling, dance, badminton, workouts at the gym, getting a personal trainer…) and everything had made me miserable, exhausted, teary, stressed, and completely tanked my self-esteem. I wish I could have the healthy relationship with exercise and fitness you seem to have! Keep on being fab xx

    • I never consider myself lucky that I enjoy exercise, but actually your comment has made me realise that I am! I think as long as you’re eating a balanced diet (which by the looks of things you definitely do!) and are happy, then that’s the most important thing. It’s obvious that you’re tried loads of different types of exercise, but there’s no point forcing yourself to do something you really don’t enjoy! Plus, perhaps one day you’ll discover some really peculiar sport that you love and you’ll be hooked! xxx

      • Ha, yep, totally balanced diet – a piece of cake in each hand! I try my best, but it’s difficult in my line of work. The only sport I have ever enjoyed was horse riding, but sadly it’s prohibitively expensive round here. Also I think that the enjoyment was more to do with the animals than the exercise, but still. xxx

        • Hahahaha perfect!! Well, its not as if you’re overweight so I wouldn’t worry!! 😀 I used to horse ride a lot when I was young and brave, now I’ll stick to occasionally stroking them and admiring them in the fields! xxx

          • Actually, I am overweight if you go by BMI. I’m pretty tall – 5ft11 – so I can carry it perhaps reasonably well. But still. How tall are you? I’ve heard people say often that BMI skews out if you’re very tall or very short, but it always feels like kind of an excuse… xxx

            • I am amazed! You really don’t look it! I’m 5ft 8, which I always consider reasonably tall, but then I’m still short compared to my 6ft 3 and 6ft 5 brothers! I think BMI is outdated, but it’s strange it’s still the main metric used by the NHS (even though from some research it was actually introduced in 1830 to look at population figures!) I’m also lucky that I carry my weight quite evenly, and I’m quite muscly, which makes me heavier, without looking as big physically. I’d like to lose enough to be a size 12ish again, rather than a 16, as when I’m that size, I tend to have a flatter stomach and a more defined back. It’s difficult to know what it will look like when you get there though, or even what weight that will be. People’s varying heights, weights and body shapes are fascinatingly different. when you look at a lineup of people who are all identical weights but different heights its crazy how different they can look (https://fozmeadows.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/american-women-who-all-weigh-154-pounds.jpg?w=614)

              • Yeah, I have seen pictures kind of like that before and they are so interesting. You are lucky that you carry your weight evenly! I really don’t, it’s all in my hips and thighs, so I am a completely different top size to bottom size, and I don’t even own jeans because none fit. You say BMI is outdated – which I am not disagreeing with – but is there any alternative way of determining what a healthy weight might be? xxx

                • Much healthier apparently to carry it there, mine’s mostly around my tummy and back, though I’d say I’m a reasonably even size all over. I used to hate jeans, but since losing a bit of weight I’ve discovered their comfort (I was evidently just buying them too small before!!!) I don’t know if there is, it seems like there should be, but I think BMI is still the main metric used to determine the “healthy” ranges. xxx

  • Karys

    I’ve never commented on your blog before, but have been reading along for a little while and felt this was the time.
    I’m so glad to not feel alone in the fit-fat bracket. I class myself as physically fit, currently in training to run a 10k and swim a 10k too so most weeks I’m hitting 10 miles on the road and 5 miles at the pool/quarry; but I’m a size 16 and weigh in the obese bracket (according to the most outdated BMI scales).
    Physically I’ve been at my fittest when at my biggest and I don’t see a problem with this. I eat well, train hard and maintain my curves, but if that’s the way I’m built then so be it!
    So I say, wear what you want, enjoy the exercise and feel good about yourself no matter what your size! x

    • Hi Karys!! Thank you so much for commenting (and reading as well!) it’s so appreciated! I’m so impressed at your training, that’s some serious effort! Really great to know that you also feel my struggle with being in the fit and fat zone, sounds like we’re pretty similar in both size and exercise levels (though right now running 10 miles and swimming 5 miles a week sounds beyond me!) You’re so right, it’s about doing what’s right for you, determining what your own version of healthy means and feeling good! Thank you for injecting a whole batch of body positivity into my day :) xxxx

