Can You Be Fit and Fat?

This is one of those things many people argue about. Some insist you can’t, and rely heavily on BMI as an indicator. But from what I understand of it, the BMI is really not an indicator of health or fitness.

I’ve long felt that one can be both fit and fat. I’m not a medical or fitness professional, just someone with a lot of opinions on the matter, but there it is.

You can see an indication of that in this abstract in JAMA. Fitness was the best mortality predictor, not weight.

apple on scale

That really doesn’t surprise me.

I’m not fat, except maybe by Hollywood standards. 5 foot 7 inches, 140 pounds. A BMI calculator puts me at 21.9, or midrange normal. But my sisters would generally fall into the overweight or obese sections of the BMI chart. But I think at least 2 of them are more fit than I am. It’s not that I’m in that poor of shape; it’s just that I suspect they’re in better shape.

To me this is something you should think about, especially if your New Year’s Resolution is to lose weight. A better resolution, perhaps, is to simply get more fit.

This is hard to deal with, especially when you go out into the real world, and all they see is fat. My sisters and I have had frank talks about this very topic. Back when we were all single, I had the advantage of being the thin one. But none of us were that worried about weight. We were having too much fun.

As you work towards your fitness goals, do your best to remember that fitness goals are in many ways better for you than weight goals. It’s not an easy change to make, but it could help you make more achievable goals.

Is the New Year the Right Time to Start a New Fitness Routine?

Getting fit is one of the classic New Year’s Resolutions. It seems like people are always saying they want to get fit right now. Why is that?

Honestly, this is one of those things you should work on whenever you realize you need to get fit. But at the New Year is as good a time as any, and may even be the best time to get a workout buddy, since other people you know may well be making the same resolution.

But if now is not the time that you will stick to your goal of getting fit, don’t commit yourself to it. Find the right time to set up a workout schedule.

stationary bikes

When it’s wrong

This is the wrong time if you’re stressed out from the holidays and have no idea how you’re going to go about getting fit. It takes a plan. It takes commitment. If you don’t have those, you’re probably only going to frustrate yourself.

If you know you have too many excuses for why you can’t so much as take a regular walk around the block for fitness, never mind working out, you probably aren’t ready to get fit yet.

If feeling like you’re so out of shape that you won’t fit in at the gym, decide if that is too much of an obstacle to join a gym, then figure out an alternative. This can be an obstacle, but you don’t have to let it be one.

When it’s right

Getting fit is the right decision most of the time, however. It doesn’t take money if you don’t want it to, so even finances should not be an excuse. Anyone should be able to find a safe place to take a regular walk, even if it’s just around the block at home, around the office you work at, or the mall. They’re all free, so you just need to pick the one that meets your needs.

You can also do basic exercises indoors at home with no equipment at all. Crunches, dancing randomly to music, anything you can do to get in motion.

If you can afford some basic home gym equipment or a gym membership, so much the better. This can often be one of the easy ways to get a workout buddy. Find someone who wants to join the same gym and plan at least a couple nights, mornings or whenever it works a week to workout together at the gym.

Many people find a workout buddy to be a great motivator. If you can’t work out a schedule to work out together, just try comparing how often and how long you work out. That can also be enough to give you that extra nudge to keep going.

But the most important thing to remember is simply that you don’t need to give up just because right now is not the time for you. Get started when you can make the commitment, then plan out what it will take to keep going. Having goals can make it a lot easier.

Is Holiday Weight Gain Just an Excuse?

Gaining weight is sooo easy over the holidays. Or so everyone says. And in a lot of ways that’s true.

There are a lot of food temptations around at this time of year. It starts with Halloween candy, moves on to the Thanksgiving feast, then you’re slammed with Christmas parties, family holiday gatherings, feasts and of course New Year’s parties.

Is it any wonder a lot of people consider weight gain at this time of year to be inevitable?

holiday food

I have absolutely no problem with saying “just for today, I’ll indulge”… provided that you mean it. But if you say that day after day you will end up sabotaging your efforts.

Honesty with yourself is essential at this time of year. You have to know what you are doing to your efforts to live a healthier lifestyle. If you think it is acceptable to gain weight right now you need to be okay with the results when you see them on the scale. Fooling yourself is not a good plan.

Eating healthy when you have no say in the menu is one of the greatest challenges. But if it’s an event you go to year after year, you probably have a pretty good feel for what will be served. If you know that healthy foods are not likely to be featured, eat enough that you can limit your portions better at the event. But if healthy foods are there, plan to eat more of them and be more moderate with the more indulgent options.

If you’re fine with gaining weight over the holidays, just say so! Be ready for what it will do for how long it takes you to reach your fitness goals, however. But if you can’t stand the thought of having your goals further away at the start of the new year, be honest with yourself and don’t let temptation control your eating no matter the time of year.

Be Honest With Yourself

Having a perfect figure is the goal for many. I know that I’d love to get my middle under control once again, but that has been my challenge since having two children, one by C-section, I’ve had to struggle with a touch of extra weight and slack stomach muscles.

It’s hard. These used to be the areas that just came naturally to me. I drove people nuts that way.

But now it’s much harder, and I know it.

balance

I’m still pretty fortunate, since my weight is just in the higher part of the healthy range. I work harder than I used to have to in order to keep it that way.

Being honest with myself about these physical changes has been a challenge. It’s easy to see it as worse than it is or better than it is. An honest self assessment is challenging.

So how do I go about it? How should you go about it?

The first thing is to know where you are in terms of where you want to be or where you feel you ought to be. I don’t own a scale, but I do check my weight occasionally at my inlaws’ house. It keeps me lightly aware of where I’m at without obsessing over it. It works for me. It doesn’t work for everyone.

If weight is your concern, know where you are compared to what’s considered healthy. If you’re just a little higher than you want to be, and still in the healthy range, things aren’t that bad. If you’re far from where you would like to be, you should be aware of that too.

If overall fitness is your goal, you need to be honest about that too. Plan out how you’re going to reach your goals. Work toward them. When life gets in the way, admit it and allow yourself to get back on track.

Being honest with yourself about what you are and are not achieving will help you to succeed, but it’s not easy. It takes practice. It takes a degree of honesty about yourself that is not always easy to achieve. But it’s also something that will help you to reach your goals.