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.

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.


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.