This is what 16% body fat looks like - on a woman!

It's now been almost 10 months since I got back into a regular exercise routine. Why did I ever get off track in the first place - seriously, it's a quandary.

First there was the whole back-to-back pregnancies, new mom thing. Then there was the laziness factor. Then......Yeah, I was really out of touch with what I needed to do.

But this year, I am back on track. Through sickness, volunteering at school, and just life in general, I have stuck to the task and I have not quit! 

I stuck it out for 10 months straight - and I am still at it!

But what about results? To be honest, it's been a little annoying. I love to watch shows like The Biggest Loser and see people drop mad gobs of fat each week.

I was already at my "goal weight" so I never saw any massive scale drops - just a few pounds. I didn't really expect to "lose weight", so I came up with other goals - be able to do a real pull up, increase my running speed and distance....and get to 16% body fat.

Hold up! Nobody ever heard about this before! That's right. I had kept the number a secret. I have been tracking my body fat percentage over the last 10 months and have seen it slowly move closer and closer to my goal. And 10 months later - I've finally hit it.

Why 16%? And why did it take so damn long!!?? Well - a female body fat % of less than 17% is considered athletic. And that's where I wanted to be - less than 17%. So naturally, my goal was 16%. Essential body fat is somewhere between 12-14%, depending on the person. I definitely wanted to stay above 12%.

In case you're wondering: 17-22% is considered fitness or lean, 22-25% is normal, 25-29% is overweight, 29-35% is obese, and 35%+ is morbidly obese. These are all female numbers.

Anyway - it took me 10 long months because I wanted to burn fat and gain muscle at the same time. A trainer would have probably told me to lose the fat first, then put on the muscle. But I didn't want to lose muscle while losing fat. And I didn't want to regain fat while gaining muscle. You see the trouble.

Plus I had really let myself go. I may have been "thin" but I was flabby. I'm shuddering just remembering it...

And beyond that, I have a horrid sweet tooth that I have still haven't tamed. I ate ice cream just yesterday (chocolate - as if any other flavor really matters) and candy today. And not one serving either. Whatever. So it took me forever.

The point is - I made it. And this, my friends, is what 16% body fat looks like:

It looks like a swimsuit shopping spree. What you are looking at is all my new swimsuits. For the first time in a really long time, I didn't dread swimsuit shopping. Every suit I tried on fit me wonderfully. They looked great and just happened to be on clearance. 

I could have bought so many more, but I restrained myself and stayed on budget ( if you wondering, I paid under $15 for all my new suits combined!!)

I'm finally able to take my kids to the pool without being self conscious about how I look. I can wear clothes that actually fit because I don't have any bulges. I don't have cellulite anymore! It's awesome!

So what's next? You know what it is - 14% baby! I'm sort of kidding. Sort of. Actually, I'd love to continue to increase my strength and endurance. Hopefully, that means I keep putting on more muscle. That may mean a little weight gain (I'm currently hovering between 105-106lbs at 5'4"). 

Gaining muscle may bring my body fat % even lower. Or I may gain a little fat with that muscle. Damn it! It's just what happens. But I'm going to try my absolute best to make sure it doesn't. 

This is almost the body I had before kids. It's almost the body I've always had. Yes, on all charts, I am underweight. But I'm finally okay with that. My whole life (minus the last 7 kid filled years) I have been underweight. I have a small bone structure. 

I'm child sized. It used to piss me off and I dreamed of being bigger, but it's not in my bones. So I'm finally over it. I may be small, but I'm fast and I am going to be as strong as I can be for my body. I'm finally comfortable in my own bones. 

**In case you were looking for a real picture of what it looks like to be 16% body fat. No worries - it's coming. It's not that I like to parade my bikini body around (yes - the shot will be full frontal abs) but I made a promise and it's coming soon....

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Health Divas said...

What an inspiring mom you are, 16% body fat is wonderful! Cheering for your 14% goal!

yang said...

I found some body fat picture comparisons for men and women.

It's awesome.

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