There have been some remarkable blog posts and pod casts lately about female body image, body fat percentages, and why us ladies should really love ourselves for who we are at the end of the day. If you haven’t had a chance to read Jen Sinkler’s “Close the Thigh Gap” article yet, please do so now! Also, I would recommend this tight gap article if you want some more information. Follow that read up with Diane Sanfilippo’s Podcast on Balancedbites.com for the added 1-2 punch against body image disorders. I don’t generally write gender specific articles as most of my training and nutritional protocols seem to serve the general public well. Today, this posts is for us ladies who simply have had enough of the world telling us what we should/should not be.
I’ve written extensively on this myself over several blog posts in my past. Feel free to read those here, here, and here. In my past, I have tried to work against my own body’s desire to put on more weight. What resulted was nothing more glamorous than a bad case of depression and hormonal dis-regulation that would take a good number of months to subside until my body reached an appropriate weight. I have reached my “new normal”, having put on nearly 7 pounds of muscle after my RKC training. On any given day now, my body weight fluctuates from 127-130 and I used to be 120lbs at 5’3.5” (yes, I count that half inch 😉 ). All the talk about body fat percentages, body image, and appreciating your “normal” really got me thinking about my new found weight class and where I fall in the whole body fat % category. Generally speaking, I don’t use a scale anymore. In fact, I took it upon myself to smash my scale publicly and I have had no regrets over doing so 🙂 All the talk on the interweb lately did have me wondering where I now fall in the whole weight and body fat % area. So, I decided to do something I only do periodically, which was weigh myself at the Pittsburgh Kettlebells studio. I intentionally did this under certain conditions though in order to manipulate my weight to creep on the high end of my weight class. What exactly did I do?
I had a massive meal at Piper’s Pub the night before.
Upon waking and rising to go to the Pittsburgh Kettlebells Studio, I only consumed water until after my weigh in (which was around 9am). I should note, that dinner was finished around 9:00 p.m. as I had hit the pub after ending a session with one of my clients. At any rate, the scale would show me that morning that I weighed in at the higher end of my normal range. There I was, my 5’3.5” self at 130 pounds. Curiosity set in as I wondered what this 130 pound self would carry in terms of body fat. So, off I went to get the body fat analyzer. In case you are wondering what bodies actually look like given certain body fat percentages, take a look at the chart below (note: this table is featuring female body types and is taken from the website builtlean.com. Male body fat percentages and body types can be found by visitng this link.).
If you click the above image, you will see that athletes and the “built lean” types range between 15-22% body fat. So, where do I, Janelle Pica the RKC clock in at ? A healthy 19.4%.
My point with revealing the numbers here is to show you all that you really CAN balance your life and enjoy it more while maintaining a healthy weight and body fat percentage. I am by no means suggesting that we all go out and stuff ourselves silly with huge portions of food on a regular basis. But allow me to say this. There was a time in my life where I was too concerned, too afraid, and just too caught up in an arbitrary number on the scale. I was completely incapable of eating one tablespoon full too much of guacamole, let alone go out for a hefty steak dinner with the starchy accompaniments featured above. I drove myself mad obsessing about every single morsel of food that would enter my mouth, and eventually, my body said “ENOUGH ALREADY!”. I once carried a 14% body fat, but for me, that was low enough to cause a whole host of awful symptoms like anxiety, depression, menstrual irregularities, and other hormonal problems. When I learned to let myself go, fuel my body accordingly, and allow myself to have a piece of cake once in a while, my body reached a new, healthy normal. The best part was that I learned how to love myself and enjoy my life! And really, isn’t that the most important part of living a healthy lifestyle?
Ladies, love yourself! The number on a device means nothing in the name of athletic performance, hormonal regulation, and an all around appreciation for the good things in life. Striving for perfection will only drive you mad. Making small changes and remaining consistent with your transition into a healthy lifestyle is what really guarantees success in the long run. Be patient and gentle with yourself and learn to love who you are. Who knows, you might even find that you are happier more times than not. WOOT WOOT!!! 🙂
Eat smart! Train hard! Love yourself more and more each day!
And most importantly, enjoy your life!
Janelle Pica, RKC