A Happy Medium - Sometimes Fat Is Your Friend.

3:43 PM

It's no secret that fitness jesus has guided my way since 2012, when I was on a mission to lose about 25lbs. It was not easy to overhaul my life; to go from being a couch potato and liberally eating all the things to portion control and cutting out all the good bad stuff.

I was about 150-something pounds here; the heaviest I've ever been.

Fast forward to 2015 when I became one of those annoying fitness ahole bros, when was doing intense Muay Thai training 6 days a week with weight training squeezed in wherever I could.  I was still eating clean but the intensity of my training is what took over; I basically trained like I was going into a fight, not because I had lofty goals to get a six pack or to get super ripped but because I loved it.  Muay Thai gave me something that no other exercise could - I craved it; I loved it; I looked forward to it.  Those 2hr classes flew by and I always wanted more.  How can something so grueling that makes you want to die be so.much.fun?

Before I knew it, I was the leanest I'd ever been - 13% body fat, about 124lbs and a size 0.  I even accidentally formed a six pack; as in one day I looked in the mirror after a shower and whoop there was - my six pack.  In all my years of training, weight lifting, running, obstacle racing, trail running, I never had a six pack.  I felt great, I looked great and have never felt stronger or more badass.
I couldn't find my ab pics but I was at my leanest in these photos.

Aside from the 6-pack joy, I started to notice other changes in my body that weren't so great - drier skin, thinner hair, infrequent/inconsistent and later on, mostly absent periods.  It turned out that my love of Muay Thai combined with my low body fat resulted in amenorrhea - the disappearance of your period due to extreme exercise.  As hard as it was, I had to make some changes so I spent 3 months putting on weight and training less.  Ironic, isn't it? we're told to exercise more, eat less and when you do, this happens.  Rude.  Of course, many people probably didn't do what I did but when you love something so much, it's hard not to want to do it every day.

Since January, I've made some changes to my routine - I dialed back the training to 3-4 days a week and began to eat more liberally.  I didn't go crazy but pizza made its way back into my life.  So did desserts more than once a month.  Not that my life was miserable or unhappy without these things but I didn't hate having them in my mouth again.

I'm now 10-12lbs heavier and with that, I now have my periods back and my cycle has regulated.  My skin has calmed down. My hair is thick again.  My body fat is probably somewhere around 20%.  I actually haven't stepped on the scale or used the calipers to confirm but I assume it to be somewhere around there.  This was the hardest part for me to adjust to - that feeling of 'heaviness' and 'slowness' because of the extra weight; like I couldn't move fast enough to hit the pads.  My six pack is gone and I'm not as defined.  It doesn't look like it here but I seem to be getting some love handles but that doesn't bother me.

....because life isn't about having a six pack, the scale or adding a bit of body fat; it's about balance.  I may have veered to the extreme with exercise because I love it so much but we only have one body that gets us through this life.  It's our job to keep it healthy and early osteoporosis isn't healthy.  Unbalanced hormones isn't healthy.  If it means I have to put on a little weight and say goodbye to my six pack, then goodbye six pack; it was nice to see you.

I'm still strong. I still smash pads. I can punch and kick as hard as some of the bigger, heavier guys in my gym.  Even though I wish I could keep my muscle definition and abs, it's not worth sending my body into early menopause and quite frankly, I like being able to eat pizza again.

We all need to remember that happiness isn't measured by how much we weigh, how we look in shorts or a in a bikini; that health is more than just physical - it's mental as well.  It's important to enjoy the little things in life; indulgences in moderation is healthy and shouldn't be met with guilt because you know what looks better than a six pack or muscle definition? a happy person.

You Might Also Like

13 comments

  1. Amen.
    I used to work out bc I liked it and then I could eat what I wanted. When I aligned the diet to the workout, it became too extreme so that was enough of that. I definitely noticed it in my hair too! It got drier and thinner.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This a fantastic post. What I like best about it was the beginning goal was to get stronger and fitter, not leaner. You worked hard, reaped the rewards of hard work and then made the smart decision to take care of your body. We've talked about my struggle with going from lean pre surgery to meh right now. I've appreciated your frankness and this post here helps me understand [again] the true point of exercise. TO get healthier. To get stronger. To keep myself in top fitness shape. And to ENJOY IT! Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Preach it! Life is all about balance and we are not defined by the number on the scale. I am trying to get back in to my regular routine of workouts to drop the last of this baby weight...but I 1000% don't want to get obsessed and stressed over it. I think that is why it is taking me so long to bounce back, I dont want it to become this thing that makes me miserable. You look awesome and you get to eat pizza every now and then..sounds like a win win to me!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love this post SO MUCH! I have swung back and forth in extremes too and it's so tough. I was thin for the first time in my life around the time I got married. I worked out 6-7 days a week and spent HOURS doing so. I looked great but I wasn't enjoying food anymore, restricting my calories way too much, etc. I have been fat almost my entire life and it was nice to look and feel normal for once. Now I am fat-ish again and I hate it. I like that I'm not restricting myself, but I feel sluggish and lazy. I really, really need to find a happy medium too where I am watching what I eat but not to a crazy extent, and where I'm exercising and being active but not every day. I went from TOO much to not at all. It's a tough balance.

    For the record, I think you looked beautiful even at your heaviest! Your heaviest was basically my lightest!

    ReplyDelete
  5. This post is everything. Balance - we need it! I am definitely one of those people who goes from one extreme to the next and I hate it. Im currently trying to find some balance. Thanks for this Kathy!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I LOVE this so much, Kathy. I've been on the weight roller coaster most of my life. And when I hit my late 30's, I went into a very nasty, long depression. So I didn't eat well, exercise (which to be fair was very rare pre-depression) and now a stranger stares back at me in the mirror. The good news after years of lip service about getting healthy, I'm finally doing it. You look fabulous, Kathy. And I'm glad you finally found that balance!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I think you look amazing & HEALTHY... & its all how you feel. Even if some of your 'slowness' feelings are there, its about being comfortable in knowing THIS lifestyle is sustainable. You're still fit, have the GUNS & muscles & your body must be loving the extra weight to have your cycles back & skin agreeing that you are on the right path. Screw the scale. All about being the best you however that looks ;)

    ReplyDelete
  8. I feel like you so often see people on the other end of this... Trying to give themselves a little grace because they're out of shape or liberal with their diet or whatever. It's different to hear about someone who was so into being healthy/fit/strong that their body took a turn for the worst because of it. It's definitely a good reminder about balance. And I think there's just as much disciple that goes into not having a 6-pack or working out everyday when you love it so much as there is with eating junk food and laying around!

    ReplyDelete
  9. love this post Kathy! it really is so true. health is all about balance and no periods or thinning hair is not healthy or fun. glad you found your balance and you're still a badass ahole bro to me.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Love this post!! You kick ass!! Its' all about having the perfect balance. Being healthy is so many things. You inspire me so much.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Love this!! I think you still look amazing, and pizza and desserts get to come back! We are more than just a number on a scale - we are strong and beautiful and the most badass ahole bros anyone's ever seen.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I LOVE THIS! Glad you found a way back to the right weight for your body. You still get to workout - which you love, but you're healthier now. That's so awesome. Good to point it out that thinner/smaller/more muscular is not always better. XO - Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

    ReplyDelete
  13. Your transformation is amazing and inspiring. Yes, our worth does not depend on our weight. We need to take care of our health indeed but it's important to love ourselves and accept us as we are.

    ReplyDelete