July 30, 2013
Don’t Fall Into the Skinny-Fat Trap
Have you ever had friends that have said, ‘Well you’ve always been like that,’ meaning that you’ve always been thin and it’s easy for you. Or maybe you’ve said it about someone else? ‘She can do that’ or ‘it’s easy for her.’ I’ve had people say that about me and it’s not a very good feeling. They may mean well, but really they’re making excuses, justifying their own weight gain or unhealthiness. This makes them feel better about themselves, it gives them an out. I think it’s a little unfair and it’s kind of an insult to me and others like me in a way, it’s like saying it was so super easy for us to get here, like we did no work at all, ate what we wanted and just magically look great. Whether you’re thin, thick, overweight, or even obese is not really the point. The point is how you feel. Do you feel good about your body? Do you feel healthy? Are you eating right? Are you exercising? No matter where you’re at, it’s not easy. It’s a consistent effort to be healthy, lean, feeling and looking good. Yes, I’ve been thin most of my life but it’s not necessarily the size that matters. I was skinny-fat, skinny on the outside, but fat on the inside or in other words: unhealthy. Growing up I ate the typical American fair pretty much, but as I got older and was more on my own the worse my eating got. I was eating terrible: ramen noodles, canned ravioli’s, spaghetti o’s, fast foods, macaroni and cheese out of a box, frozen dinners as well as many other snacks and junky, processed foods; only occasionally would I actually cook a decent meal. But thinking back on it, this was between 20 and 30 years ago that I was in elementary through to high school & college. Back then, the majority of the school was thin, very few were overweight. For example, out of over 100 girls on my high school drill team, maybe a handful l were overweight, not even 10 percent. At that time diabetes type II was still called ‘adult onset diabetes’ because children didn’t get it, and autism, ADHD, fibromyalgia, and other sicknesses and diseases of today were almost non-existent or not even heard of. This was before cell phones were so readily available & before the internet was so easily accessible-yes it’s only been in the last 20-25 years! Nowadays, the information is at the touch of a button, as opposed to earlier years. So much has changed in such a short period of time, including our food supply but we’ll save that for another post. It’s almost a blessing in disguise to gain weight because then you know something is obviously not working right; the foods you’re eating are doing more harm than good, it’s a visible sign. You see it, you feel it, and you live it. When you’re skinny-fat or thin, you don’t have that warning, that indicator, that your body is seriously lacking vital nutrients until it starts breaking down. My mom was thin when she was younger, but began gaining weight after she had me. She was visibly overweight and experienced many health issues that came along with that. She was so thin when she was younger, but when I went to try on her wedding dress it didn’t fit me. I couldn’t zip it up. For me however, I didn’t have that warning until later on, I was seemingly healthy, I was thin. My body finally gave me that sign and had a major breakdown with the conception and birth of my 2nd child. Much to our dismay, he was born with a genetic defect that affected his whole body. He was in and out of the hospital until the age of 1 year 3 ½ months when he passed away. Talk about a wakeup call! So, it’s not just about being thin. It’s about what’s on the inside. Are you getting the right nutrients? Are you feeding your body the right fuel? You can be skinny and be unhealthy. The easy part is just going with the flow, living day by day, eating what everyone else is eating because it’s there and it’s available. Are you hearing the information and not doing anything about it, turning a blind eye or a deaf ear? The hard part is heeding the warning signs and taking your health into your own hands, deciding that you want more for yourself and your family. No one’s going to do it for you. That’s what brought me here. It’s been a long, hard road, but I have learned so much about myself, about others, about life, and the body in the progress. It’s not easy for me and never has been but I do look better than I ever have at age 39, having had 5 children, and I feel great. The easy part is making excuses and justifications, the hard part is actually doing it. It’s simple, but not easy. It’s a conscious effort, every meal, every snack, every day. It’s making a decision to eat right, to eat clean, and exercise and stick with it. My hope now is that by sharing my story and my struggles, someone somewhere will be impacted and will make that decision for themselves. It’s a matter of saying to yourself ‘this is not how the story ends,’ and taking action today. Don’t fall into the skinny-fat trap, it’s a ticking time bomb and you never know when it’s going to go off. I sincerely hope you’ve learned something from this post, no matter where you’re at in your journey to whole health. The picture to the left above is me with my 1st and 3rd child, with number 4 on the way; I had 5 in a matter of 7 years, a little crazy I know. Love and hugs! Alicia *For more on how I stay fit and how I eat, check out my previous blog here.