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Getting in Shape

Unintentional weight loss and "skinny fat"?

Silverelf2015Silverelf2015 member
10 Comments 5 Love Its
edited July 2015 in Getting in Shape
Dear Knotties, 

With my wedding now a month away and the stress eating away at me - literally! - I have lost an unintentional 9 or 10 lbs. I also got sick about a month ago and have had a somewhat limited diet since then because I had an allergy scare. As a result, while I am not starving myself, I'm eating a really clean (organic meats, organic fruits and veggies, grain products, fat sources, etc with NO junk or additives because those things may have caused my allergy) but balanced diet. Maybe it's just the clean eating and stress that's causing the weight loss, but I didn't need to lose weight to begin with, at least not beyond the customary 5 "vanity pounds", and my dress has already been taken in twice. And while I am looking thinner, my muscle tone rather sucks. It's not visible flab/cellulite, but I feel "squishy", if that makes sense...like you can grab soft flesh here and there. Is this "skinny fat"? My BMI comes out to 20.5. 

I don't like building lots of muscle and looking "beefy" so I do Callanetics, exercises that bear your own weight (such as push ups and planks) and lots of walking. 

I'm not looking to do anything drastic (and I don't want to keep losing weight) especially right now and I'm sure as usual I'm worrying over nothing, but if there's anything I could do exercise-wise to tighten things up a bit in addition to what I'm doing, I'm open to suggestions. I was thinking along the lines of ballet, yoga type stuff as I don't want to lift heavy weights and start looking like a body builder (I also have a former back injury). And going forward after the wedding, I just want to stay healthy.

Thanks in advance! 
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Re: Unintentional weight loss and "skinny fat"?

  • ohmrs2014ohmrs2014 Dirty Jerz mod
    Moderator 500 Love Its 1000 Comments Fourth Anniversary
    A lot of people have a misconception regarding weights and weight lifting.  You won't bulk up if you use lighter weights and more reps, you will actually tone up.  Use 5-8lb weights, maybe even 10lbs and that will help you tone your trouble areas.  When you use heavier weights with less reps, thats when you begin to bulk up and not lose the fat and tone.

    What are some of the areas you are looking to tone?
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  • cj3561cj3561 Connecticut member
    25 Love Its 10 Comments First Anniversary Name Dropper
    Weights weights weights! Agree with the PP .. you will not bulk up by doing a bit of weight lifting, especially in a month. You will really see the fastest results and it will lean you out and tone you up very nicely. Sit down and write out a schedule, and stick to it. Target a specific area each day (ie Monday - arms/shoulders, Tues - legs etc and abs can be done as often as you'd like/are able to do). You will do very well with a program also considering you are eating clean also - you will see some nice results in a months time. :)
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  • Thanks guys! :)  Time to pull the old 5lb'ers out of my closet and get back to them. I had put the weights away because I was afraid of looking "bulked". I like a smooth look. This is good news, though! ;)
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  • ohmrs2014ohmrs2014 Dirty Jerz mod
    Moderator 500 Love Its 1000 Comments Fourth Anniversary
    Youtube has tons of videos that can help you with targeted areas or just all over body toning.
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  • PP have the weights covered, but I wanted to chime in about the food. I've been eating similarly clean because of mysterious allergy symptoms, and it can definitely account for the weight loss, especially combined with stress. Make sure you eat full portions and don't skip any meals, and definitely talk to your doctor if you keep losing weight without trying to.
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  • Toss out the BMI stuff - it's complete BS and wouldn't pass today's scientific rigors by a standing long-shot.  If you've got anywhere around you that you can do a Dexa Body Composition Scan - they're one of the best investments to make as you find out where your body is actually at.  We're lucky to have a clinic here that does them for anyone for around $50 and you get your bone mineral density as well.  It's awesome to hand it to your Primary MD and say "no, I've actually got X lbs. of lean body mass, the BMI is bunk for my body, and if I ever weighed what that arbitrary BMI chart says I should my body systems would completely shut down!" (my Lean body mass alone is considered "Obese" on the border of "morbid").   

    1) the weight "loss" could just be the conversion from muscle loss if you haven't been consistent as you normally are.

    2) Do not fear the heavy weights!  Really!!!  Those 5-10 lb. light weights aren't doing anything for you either!  Women physically cannot "bulk" up because we don't have remotely enough testosterone.  Strong is still strong and it's functional.  Heavier weights will help you tone and build strength, the reps determine what your outcome is, but if you're not giving yourself enough resistance you aren't doing yourself any favors in the toning up process!  That's not to say "load the bar to 315lbs." or "grab the 50lb. dumbbells" (at least not right away!), but limiting yourself too much won't build that tone either.  Maybe it's because I hang around with competitive bodybuilders and powerlifters that the only place you see those light weights being used is the classes.  If by the 8th rep of your set you're still using good form and can easily keep going, you aren't using enough weight! 

    3) Rest is just as important as training, taking care of you is one of the most vital steps in a health program.  If you don't have proper recovery built in to the program you won't see the results you desire. 

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  • Silverelf2015Silverelf2015 member
    10 Comments 5 Love Its
    edited July 2015
    My doctor is excellent, up-to-date and Boston-trained, and lists BMI on records  -that said, I was a little surprised to see it, too as I was also under the impression that it's no longer relevant. I'll read more about the body composition scan, though because it's interesting. She agrees my weight loss was from eating a lesser variety of foods and told me I needed more variety. Most of my allergy tests have come back negative, so this has been doable. 

    I don't ever plan to be any kind of body builder(!!!) and I've heard the whole thing before about women not being able to bulk, but I see bulky, muscular women all the time. Whatever they're doing, I don't want to add. I just want to remain healthy and remain looking thin. 

    The concern about "skinny fat" is more about long-term health going forward. I read about it and it sounded a bit scary, but I'm a size 3 and want to stay that way. I don't want to get bigger with muscle OR fat, but I don't want to get TOO thin, either. Sorry if my original post was misleading! 


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  • WinstonsGirlWinstonsGirl The Cold North member
    Knottie Warrior 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Don't worry about bulking up with weights.  As women, we don't have enough testosterone in our bodies to naturally bulk up.  I lift pretty heavy weights, along with other exercise  and still only have minor definition in my upper body - 15-20lbs for arms, 90-110lbs leg squats etc.  The weight lifting will help you tone up, or if you're wanting something more dance like, try a barre class
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  • Dance is more like it. Thanks!
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