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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: Carlin on January 10, 2017, 10:28:36 PM

Title: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: Carlin on January 10, 2017, 10:28:36 PM
I already posted this question on a "Continuing the Discussion Thread" about the most recent MMM post, but I thought maybe I could put it on its own thread:

I am a 23 year old female, 128 lbs, and 5 feet 5 inches tall; so not overweight by any means, but definitely not impressive.  I had back surgery in my early teen years and wasn't allowed to do much physical activity, so I am very "skinny fat."  I lack any sort of muscle tone or physical endurance.  I keep attempting to exercise, and was particularly inspired by this MMM post, but I find it incredibly difficult to even get started because I have so little to work with. 
I can only do roughly 10 "girl" pushups, 20 squats or so, maybe a 20 second plank, and a few dozen reverse situps (no regular crunches, because my spine has a metal rod drilled into it).  I can run maybe a quarter of a mile before I get intense side pain.  I do truly enjoy biking, but Indiana is very flat and I get no challenge from it.  Every time I do a few sets of a muscle building exercise, I find myself in intense pain the next day and unable to do any more of the same exercises.  By the time the pain subsides, I have lost any progress.  I feel like I am spinning my wheels.
My question is, what are some things I can do to truly build up muscle and endurance without setting myself back?  I feel so frustrated.  I know I don't eat enough calories, but I am truly never hungry enough to eat more than one meal or so per day, and when I do eat more I immediately gain fat- not muscle.  Please help, I really am trying to work hard here.  I've been far too coddled and I want a more badass and functional body!
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: swick on January 10, 2017, 10:35:01 PM
The best thing I found for my endurance was pick up a rebounder (mini trampoline) and stick in right in my living room.  Yu can walk on it, run, bounce, dance it is low-impact and bouncing is the only way of exercising your lymphatic system. I had chronic pain issues for years and once I was well enough to start any exercise it is what I started with. Then you can gradually add in weights and such in a way that doesn't make your body hate you.

It sounds like your metabolism is wrecked. What are you eating for your one meal a day? And what are you drinking throughout the day?
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: Carlin on January 10, 2017, 10:40:53 PM

It sounds like your metabolism is wrecked. What are you eating for your one meal a day? And what are you drinking throughout the day?

I usually drink many cups of coffee or green tea through the day, a snack of fruit, carrots, or cherry tomatoes for lunch (occasionally wheat thins with cheese on them, or a cup of homemade soup or rice n beans if i'm really hungry), and dinner is generally a typical balanced healthy dinner.  I will often replace a meal with a spinach/fruit smoothie too.  We do a lot of vegetarian dishes, whole wheat pasta with veggies, chicken stir fry, chicken and veggies...etc.  We have a nice big comfort meal once a week or so, and eat out every couple weeks.  We're not perfect, but we do eat pretty healthy.  I also drink a lot of water.  I am always- I repeat, always- thirsty.
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: gettingtoyes on January 10, 2017, 10:54:32 PM
With your significant past medical history of back surgery with a metal rod in your back- I really think you need to talk to your doctor about what you can/cannot do and what to expect as far as gaining endurance and toning up. I don't think you're going to fit the typical person's advice for getting fit.
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: swick on January 10, 2017, 11:03:42 PM
Coffee is a major appetite suppressant, I'm a recovered drink coffee throughout the day skip breakfast and snack for lunch type of person. It also sounds like you are eating your heaviest meal right before your body is shutting down for sleep, so you don't have the energy throughout the day and digesting at night when your body should be spending the time and energy repairing and healing. I would suggest tracking your food intake for a while to get an accurate idea of how many calories and nutrients you are consuming. It can be pretty eye-opening.

Also, how much sugar are you consuming in your coffee/tea?

