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Skinny Doesn’t Mean Healthy


It sounds so cliché but with my wedding coming up, I want to get in better shape. Not really just for the wedding but moreso because I have been quite sedentary after I began working full time after college. 

I ran Cross Country and Track (long distance) in high school and unfortunately hurt my hip my senior year. My PCP at the time told me to stop running or risk permanent injury, so I did. When he retired and I got a new PCP, they did an X-ray and told me I had bursitis in my hip. 

So I did low impact exercises for a while. After a while, I just stopped really exercising. Working out was the last thing on my mind after a long day at work. 

Sure, I go on walks and hikes but I do not do any form of consistent exercise these days. A few months back, I came across a six week fitness challenge that starts slow as you progress. So I decided to sign up in an effort to hopefully hop back on that horse.

The horse is exercise. (Sometimes I’m funny. Or at least think I am.)

I didn’t really consider myself *that* terribly out of shape and don’t aim to lose any weight. I just want to gain muscle and become stronger. 


Today I went in to the gym and was given a tour with my soon-to-be classmates. The fitness side of the gym (they also do martial arts) has a dedicated room, which is where we will be working out. This looked a bit intimidating to me…but exciting nevertheless!

We received some nutrition tips, including information on all of the major diets out there and the difference between them.

My biggest takeaways from these tips seem like common sense but are easier said than done:

Consistency is key. The trainer gave some really solid advice here. He advised that if you are going to choose between eating one cookie every day and having 6 cookies in one day, you are better off having 6 cookies on one day and being consistent (no cookies) the other days. This is a hypothetical example, of course, but it demonstrates the rationale behind “cheat days.”

Excuse me while I go eat 6 cookies. Kidding, kidding…

Intake vs. Output. We all know that the calories we expel must exceed calories that are taken in for weight loss to occur. And that’s why apps like MyFitnessPal are great. However, there is a whole science between Macronutrients, too. We were advised to start with a 40% carbs, 30% fat, 30% protein split as we are beginning our fitness and nutrition journey. Then we can adjust in time. 

I downloaded the good old MFP app again and entered my goals. Today, I came close to my goal…but no cigar. I’ll get there.

My Eye-Opener: The InBody Scan

At the end of orientation, we all took a few minutes to do an InBody Scan. This scan gives the user an accurate body composition analysis in under a few minutes. 

I did the scan and a piece of paper printed out, which I took to the trainer. He jotted my numbers down and then I was on my way home.

After I got home, I started analyzing what the numbers meant. It was shockingly disappointing to see how out of shape I really am.

Body Composition

Body Composition

I started to digest the numbers and what each number meant. I learned from the InBody site that Lean Body Mass doesn’t necessarily mean “muscle”…it also takes water into the equation as you can see in my results, above.

The most shocking result is the highlighted portion. I have 36 pounds of Body Fat. Yipes.

Muscle-Fat Analysis

Muscle Fat Analysis

This one really got me. Your Muscle-Fat analysis takes into consideration what is average for someone of your height. For reference, I am about 5’8″. The 100 mark is considered a “normal” result. You can see the down arrow means that result is low (which can be good or bad depending on what’s being measured) and the up arrow is a high result.

While my weight is in the normal range, my skeletal muscle mass is actually pretty low, at about 86% of what’s it should be. My body fat, however, is about 120%. At first, I didn’t think this was that terrible.

Until I read about what being a “C” shape, meant:

A C-shaped individual has a shorter bar length for SMM than for weight and Body Fat Mass. Although this is characteristic of someone who is overweight or obese, you may see this shape in someone who is normal or underweight, too.

You would want to counsel a client with a Muscle-Fat Analysis graph that looks like this to reduce their Body Fat Mass (which would also lower their Weight) while improving their Skeletal Muscle Mass. Helping this person improve to an I-Shape, and eventually a D-Shape, is the goal.”

Basically, a C-Shape is the worst “shape” you can be. “Great,” I thought.

Obesity Analysis

Obesity Analysis

For years, I have heard that BMI does not tell the full story and many health care professionals recommend against using it by itself to judge one’s health. 

This chart shows why.

Sure, I have a low-normal BMI. However, my body fat percentage is at the very high end of normal. 

Say whattttt? As I went on to read my other results, which showed pretty much the same thing, I saw that individuals with my types of results are often times known as skinny fat.

The results sheet interpretation site goes on to say:

“Skinny Fat” individuals (sarcopenic obese)

“People with “skinny fat” profiles have more fat than is healthy for their bodies coupled with a low amount of Lean Body Mass. Their relatively overdeveloped fat or underdeveloped muscle mass contributes to their body weight and may result in scores below 100% for one or more body segment.”

The link within the above quote states:

“A person who is sarcopenic obese will have high fat mass and low muscle mass.”

I told Nick this and he immediately pulled up this video. It is hilarious and gave me a good chuckle, as this is legit how I felt in that moment.

Overall Thoughts

All jokes aside, I knew I was out of shape. But not this out of shape. 

I really got to thinking. I have a LOT of heart disease in my family. My mom and everyone on her side of the family has blood pressure issues. 

My grandmother (who I love so dearly) had a heart attack and stroke back in 2014, resulting in vascular dementia. She was about the same weight as I am…and I remember being so shocked that she had such terrible blockages for being such a thin lady. It was such a scary time. While she does have dementia, she pulled through nevertheless, time and time again, but has had many issues with her heart since, including CHF. 

I need to take better care of myself. Skinny does not mean healthy.

My goals for this program are not to lose any weight:

I want to be strong. I want to be fit. I want to be healthy.

Read about Week 1 of my fitness journey!

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