When I graduated high school, I weighed 107 pounds. At 5’7″, that’s pretty damn thin. At 12 I had my last growth spurt, and while it’s normal to begin growing out once you’ve stopped growing up, my body didn’t get that memo. Sure, I played soccer (well, let’s use the word ‘play’ liberally; what I really did was chase after the ball and rush to pass it off in any direction whenever it came anywhere near me); however, my eating habits were horrible. I loved fast food, fried food and anything with sugar. Everyday at lunch I would feast on a fries from the snack line and whatever I happened to bring from home. My favorite snack when I got home from school was cake frosting with those hard Chinese noodles–delicious– or noshing on whatever baked good my Dad made that morning. You’d think that with my poor eating habits I would have ballooned to about 600 pounds, but no. I had youth and a fast metabolism on my side. Looking back, my cholesterol and blood sugar must have been off the charts!
Over the years, my metabolism slowed and my eating habits have gotten better (especially after I realized how expensive junk food is compared to healthy food. Compare a bag of Oreos to a few apples and you’ll see that the latter is better for your heart and your wallet). I’m about 40 pounds heavier than I was when I graduated from high school; however, I’m healthier, have more muscle, have more endurance and feel much better than I did when I was much lighter.
I read an article a while back about skinny fat people, or “metabolically obese normal weight” folks (if you want to be technical), who are basically thin and out of shape–limited muscle, but lots of fat. According to a study cited, 37 % of thin teens studied had one or more signs of pre-diabetes, including high blood pressure, high blood sugar, or high cholesterol. Wowsa! It makes me wonder if I would have been one of them. I remember being in high school at running camp, which took place the week before the soccer season started and entailed–you guessed it–lots of running, and we had to pair off and run a relay with our partner on our backs. I couldn’t do it; more specifically, I dropped my partner and nearly took out the two pairs of ladies on my left. I was mortified–I think I may have faked a back injury to explain my lack of strength. Skinny–yes; no muscle or strength–also yes. Thirty-three year old me would love to whip 16 year old me into shape!
Currently, I’m training to ride a Century in June–that’s 100 miles of cycling awesomeness filled with three big-ass hills and sweet downhills. It’ll be my first since having my son last summer. And though I’m dealing with my body getting back to normal after 10 months of pregnancy and 8 months of limited sleep, I feel stronger than ever and comfortable being an average weight, fitter me.