Fit v. Fat: What’s the Big Skinny on That?

Issue 2 of the 2020 Bicycling magazine has on it’s cover the words “Every BODY Is a Cycling Body.” There’s a picture of a smiling woman who biked 1,000 miles across Alaska. Half of that distance included almost 28,000 feet of elevation — on gravel roads. In “I’m a Fat Cyclist — And I Don’t Need to Fix My Body,” Kailey Kornhauser explains how she is an athlete today in the body she has now — not in the future. She says “cycling culture needs to change, not her.” As something of a fathlete myself, I concur. But can you really be in good shape and be overweight? And does it really matter?

Kailey Kornhauser in Bicycling magazine

A while back I posted about the science of being fat but fit. The upshot is having some fat can actually HELP you ward off infection, wasting disease and other things. And how we’re told to think about what is overweight is overly simplistic and not that helpful. To quote one of the sources:

Quite simply, it looks like the body mass index (BMI) is pretty much bullshit, and we should stop using it as a horribly generalised indication of what an individual ‘should’ weigh.”

Source: “The Healthiest Weight Might be Overweight,” Science Alert
The candy aisle at an Austin grocery store. I’m on Day 7 of not eating extraneous sugar (not counting dark chocolate)

Problematic for me is the fact that no matter what I try, I don’t seem to lose pounds. I gave up bread and virtually all processed flour. Nothing. I’ve biked 20,000 miles in 49 months. Sure I got some muscles, but they’re still buried under a protective coating of fat. Even when I tracked calories diligently and followed a diet, and dropped pounds, ultimately they all came back. I could never go out with friends or else I would be tempted by eating something verboten that I couldn’t enter into the app. Food became an obsession, and not in a healthy way. So the diet was unsustainable. They may work for some, and if you’re one of them, great! But not for me.

Last week, I posted about swimming almost two-thirds of a mile. A few later, I did another effort and improved my distance by completing a mile swim. This was on a random Monday where I had slept under six hours, did no special preparation, and after only four previous swims. My first and only other mile swim of (which I’m aware) was when I was a Boy Scout — last century. Sure, I didn’t win any medals for speed, but I absolutely smashed it! Don’t believe me? Check out my Strava entry at this link here.

The point is that if you get out there and move your body on a regular basis, good things might and probably will happen, even if you cant see them. Will you become skinny in just a few days, weeks or even months? No. Rome wasn’t built in a day. But losing weight is like the old riddle. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Apologies if that seems out of place in an weight loss post. Be careful and seek medical attention before embarking on a physical fitness regime. Just don’t let fat hold you back! I sure as hell don’t. You do you.

Copyright Strava

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6 thoughts on “Fit v. Fat: What’s the Big Skinny on That?

  1. I weighed 352 lbs 9 years ago. Diabetic, high blood pressure, yadayada. Result of yoyo weight problems for years, and had been a fairly active athlete all my life. Cycling even when weighing 270 or more at times. Been down to 195 since bariatric bypass 9 years ago. No longer insulin dependent. Off all meds completely for those nine years. Yet my BMI still says I am overweight. I am 5’10”. Have a 32 waist and 48 inch chest. BMI means nothing unless you do a muscle mass test as well. We all know muscle weighs more than fat. Not to say that fat is bad. Even when i weighed more than 270 I could knock out a century ride. Of course, i went into hibernation for a few days after, but……

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for sharing, Richard. That’s awesome you’ve been able to improve through surgery and then effort to do a ton of miles on the bike. I’m still working on “the situation” and probably will be for life. We just do out best and forget the rest. Haters gonna hate… shake it off!


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