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