I have never been overweight a single day in my life, but since everything is relative and since there is tremendous pressure on fitness models and competitors to be extremely lean, I definitely experience fat days. You know those days when you just feel fluffy, bloated, tubby, like a stuffed sausage? Yep, I have those days too. An extra layer of fluid and fat has recently taken up residence right over my abdominals, preventing them from fully coming out to play. I was in a runway show a week ago and when I had to do my runway walks, I was horrified when my thighs rubbed together as I walked. This was due to several factors: 1) My thighs are very thick right now from heavy training, more muscle mass, and higher carb intake, 2) I am holding extra water under my skin, and 3) a runway walk requires you to lead with your hips, which decreases the space between the thighs. It was not an enjoyable experience to be on the runway and feel like a cow! Yet I had to be professional and push through the job, despite how I was feeling about my body.
There are days when I don’t want to show my midsection, when a baggy tank and maxi skirt or a flowing maxi dress will be selected as my wardrobe for the day. I know many of you are probably thinking, “How dare she say she has fat days when she’s not fat, she models and is an IFBB Bikini Pro?”, and to that my response is, once again, that everything is relative. Most women can relate to the monthly bloat that rides in with Aunt Flow and busts any plans to wear tight dresses and skinny jeans, and what I experience is similar. Five pounds can make a HUGE difference on my frame. And while I am always presentable, I am not always super shredded and super lean.
Hooray for elastic waistbands, Lycra, flowy burnout tank tops, maxi skirts and maxi dresses. We all need comfortable clothing that doesn’t magnify every single body flaw. Though I don’t wear sweats, I completely understand why people gravitate towards them on weekends or other lazy days. I have always been intrigued by people who hide under their clothing and can relate to the faltering body image which accompanies it. Do I have days when I feel like crap about my body? Oh yes. Though it is usually a rare occurrence, I have had days in which I have grabbed the most forgiving garment and avoided the mirror, the scale, and the measuring tape.
Those of us who have careers in fitness are particularly neurotic about being fluffy or soft. We obsess over any pocket of fat, and stress out when water retention causes mini muffin tops to develop over waistbands. We will reach for those squeems In desperation to squeeze out that subcutaneous water and shrink us down. Some of us even hide away and avoid fitness events and other social outings due to embarrassment. An excessive degree of body dysmorphia exists within the fitness community which is the inevitable result of constant pressure to look almost superhuman, with defined muscles, ripped abs and unnaturally low body fat. Basically, we in fitness are expected to look completely different from the average person, which creates tremendous pressure to ALWAYS look great. A fat day for an average person may flatten mood but ordinarily will have no impact on the person’s livelihood or reputation, whereas a fat day for a fitness person can at times translate into lost gigs and hence lost money and notoriety.
If only we all could relax and enjoy those fat days, and be grateful that we are blessed with bodies that are marvels,instead of fixating on how our pants don’t fit. As long as you aren’t using fat days as an excuse to avoid fitness goals, it is perfectly acceptable to relax and take the pressure off yourself every once in a while. We aren’t perfect, and that is what makes us human.