I have a very different definition of what constitutes healthy compared to the fitness industry.
Before I get into the specifics of my opening statement, I’m going to share a story.
Back in July, I did a free fitness assessment at my gym. Of course, I expected to blow the scale out of the water with my whole food living, dominant physique and #vanillagorilla mentality. Hello? I am a Healthy Living Blogger after all.
So I signed up and answered a boatload of computerized questions about my eating habits:
- Do you add salt to your food? Of course, usually when I’m cooking because veggies need love. They also like to be roasted and toasted too. (Don’t we all?)
- Do you opt for low carb or low-calorie when possible? Um no. Isn’t that just a chemical shit storm waiting to happen. Plus, I don’t think they make low carb apples and potatoes?
Noticeably absent, at least for me, was any question about where my food actually comes from, which is kind of a big deal. If my eats are direct from a farm, chances are I’m not sucking down a McShake loaded with high fructose corn syrup or a breakfast sandwich with seventy-five different ingredients, most of which I can’t identify without a dictionary and a translator.
Onto the fitness portion of the test.
I hopped on and off a step for two minutes straight, without even wheezing once. I even started to enjoy myself. I excelled at the mobility challenge, where we had to stretch as far as humanly possible. Since one of my superpowers is being hypermobile, I knew I had that one in the bag. I also let them take my blood pressure and pinch my girly bits and pieces with a pair of body mass index tweezers. Let me tell you, it hurt like a son of a bitch when they went after my thighs. There’s not much there, other than rock solid muscle (#poundschest) and maybe a little flesh, and I’m pretty sure their ‘pinch’ left a mark.
I performed every test, answered every question and waiting patiently and eagerly for my results. Confession: out of the four potential categories: Needs Work, Fair, Fit and Excellent, I expected to be awarded the highest honors and sent on my way with a crown, or at the very least a pat on the back and a protein shake, which you know I wouldn’t actually consume. After all, my doctor did give me two thumbs up at my annual physical mere months before when we went over the results of my blood work together. She declared me healthier than a horse and told me to keep on riding, so why would the fitness industry be any different?
Well the results came back and they were….drumroll please.
Forgetting excellent, even though we know I am, I didn’t even qualify to be in the Fit category. To say I was speechless would be an understatement, and we all know how much I can talk. I was shocked beyond comprehension. Did they miss the memo? I did a Tough Mudder less than a year ago, and while I couldn’t run a marathon at this moment in time, I could easily walk one. I even did a forty-five minute Spinning class yesterday, after taking weeks off, without batting an eye, and earlier this week, I went on a four-hour hike, rated as difficult, and had myself a blast.
Even more shocking than my “Fair” label: I was told in order to achieve a Fit level, still not excellent mind you, I’d need to lose at least nine pounds of pure fat. Not total body weight, just fat. I realize most of you only know me through the internet, so you may not really know my body or its baggage. Without getting overly descriptive, I clock in at a strong and vertically challenged 5’2, which makes me pocket-size. I am little bitty all over, except for my twins and I’ll be damned if I let those ladies go.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not claiming to have the flawless figure of a Victoria’s Secret model, post photo shop. I don’t have six-pack abs and I won’t be winning any physique or figure competitions soon. Excessive calorie counting, super structured meals and dangerously low body fat isn’t appealing to me. Having those things doesn’t automatically qualify me to be fit either.
Here’s what I do know.
I am at a healthy weight for my body type, and losing nine pounds would be detrimental, not to mention destructive. My conditioning is fantastic, and I am in great shape, not only physically, but mentally as well. I know when to push myself and I know when to back down. I am incredibly proud of what my body can do, and I embrace its subtle curves, all while longing for more junk in my trunk.
My body may not have rock hard abs or buns of steel, but it is healthy and it is definitely fit, which is perfect for me.
Thanks for letting me Think Out Loud, Spoons.
What does fit mean to you? How do you see healthy? Have you ever been told you need to lose weight to be ‘fit’?