If you are experiencing excessive thirst, I'd definitely be exploring that with a doc that could be a lot of different things but you want to rule out Kidney problems and serious stuff like that.
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: Carlin on January 10, 2017, 11:07:44 PM
Coffee is a major appetite suppressant, I'm a recovered drink coffee throughout the day skip breakfast and snack for lunch type of person. It also sounds like you are eating your heaviest meal right before your body is shutting down for sleep, so you don't have the energy throughout the day and digesting at night when your body should be spending the time and energy repairing and healing. I would suggest tracking your food intake for a while to get an accurate idea of how many calories and nutrients you are consuming. It can be pretty eye-opening.

Also, how much sugar are you consuming in your coffee/tea?

If you are experiencing excessive thirst, I'd definitely be exploring that with a doc that could be a lot of different things but you want to rule out Kidney problems and serious stuff like that.

I have tracked my calories, and I consume roughly 800-1400 calories per day.  It doesn't vary too much.  The highest would be about 1600 on an "Eat out and drink booze" sort of day.  I put a splash of flavored creamer in my first cup of coffee, and then continue to add hot black coffee to it through the day without generally adding more creamer.  As I drink more coffee, I feel the need for less creamer.  So maybe 70 calories per day in creamer?
That is a good point about the big meal in the evening.  I know that's technically bad.  It's just very hard to have a big meal at my desk at work, and it's nice to have a family "dinner" with my husband in the evening. 
I don't necessarily have much fat to lose.  I wear a size 2 jeans.  I know that if I could build some muscle tone, the soft middle would start to go away.  Getting there is the problem. 
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: Carlin on January 10, 2017, 11:10:25 PM
With your significant past medical history of back surgery with a metal rod in your back- I really think you need to talk to your doctor about what you can/cannot do and what to expect as far as gaining endurance and toning up. I don't think you're going to fit the typical person's advice for getting fit.

I technically have a green light from doctors to do all basic exercises.  The only things I need to avoid are jarring/vibrating activities.  Things like sky diving, bungee jumping, ATV riding, horseback riding, contact sports- are a no go.  Basic physical activity is supposed to be okay though.  Swimming is something that is amazing for me, and I do have a pool in my apartment complex.  I'm just not sure it provides the sort of strenuous activity I need to see progress.
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: LadyFI on January 11, 2017, 12:35:31 AM
Swimming is amazing! If you enjoy it and have access to a pool do it!

A quick Google image search of Olympic swimmers should quell your fears that it is not an activity that leads to building a lean, muscular body.  ; )

And for what it's worth I find swimming to be insanely strenuous. Running, weight-lifting, snowboarding my butt off - no problem. But lap swimming? Positively exhausting.
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: Trifele on January 11, 2017, 04:11:06 AM
Do you work a desk job where you are basically sitting all day?   That can be a killer. 

It sounds like maybe you should take a step back and start simply.  Do you do much walking? 
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: Malum Prohibitum on January 11, 2017, 05:15:41 AM
I can only do roughly 10 "girl" pushups
So work on doing 11.  Then 12.  Soon you will be able to do "boy" pushups, and then you keep progressing. 
Quote
, 20 squats or so
  Do 22.  Keep working up to thirty.  Then Add sets.  Do thirty and then a 60 second rest and do 30 more and a 60 second rest and then 30 more.  Then start adding weight, maybe holding dumbbells, or tie them around your waist to avoid back pain if that is the culprit.
Quote
I can run maybe a quarter of a mile before I get intense side pain.
  You have to push through that intense side pain, or you will never improve.  It goes away.   You will get better each time, I promise.

Quote
  I do truly enjoy biking, but Indiana is very flat and I get no challenge from it.
  Go faster.
Quote
  Every time I do a few sets of a muscle building exercise, I find myself in intense pain the next day and unable to do any more of the same exercises.  By the time the pain subsides, I have lost any progress.  I feel like I am spinning my wheels.
  OK, this is the reason I posted.  What sort of pain?  Is this intense pain down in your spine where the rod is?  Or does running and doing 20 squats cause your legs to be sore?  If we are talking about muscle soreness, then you have to laugh that off and keep going.  It's normal.  It goes away over time.  If you get in shape, and then quit working out, when you start again you get sore again.  It is just the way it is.  Soreness is a part of your body's adaptation process.

