Saturday, February 23, 2013

Body Image

I don’t talk about ‘looks’ much here.  Fitness to me is not about being skinny or presentable.  Being ‘thin’ is just a happy by-product of being fit for me.  I don’t work out to stay ‘thin’ I work out to stay fit.  And I think that is an important distinction to make.  I also think it’s an important difference when I tell Amber that I would like it if she was fit.

I’m sure you are aware that saying to you wife ‘hey you should be more fit’ is just asking for the silent treatment or the Loraine Bobbit  treatment.  Amber posted a couple of pictures on her blog yesterday about the body type she is going for with her getting fit.

tara lynn

sara ramirez

My response to her after seeing those pictures was that ‘I would not throw either of them out of bed for eating crackers!’

Are they super skinny? No  My thought that followed it up was that I am not hoping for Amber to be a size 7 or something I am hoping that if our kid is heading towards the road, that Amber can run the whole way down and snatch them off the sidewalk before they become street pizza.  I’m about health and activity, not about a clothing size.

That in mind I was reading She’s Losing It, by Lisa and she had a post about BMI.  If you are unaware, BMI is just a very simplified way to find out if you are in an underweight, normal, overweight or obese state.  It loses it’s meaning if you are someone that is athletic or a body builder because it’s simply taking in the factors of height, age and weight and spitting out a normalized result.

For instance my BMI hovers around 24 now, gaining or losing 0.1 Kg shifts the BMI number by 0.03.  A BMI of more than 24.99 is classified as overweight.  So according to my BMI I am very close to being overweight.  I was actually my ideal BMI of 22 only for a single day back in 2010.

Body fat percentage is a more useful number, but you need good equipment to measure it!  The scale they have at the gym, Jodi told me, costs about $1000 dollars.  You can get a scale from Wal*mart too for about $50.  We did.  It was awful.  So at the gym I have about 8.4% and I have been between 7-100% for the last few years now.

The issue with weight, or BMI or Body Fat Percentage is that it is still a number.  You and I can strive for a long time for a number to make us happy.  I’ll tell you something.  I think it’s a lie.  The numbers are a good indicator of us being in the right area, or heading in the right direction.  We can stress about them all we like. In the end a number will never make us happy and neither will trying to look like someone else exactly.  We have to be happy with ourselves.

And here is why.  I was going to put another reply on Lisa’s BMI post, and I decided to write this whole thing instead.  I think we can all agree that I am fit.  I’m not going to win Mr. Universe, I’m not going to outrun Usain Bolt, but I am fit.  I like my body, Amber might claim I pose a bit too much (not even in front of a mirror, just get up from the couch and pose all super hero like).  My BMI is good, my Body Fat Percentage is great, BUT I lost my weight pretty quick, and either as a result of that, or just that I was a fat guy for more than 10 years or so I have a bit of lose skin on my belly.  I have to hide it a bit.


Not a problem here…


Or Here…


But You can see it here.

Am I still happy with my body?  99% of the time yes.  If I knew for sure that losing weight slower would have saved me from having it I would have done so.  But it’s alright.  Why?  Because I am happy with what I can do.  My body image is not based on a number, or an ideal or judgement of others even if it was a competition.  I’m happy with my body because I have worked it to a point where if things need to get done, I can do them.  To me, that is what is important,  What’s important to you?


  1. Hi Chris! Regarding fitness, I love to be very capable. Like you, I can do super fun things for fitness. The capably fit people are really much happier than the skinny people of the gym. Regarding weight, I'm never going to be a small person, since I'm quite tall and big-boned. I guess I like being more in control of myself--and I didn't really realize how wonderful that is. I'm 5'9" and size 10 and still considered overweight according to BMI. And I truly couldn't care. :D

    :-) Marion

  2. Very good post!!!! Thank you for writing it!

  3. Hi Chris, When I started my fitness journey it was a lot about reaching the perfect number, fitting in the perfect dress size, overtime as I continued to lose weight my motivation changed, I started focusing on becoming fit, increasing my stamina and strength. I also had a bad body image, I always thought if I lose weight I would look better, overtime I realised it was never about weight because even at my perfect weight I was not happy. I really had to put effort in changing my attitude now I focus less on weight or BMI and I'm happy :)