  • Alex Barker

    I found this such an interesting read – in a slightly similar vein to part of the ‘This Girl Can’ campaign by Sport England. I loved sports as a child, but developing a more wobbly, feminine (and less naturally athletic) body made my relationship with exercise so much more complicated. Even now having made peace with puberty, I feel like my body gets in the way at times of me enjoying exercise. Still you look amazing and so toned in your workout gear!! Definitely fit and strong! xx

    • I definitely went through a tough patch as a teenager, feeling extremely self conscious about my body and not really enjoying that many sports. Now, if I miss an exercise class in a week,I really notice it, and I love the way getting hot and sweaty makes me feel! I’d love to get back into rowing, that was my main fitness love, so hopefully when I start working from home 2 days a week in September (!!) I will get to pick it up with a local club again. What are the exercises you most enjoy? xxx

      • Alex Barker

        I love yoga. As a kid I did a lot of ballet and gymnastics and felt incredibly frustrated when my body changed and it couldn’t do things it used to do with such ease. But now I love stretching it out and feeling like I’m maintaining some of that flexibility. Also I love going for a run on a cross-trainer. It feels smoother than running on a road, less impact (I weirdly hate actual running) and on a cross-trainer I feel less compulsion to hold my chest still! Plus getting off all sweaty and achy and like I just earned my dessert is such a good feeling 😉 xx

        • Mum and I were only talking about yoga last night and how we’d both like to do it more often. I think it would really help me as I’m quite inflexible, but also suffer from a very clicky sore shoulder when I’m sat at my desk all day! Even after training for and running a half marathon, I still don’t really like running either, I actually find it quite boring. I like the fact it’s free, you can do it anywhere and in any weather, but ultimately it’s quite repetitive and dull. Do you have a cross trainer at home? xxx

          • Alex Barker

            Yeh we found one locally on Gum Tree. It was a bit old, but I think the original owners paid quite a bit for it. Quite often I’ll stick on a podcast or YouTube video or episode of something, and do around an hour before I start cooking dinner. I do feel silly to be using up electricity when I could just be running outdoors, but I just hate the impact and monotony of it so much! It’s easier to distract myself when I’ve got something else to watch! xxx

            • That’s so true! Even when I was running, as I was by myself and would get bored and tired more easily than when I’m doing sports or classes, i’d stick on a podcast – my favourite was my dad wrote a porno as it’s so ridiculous and funny I’d forget I was plodding along and the miles would fly by! I love love love gum tree, you can get some great finds on there! xxx

  • Love this post! And I can completely relate. I’m exactly the same as you, I do 10k in steps most days, swim twice a week and I’m training for my fourth half marathon and yet all people see of me is the size 16, overweight person. BMI is ridiculous, but also the media and the entertainment industry just don’t show ‘normal’ people, which is what we are. I’m now going to check out those running leggings. Do they have a decent sized back pocket? I need some new running trousers that will fit my phone and keys in! Laura x

    • No sadly they don’t, which is usually something I need for running leggings too! They have elastic at the top, which is great as it doesn’t fall down, but no pocket. So I’d recommend different ones for running, but these for the gym or sports. :) Thank you for commenting, each one has given me a boost of optimism that it’s not just me, and you CAN be fit and healthy, but still medically overweight. xxx

  • Girl, I feel you with this. It’s made me determined to carry on my ten minute morning and evening exercises. I definitely fit within this bracket too, it’s hard to get rid of negative connotations but you don’t have to be thin, to be healthy and fit!
    Bee xxx

    • Here here! I feel like you’ve really helped sing this message lately, and you’ve done a brilliant job at it! I’m so impressed by your twice daily exercising, I’d love to motivate myself to do it every single day, I guess it’s all about routine! xxx

  • This is such a great post. I really do think that people can be fit and fat as you are saying. The number really has nothing to do with how fit you feel!