Or is it something else?

Describe this intense pain for us, please.
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: Laura33 on January 11, 2017, 05:50:13 AM
I feel you -- I am more on the "a few pounds to lose" side, but very similar frustration that every time I start something, I get injured.  I have just joined Crossfit and *hate* being the weakest one there!  But part of the job is retraining not just your muscles but your ligaments and tendons and such so they become more flexible and stronger.  The things that have worked for me:

Running:  I was just like you.  I mean just -- could barely run before I'd get a huge stitch in my side.  The breakthrough for me was a trainer who told me you walk your way to running.  Run 5 minutes and walk one.  Can't do that?  Run three minutes, or two, or one, or whatever you can, then walk.  Then do it again, and again, and again.  It only took me a few weeks before I could run a mile with no problems.  6 months later I ran my first 5K -- with NO stitches, ever.

Lifting/strength training:  Alternate what muscles you work.  Trainers will be very precise, but I tend to think in terms of "legs," "arms," and "core."  Don't expect to do squats two days in a row; sometimes I'm still hurting two days later!  Hire a personal trainer for a few sessions to make sure your form is correct -- the quickest way to injury is bad form.

Add flexibility training, e.g., yoga.  I get frustrated because it doesn't feel like I'm really working hard enough, but this is the only way I know to re-train all of those other bits between the muscles to lengthen, tighten, etc.

And just be patient.  It took you more than a decade of inactivity to train your body to be what it is today; it will take a comparable amount of time to retrain it back to being active and healthy.  There will be setbacks, just like in anything else worth doing; you just need to keep at it.
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: LifeHappens on January 11, 2017, 05:54:59 AM
Congratulations on overcoming some serious physical issues! It's great your Dr. has cleared you to do most exercises now.

OK, this is the reason I posted.  What sort of pain?  Is this intense pain down in your spine where the rod is?  Or does running and doing 20 squats cause your legs to be sore?  If we are talking about muscle soreness, then you have to laugh that off and keep going.  It's normal.  It goes away over time.  If you get in shape, and then quit working out, when you start again you get sore again.  It is just the way it is.  Soreness is a part of your body's adaptation process.

Or is it something else?

Describe this intense pain for us, please.

Please do tell us about this. IAMNAD (I am not a Dr), but this will make a huge difference in the type of help you can get on this thread.
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: little_brown_dog on January 11, 2017, 07:18:28 AM
Walking!

No seriously – I am a huge believer in the power of walking. Running is great but even when I ran regularly, I just found the whole situation flat out uncomfortable. I never enjoyed it the way I enjoy a brisk walk. You don’t want to find yourself dreading your exercise routine-  if you do, that means that exercise is not for you no matter what its enthusiasts claim. People act like walking is the precursor to running...as if walking itself is not a good enough exercise or a "baby step" on the way to "real" exercise. This is ridiculous.

The human body was built for walking. It is a low impact exercise that works and tones everything from your midsection down. The healthiest societies have large amounts of daily walking and other low impact exercises. It is extremely pleasant when paired with a good play list and nice weather. I brisk walk every day, weather permitting for 30-40 minutes. Walking won’t get you buff, but it will get you healthy.

I recommend starting with walking for 35 minutes every day, barring pouring rain or snow/ice. No need to make a complicated work out schedule – just look out your window. If it is decent out, you walk. When walking, keep a brisk pace and keep it up for 30+ minutes. Mind your form - stand up straight, look ahead (don't duck your chin), shoulders down and relaxed (not hunched up), chest comfortable in the middle of your body (not pushed out, or caving in). If you are puffing and out of breath, dial it back until you are still pushing yourself but more comfortable. If you are lollygagging, pick up the pace. An upbeat playlist can keep you moving swiftly.

Other low impact but awesome exercise options include swimming and yoga (make sure you tell your yoga teacher about your pain/medical history!).

