Confessions from a Personal Trainer: I am often considered “Overweight”

Where every Tuesday: I confess.

*This is the twelfth confession sent to my email subscribers. If you’d like the most current confessions sent straight to your inbox in real time, head to my homepage, sign up, and download your free gift.*

Confession: My body fat percentage and my BMI (body mass index) often put me in the overweight category and many of my clients have a lower body fat % than I do.
Lesson: It’s not all about fat.

I heard on a podcast today that we are far too busy worrying about the fat on our body when we should really be worried about how much muscle we have. Why? Because muscle sparks your metabolism, muscle can help change your hormones, and muscle will keep you strong for life.

One of my long standing clients is 78 years old. She started weight lifting when she was 70. Her initial motivation – to be able to lift her suitcase into the overhead compartment on an airplane. Her current motivation – not to fall like her friend who fell and broke her neck. Not once has she mention wanting to be skinnier.

For as long as I can remember, I have obsessed about my weight – the simple number on the scale. In college I was working at the rec center and when I would open and go get the cash box upstairs, I would step on the scale that was right outside the office. Pretty much every day it would say … 138…. and I would think “ugh I’m so fat!”

All I focused on was the NUMBER.

Fast forward a few years and I’m focusing on body fat percentage. Every year for my medical insurance, we had a string of tests: body fat percentage, triglycerides, blood pressure and cholesterol. The better you did, the higher discount you received on your premium. All my numbers were in the excellent category except….body fat percentage.  UGH.

How is it that I work so hard and all I get is a body fat percentage that puts me in the overweight category? I was focused on another number. 

Fast forward to now. I am focusing on:

  • Learning about foods that fuel me and how I feel when I eat them
  • Attempting to sleep more
  • Getting across the monkey bars at Tough Mudder
  • Training for a 24 hour Tough Mudder
  • Keeping my cholesterol and blood pressure in the excellent category
  • Managing my blood sugar on a daily basis and not being HANGRY (hungry and angry at the same time)
  • Fitting into my skinny jeans
  • Feeling healthy

Because being healthy for life is not ALL about the number on the scale or the body fat percentage…it’s about looking at the big picture.

I am not saying that weight is not important or that losing fat is not important – because it is. Especially if your extra pounds are wrecking havoc on your health. These extra pounds could be associated with your hormone levels, your cholesterol, your insulin sensitivity, and so on.

So instead of focusing on the number on the scale or the body fat percentage, focus on finding what motivates you in a healthy and sustainable way

  • Playing with your kids or grandkids
  • Participating in a race or event
  • Lowering your health numbers (or increasing if it’s HDL!)
  • Feeling energized when you wake up
  • Moving without pain
  • Getting better at a sport
  • Find a smaller piece of clothing that you haven’t been able to wear for awhile
  • Being in a solid, motivating exercise routine
  • Drinking more water

Your health journey is your own and will not be the same as any one else. And you have a story with clues along the way. Use what your body and mind are telling you to tweak, change, and become stronger.

Tell me – comment below with what motivates you – what do you focus on to keep moving towards healthy??



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