  • Jennifer

    I really enjoyed reading this – your writing style is really engaging and entertaining! And it helps that I find this topic so relatable. I’ve put on quite a bit over the last few years and I’m finding it really difficult to lose it now! Especially that I’m a few years older, which I never believed would be a hindrance, no matter what people told me! I do wish I loved exercise because I can’t standdddd it, and that’s really not helping it haha. Anyway, I’m so glad I came across your blog today!

    http://www.barelytherebeauty.com

    xx

    • Thanks Jennifer, that’s so lovely of you to say! I definitely take loving exercise for granted, but totally know what you mean about finding it harder as you get older to shift the pounds – and I’ve never found it easy!! xxx

  • Emma Fisher

    I read all of this saying yes yes yes. One of my besties is a size 6, but she might be one of the least fit people I have ever met. I know I have piled on the weight during chemo but I can still do a 10k hike in the peaks and kick ass in the swimming pool where as Sarah struggles to walk round our local park.
    I do need to get myself fitter, and I would love to lose some weight, but mostly to fit back into some jeans I love (and cost a fortune so I am loathed to buy a new pair) and so I can snowboard longer without knee pain!

    • Wow Emma it really sounds like you’ve been through the mill with it! Good for you for keeping your fitness up though, I can imagine that hugely improves your physical and mental health! There are so many positives to being thinner if you’re overweight, but its not that easy always is it?! I think I’m just trying to say that judging larger people as being unhealthy is unfair as you can still be fit and a bit fat, and for all anyone else knows you’re trying really hard! xxx

  • Sarah by the Sea

    My goodness Alice, you are so toned! I have a few skinny friends who are far from fit & live off junk food, one hates walking so much she only ever uses public transport.. but I’m not here to fit-shame my friends 😛 Just agree whole heartedly that you can’t judge somebodies health & fitness by looking at them. It’s something I’ve thought about or brought up, especially when people can make unpleasant comments about people’s size and make instant judgements. It’s something that really annoys me a whole bunch because everybody’s bodies lose & gain weight at different paces and ease. meh. I wish I had your dedication & will power to exercise! Since leaving Cornwall for uni my fitness has gone down the tubes and never been the same… I’ve become a mushy mushy human with poor muscle & little upper body strength. Please teach me your ways 😛 You’re doing amazingly & look fantastic.
    xxx

    • Wow thank you Sarah you’re very kind! I think its difficult because life constantly changes, and the only time I’ve ever been able to be consistent with exercise is when its become a routine and I can go through the same motions each week. Going to classes straight from work is also a hit because I don’t have time to relax and convince myself not to go! Xxx

  • ALICE look at that plank! You beautiful machine (this is where I would insert the flexed muscles emoji). I loved this. Your dedication to exercise is so impressive and I love your attitude to it, I love exercise and couldn’t go a few days without working out so I really relate to that. Although I have always been relatively small in terms of clothing size, I’m not massively tall and carry my weight in certain areas which have made me super self conscious about being a bit chubby. It does feel unfair that people who are slim and appear super toned automatically get placed in the ‘very healthy’ category – I have a friend like that who cant even walk up the stairs without getting out of breath, yet there I am in the gym 5 days a week and still with a massive (and wobbly) bum and thighs! You look amazing in these sports leggings, keep being fantastic xxx

    • Oh Sophie you are the loveliest thing! You also have a body I aspire to (funny isn’t it?! How we love other peoples bodies but can’t see it in ourselves?!) Its nice that from this week I’ll be working from home, so will be missing out on my usual Thursday HIIT class, so Adam has suggested we try going to one together! :) do you tend to gym it or do you do any classes? Xxx

      • Oh hello, I just found this buried in my inbox! I totally know what you mean about other peoples bodies, it is so typically human of us isnt it, to want what other people have and forget the things which are great about our own. I love classes, so I have three of those that I go to and the other times I’m in the gym or sometimes in summer outside for a run. I also do a HIIT class on a Thursday, it’s my favourite one! Did you and Adam go to one together last week? How was it? :) xxx

        • Ahh snap! 😉 Adam and I went spinning, and my god it was SO HARD! I consider myself pretty fit but it was such a different type of fitness, and mentally I struggled I think as well as physically. Now I’ve done it once and know what to expect I’m hoping it will be a bit easier! Have you ever done it? Xxx

          • Oh god – I’ve done it twice ever, it was about 8 years ago and I hated it, although I wasn’t really into exercise of that sort at the time, I just used to be really into dancing. I always say I should try it again but I find excuses not to haha…one day! I could probably do with a bit of a mix up and to challenge myself a bit so I need to talk myself into it soon. I hope it’s a bit easier next time! xxx

            • Me too!! I think now I know what to expect i can prepare myself a bit better and potentially be better at it! It was fun though despite being hideous! Xxx