I used daily walking combined with minor strength training and a revamped diet (cut out added sugar, reduced my flour based food intake) to lose my last 10lbs of baby weight. After 6 months of implementing the changes, I was back to pre-pregnancy weight. No running required.


Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: justchristine on January 11, 2017, 07:30:37 AM
I was in a similar physical condition about 5 years ago minus the metal rod in my back.  I found NerdFitness and started with the basic body weight routine and really struggled with it.  The first few times I did the workout my legs were so weak at the end of the workout that I could barely stand in the shower.  Instead of doing it everything other day, I had to do it every third day when I first started because it was taking my muscles that long to recover.  It took a long time to move to a new level but the key was to keep at.  I kept an exercise journal at first to keep motivated and to make sure I kept increasing my reps/sets.  The journal also helped motivate me because I could look back and see how far I had come.  Now I can do 100+ pushups(still girl ones because real ones bother my knee), 40 one legged squats and can shovel wet heavy snow for an hour with no pain :)

I suggest taking a look at NerdFitness, start slow, progress slow and just keep at it.  On days that you are resting from the body weight exercises, just go outside and walk for 30 min.  The key for me was to do *something* everyday even if it was just a quick walk.  Once you get in some sort of habit, it gets easier.
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: Carlin on January 11, 2017, 08:12:59 AM
I can only do roughly 10 "girl" pushups
  OK, this is the reason I posted.  What sort of pain?  Is this intense pain down in your spine where the rod is?  Or does running and doing 20 squats cause your legs to be sore?  If we are talking about muscle soreness, then you have to laugh that off and keep going.  It's normal.  It goes away over time.  If you get in shape, and then quit working out, when you start again you get sore again.  It is just the way it is.  Soreness is a part of your body's adaptation process.

Or is it something else?

Describe this intense pain for us, please.

My back generally always hurts a little bit no  matter what...that will never go away, though exercise does make it worse.  It is muscle pain that I am experiencing.  It takes days to go away, and makes it almost impossible to do the same exercises again until it's gone.  I suppose I will have to work harder to push through it.  I would really like to build more muscle in my back and core, because I believe it will ease some of my back pain.
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: Carlin on January 11, 2017, 08:14:59 AM
Do you work a desk job where you are basically sitting all day?   That can be a killer. 

It sounds like maybe you should take a step back and start simply.  Do you do much walking?

Yes actually, I do walk frequently! Not as much now that it's nasty outside, but in friendly weather my husband and I will take 3-5 mile walks and hikes regularly.  Long distance, less vigorous exercise is no issue for me.  I can walk for miles (including 15 miles around NYC one day last summer), bike leisurely for hours, swim leisurely for hours....it's intense stuff that's my kryptonite.
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: Tris Prior on January 11, 2017, 08:17:20 AM
Posting to follow because I'm in the same situation, minus the rod in my back.
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: prognastat on January 11, 2017, 08:26:23 AM
I can only do roughly 10 "girl" pushups
  OK, this is the reason I posted.  What sort of pain?  Is this intense pain down in your spine where the rod is?  Or does running and doing 20 squats cause your legs to be sore?  If we are talking about muscle soreness, then you have to laugh that off and keep going.  It's normal.  It goes away over time.  If you get in shape, and then quit working out, when you start again you get sore again.  It is just the way it is.  Soreness is a part of your body's adaptation process.

Or is it something else?

Describe this intense pain for us, please.

My back generally always hurts a little bit no  matter what...that will never go away, though exercise does make it worse.  It is muscle pain that I am experiencing.  It takes days to go away, and makes it almost impossible to do the same exercises again until it's gone.  I suppose I will have to work harder to push through it.  I would really like to build more muscle in my back and core, because I believe it will ease some of my back pain.

The muscle pain is expected. Your body just needs to get used to it. Rotate your workouts.

Only do the same muscle group once per week. You can do the following on separate days:
Legs
Chest and back
Core
Arms

This will give you 4 days of muscle training per week and not targeting the same group for a week until it is feeling better again is not going to lead you to undoing progress.

