After 5 years of parenthood - and zero exercise - I jumped in to the Wii Fit as an "easy and fun" way to get in shape. Then I left the Wii for real exercise and became quite addicted. In the end, I brought my 5'4" body down to 103/104 pounds and 14% body fat.
Then things went bad. I kept working out, but I started losing strength. I got weaker, and I got sick more often. Friends commented that they thought I was anorexic. Not anorexic in the eating since but in the exercise obsessive sense. That made me mad, but real friends tell you the truth and I started thinking.
I made the decision to go cold turkey and let my body recover from all the exercise. I let myself put on weight. At first, I didn't really put on a ton of weight. The goal was to allow my body to rest - put on some weight (hopefully in the form of muscle!) and then just exercise like a normal person to keep a healthy weight and strong body.
But that's not what happened.
Instead, I slowed down all my activities. I became a computer junkie - a mouse potato! I didn't really eat all that much more, but when people offered treats, I said yes. If I felt like eating junk, I ate it. I just did things differently than before.
You'd think this relaxed attitude toward food and not doing anything challenging (physically) would have made me happy. It actually made me feel out of control. It also made me feel bad because my body was looking pretty gross. I had love handles for the first time in my life. Maybe I had them after my children were born, I can't remember. I was barely awake during the baby years.
But love handles? Really!!?? I had double butt, cankles, and super fat upper arms. I also had boobs for the first time in a long time. And my face got fatter.
People started commenting on how young I looked. WTF? I guess that old saying is right, "at some point, a woman has to choose between her body and her face!"
Ok, ok...I know you want to know the number. And it's going to make you mad.
It's going to really make you mad. According to all "bmi charts" I am still technically underweight or normal weight. Those charts are B.S. Those charts say that my daughter is so underweight she should be dead - yet she is stronger than most people. She got an award for climbing the rope at school 3 times in a row. All the way to the ceiling! Not a single other girl in her class could do it even once. She said she could have done it again but the bell rang! She swims 4 miles a week, can do pull ups, pushups, and full body shoulder presses. She is strong, fast, flexible, and she has energy to spare.
The doctors told her she had to start eating cookies, cake, and candy to get back on the chart. I called foul. Everyone has their own chart. She has been on the same weight/height trajectory her whole life. She has an amazing body composition, plenty of energy, and fantastic strength. Plus she has a healthy body image and only eats when she's hungry! Why should we ruin all that just so she shows up on the chart?
Enough of the digression. The point is 125lbs is heavy for my bone structure. I have a full (spilling out of my bra chest), I have love handles. I have the double butt. I have a hard time running at this weight. I look and feel like crap. So 125lbs might look great on you. Heck, 180 might look great on you. That's you. Don't get mad because I am griping about 125lbs.
Actually, let me rephrase the whole thing. I have a crappy body composition right now. If I were to get in shape and be 140lbs, I would be happy as can be. If I was 200 lbs but I felt great in my clothes, could run well, and didn't have love handles - then so be it.
I guess I should have never even brought up weight in the first place. But....
There's more to the story. Along the way, I decided I was going to be heavier - forever! Like an actual decision.
I have a lot of things swirling around in my brain. Obviously I want to look decent. I also want to be healthy. I never want to be a decrepit old person. I want to be vibrant, feisty, and spry. I want to be able to run and hike and....do whatever the hell I want. And then there is something else.
I really think something is wrong. I really believe that World War III or at least
Cold War III will be fought in my lifetime (assuming an average lifetime, okay!)
So maybe not tomorrow, maybe 10 years from now, maybe 15? Maybe 30! I read a lot and the one thing I have learned is that history repeats. It just does. People - individually and as a whole - just never change. Looking at what happened and what really caused the first world wars, you can see everything is setting up to repeat.
Casualty rates vary and even if you are not killed in war, you might lose family members, be maimed, have your property confiscated, or you might be "relocated." In a best case scenario, you might have to endure job loss, a substantial increase in taxes and the cost of necessities. In that scenario, food and other basics might be limited. Rations are easy compared to an all out lack of resources. And you might have to fight off other hungry people, or stay in hiding for an extended period of time.
The fact is, almost no working class or lower class citizen comes out of war unscathed.
If I really believe that war is coming, then it makes sense to prepare for it. Like I said, it could happen 18 years from now! It's better to be ready then to be caught unprepared.
And if it were to happen within the next 10 years, I would have still have young children to care for.
That changes everything. The wisdom is that humans can survive without air for 3 minutes, water for 3 days, and food for 3 weeks.
It should say that these are the limits for the "average" person. Probably the average adult male.
Underweight people do not survive that long. Overweight people can survive a lot longer.
I'm not grasping at my own survival. If I were a single gal, I'd be likely to travel into the blast or pick up a weapon and fight. I would not hunker down and slowly try to starve through the disaster.
But, I am not a single girl. I have children. Small, healthy children that do not have extra weight on their bodies. I've done the math, and having an extra 10-15 pounds on my body would help us all survive to the 3 week mark. I would give them all of my food (whatever I had in my pantry or was able to procure.)
We could starve it out for a full 3 weeks. Maybe longer, depending on what we could forage and what we had in the fridge. At 103 pounds, I could not starve for 3 weeks. Neither of my children could starve for 3 weeks. Especially not during winter.
Maybe your thinking, I could give them all my food anyway and they could make it a full 3 weeks. But at 103-110 pounds, I would probably die within 2 weeks or go into a coma. In either case, I would be rendered useless and since they are young they would need me for protection, body heat, and getting food.
If we're all going to die anyway, what does it matter? If I was alone, it wouldn't matter. But the whole reason we try to do anything is to make this world better for our kids.
War can last for a long time, but 3 weeks would probably get you through the brunt of it. It might even get you through the last part of winter before food could be found again. It might be the time needed before some sort of help arrived. It's worth hanging on to find out.
So here I am at a crossroads. I hate being blubby. I don't like my current lack of athleticism. I don't want to destroy my future health. The answer seems simple, but I feel like it's my duty to stay heavier.
So I am going to stay heavier. In fact, I might get heavier still!! But I refuse to be fat any longer.
I'm not going to run. I'm not going to do any cardio at all - except for walking/riding bike/rollerblading with my kids. Just normal stuff - not exercise. I am going to eat healthy foods. No more saying yes to junk. Junk is poison.
I am going to ramp up my strength training (which was zero up until 2 weeks ago.) I am going to build more muscle. That will be my storage fuel. Since I am not going to run, I am probably going to keep some tummy fat (and hopefully some face and chest fat!) But I want to get rid of those damn love handles! Is this too much to ask?
Should I start running anyway, get rid of the fat, then try to rebuild only or mostly muscle? It didn't work out last time I tried. Will I end up in the same place anyway? If so, then I'd rather not thin out my face, lose all my chest, and have to run like crazy.
It's tough being a girl. It's tough being a mom. It's tough being a human.
Is anyone else out there choosing to be heavier?? Anyone been in a similar situation and succeeded at having a healthy body composition while maintaining some extra "storage?"
Please leave your advice in the comments below.
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