The following would be an example of a workout schedule you could do:
Monday - Legs
Tuesday - Chest and Back
Wednesday - Break/Cardio day
Thursday - Core
Friday - Arms
Saturday - Break/Cardio day
Sunday - Break/Cardio day

Also if you can just get in some extra walking throughout your day it is helpful. Take the stairs instead of lift/elevators etc.
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: wenchsenior on January 11, 2017, 08:28:25 AM
I am in a similar pickle, Carlin.

I'm naturally very lightly built, bone and muscle wise.

Just discovered that apparently I've had scoliosis for years (unbeknownst to me and it's been getting worse for the past 15 years as I was desk bound and not a consistent exerciser). Back grinds like metal gears, though usually without pain since lower discs are gone. 

Aside from spinal problems, I also have issues with chronic pain and migraines (?I guess???...I should really start a thread on that) with severe body pain accompaniment, which I struggled with even when I was young and fit but are worse now that I'm middle aged and not fit. These pain problems might or might not be due to the scoliosis, or to my diagnosed endocrine disorder, or to a known but as yet unidentified underlying autoimmue disorder. 

I eat very similar to you, but I struggle to keep my weight up and have very little appetite due to the slowest digestion on the planet. It's SO frustrating!

About 4 years ago I began exercising more consistently...mostly brisk walking (so as not to burn too many calories) and some body weight work to try to gain mass. I gained about 5 lbs, which was a big deal for me!  But when work got busier and my pain issues flared up very badly this past year, I started to get inconsistent, and now I'm back where I was again.....a brittle, weak, pain-filled twig.

Like you I suffer pretty intense pain just doing basic muscle focused workouts. I remember that from working out when I was younger, but now it tends to send my chronic pain into associated flares. Ugh.  Plus, I can SO easily overdue it and injure myself, setting myself back again.

All this ranting is just to say, I totally feel the OP's frustration.

Swimming is going to be my go-to starting in the spring. It's worked in the past and it's one of the only overall body exercises that conditions me without setting me back constantly due to injury or rebound pain.

ETA: the really annoying part is, until very recently, my inherent cardiovascular endurance was always good...with a little leg prep, I could get into condition to hike up and down mountains with relative ease. But aside from big leg muscles, the rest of me stayed weak and would not progress with the same ease as legs.
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: prognastat on January 11, 2017, 08:33:00 AM
Also make sure if you are trying to build some muscle you are also eating a decent amount of protein to assist your body in building those muscles. Things like eggs, milk, tuna, chicken, peanut butter etc are great.
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: Cromacster on January 11, 2017, 08:37:45 AM
My back generally always hurts a little bit no  matter what...that will never go away, though exercise does make it worse.  It is muscle pain that I am experiencing.  It takes days to go away, and makes it almost impossible to do the same exercises again until it's gone.  I suppose I will have to work harder to push through it.  I would really like to build more muscle in my back and core, because I believe it will ease some of my back pain.

The pain is a hard thing for a lot of people to overcome if they are not used to working out or being physically active.  It is uncomfortable.  I will say it does get better as your body becomes used to working out and it never truly goes away if you are pushing your body enough.  The beginning is the worst, keep pushing through and after a week or two the soreness won't be as bad.

My advice would be to pick a short routine that may take you 15-20mins.  Based on what you posted, something like:

Complete 3 rounds:
10 air squat
5 pushups from the knee's
10-15 sec plank.
3 burpees

Do that 3-4 times a week with a day of rest in between each time.  You might reach a point where this is easier and not leaving feel as sore.  When that happens add a 4th round or add more squats, more pushups, longer planks, more burpees etc.

Also take time to stretch each and everyday, especially your hips, quads, glutes, hamstrings if you experience any sort of lower back pain.
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: Laura33 on January 11, 2017, 09:05:11 AM
Also, if the issue is moving beyond "leisurely" exercise, the best way to improve your cardiovascular fitness is high-intensity bursts/intervals.  E.g., you don't need to run a mile, just do a semi-sprint for a block, then walk back, repeat a few times.  There are a lot of articles/suggestions/etc. about high-intensity training programs.  Personally, I like it because it is over quickly -- it's easy to tell myself "I had two kids, I can take 30 seconds of this."  :-)
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: LifeHappens on January 11, 2017, 09:12:24 AM
If the issue is mostly muscle pain, it sounds like you need to progress a bit more slowly.

Also, if it's okay for your back, can you do something like pilates or yoga? These build strength, and are very focused on core strength, but progress in a less intense way than weight lifting. You might also find it motivating to do things in a class setting.

You might want to join the Strength & Fitness challenge group. http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/throw-down-the-gauntlet/strength-fitness-2017/ (http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/throw-down-the-gauntlet/strength-fitness-2017/)
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: Bracken_Joy on January 11, 2017, 09:12:57 AM

It sounds like your metabolism is wrecked. What are you eating for your one meal a day? And what are you drinking throughout the day?

I usually drink many cups of coffee or green tea through the day, a snack of fruit, carrots, or cherry tomatoes for lunch (occasionally wheat thins with cheese on them, or a cup of homemade soup or rice n beans if i'm really hungry), and dinner is generally a typical balanced healthy dinner.  I will often replace a meal with a spinach/fruit smoothie too.  We do a lot of vegetarian dishes, whole wheat pasta with veggies, chicken stir fry, chicken and veggies...etc.  We have a nice big comfort meal once a week or so, and eat out every couple weeks.  We're not perfect, but we do eat pretty healthy.  I also drink a lot of water.  I am always- I repeat, always- thirsty.

Hold up. Red flag for me as a nurse here. I haven't read the rest of the thread, but PLEASE go see your doctor and rule out diabetes. Most people are not diagnosed until they are in crisis. But we look for some classic diabetes symptoms: excessive thirst, excessive urination, hunger, and unexplained weight loss. Obviously you are not 4/4 from what you have said, but not everyone presents with all symptoms. Obviously this is not a diagnosis, as you cannot diagnose diabetes through the internet =P

It's easy to rule out, and pretty easy to manage even if you do have a positive diagnosis. But please don't risk a blood sugar crisis before you get this checked out.
http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diabetes/basics/symptoms/con-20033091 (http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diabetes/basics/symptoms/con-20033091)
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: spokey doke on January 11, 2017, 09:16:54 AM
And just be patient.  It took you more than a decade of inactivity to train your body to be what it is today; it will take a comparable amount of time to retrain it back to being active and healthy.  There will be setbacks, just like in anything else worth doing; you just need to keep at it.

+1 - it is work and takes time, but there is no magic trick to getting there.  I think many folks who get and stay fit find something that works for them, or even better, they really enjoy.  I bike in part for fitness, but I also just really like doing it.

Along these lines, you can 'train' yourself to tolerate and even enjoy things that cause misery.  I used to hate biking up big hills, and then decided that I was going to make that 'my thing' and would hunt out the biggest and steepest hills and grind up them and eventually came to see it as very satisfying, even if not 'fun' in any obvious way.  Similarly, I came to enjoy the feeling after lifting weights, even the soreness the next day, as I associated it with positive things.

In any case, the long term view is pretty critical, adopting exercise as a chosen lifestyle you identify with, not a process to suffer through.  If you do, you'll then one day stop and reflect and notice 'hey, I'm pretty strong and fit...I've come so far since my skinny fat days!'
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: MsPeacock on January 11, 2017, 09:21:16 AM
Swimming is amazing! If you enjoy it and have access to a pool do it!

A quick Google image search of Olympic swimmers should quell your fears that it is not an activity that leads to building a lean, muscular body.  ; )

And for what it's worth I find swimming to be insanely strenuous. Running, weight-lifting, snowboarding my butt off - no problem. But lap swimming? Positively exhausting.

+1 on swimming. After being laid up w/ various joint pains and problems for years, I went to swimming to return to some level of physical fitness. When I started I could barely swim 50 yards. Then I'd have to hold onto the side and catch my breath and then breast stroke a bit to rest some more, then swim a little bit more freestyle, etc. The good thing about swimming is that it does help avoid a lot of muscle pain that comes with running or doing things like sit=ups, push-ups, while still giving a very good workout.

For running - I also get cramps in my side very easily. What has helped me is to try to run only on a completely empty stomach (early morning is best). Also, I learned to adjust my stride so that it is much shorter and my stance more upright. There are good videos on youtube about good running form. Start slow - walk 100 - 500 paces, then run (very slowly) for 100 paces - repeat for a mile total or so (or 15 minutes). Slow increase the run to walk ratio and be patient with yourself. Running is hard work on a body.

I went from being "skinny fat" and out of shape a couple years ago (due to reduced ability to exercise) to doing a my first triathlon last summer - and I plan on 3 this year. Swimming really got me started on the road to being in  better shape.

Try to focus on duration (e.g. 20 minutes of swimming) and not intensity (going as fast as possible). Control your pace so that you can get through the time and feel ok. With time and practice you'll get stronger.
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: Rimu05 on January 11, 2017, 09:26:58 AM
Oh this thread is for me, I am totally skinny fat and want to build muscle and just endurance in general. I was playing tennis once a week and taking some skating lessons but have had a rough couple of months and surgery which has made me a total couch potato.
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: catccc on January 11, 2017, 09:32:25 AM
The muscle pain you describe is normal (DOMS or delayed onset muscle soreness), and it is often worse a couple days after an intense workout than the day right after.  If you are like me, you are stiff and something as simple as walking up a step 'hurts.'  Strangely, I love feeling this kind of muscle soreness, and if I don't feel it after a workout, I tend to think I didn't work hard enough. (This is not scientifically true, but it's just a head game I play with myself)  I know it can seem impossible to do the same exercise, but once you start moving, something happens, IDK, maybe muscles "warm up" or something, and then you can do more.

I try to do body pump (group weightlifting classes) on Monday and Wednesday evenings, and Wednesday evenings I often go in very very sore, but I always leave feeling good.  And then hurt the next couple days, but like I said, I like it...  I have been a moderate exerciser and try for 2-3 times a week.  I do not consider myself skinny even though I need a size 00 or 0, but I am very short, only 4'11"  (okay, I rounded up a half inch...) and I usually weigh about 97 pounds.  I am not the fittest person in the world, but I am reasonably fit and I think relatively strong for my size.  In body pump class I routinely lift as much as women 1.5 times my size.  I can probably bang out 15-20 push ups on my toes, and I can hold a plank long enough to get very bored.

It sounds like I eat waaay more than you, though.  Your diet seems to be very lacking in fats, and that can be a problem.  Maybe you should try to eat some nuts or something to increase your caloric intake.  I think I probably eat 1,400-1,800 calories a day.

You cannot gain muscle if you do not work them to exhaustion, I think.  Something about microscopic tears in muscle fibers after working them and the necessary repairs your body will do to fix them is what actually builds muscle.

When I am at my fittest, my body tends to naturally want to eat more.  I've never had a problem with weight but my body composition will change if I'm not working out.

You can find body pump classes on youtube because future instructors record audition tapes and put them up.  Try to do one without weights and work your way up to some small dumbbells.  I am a lover of weight bearing exercises and not so into cardio, though.
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: honeybbq on January 11, 2017, 09:36:52 AM
I didn't read the whole thread but:

SWIMMING

YOGA

RESISTANCE BAND TRAINING


all easy to do and extremely helpful! Also just hiking and walking through parks. Enjoy nature. :)
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: Inaya on January 11, 2017, 09:42:24 AM
Oh man, totally skinny fat and super weak here. My arms are noodles. I just discovered that I can't swing on a rope because I don't even have the arm strength to hold on anymore.

One thing that worked for me was joining a barre studio--it's somewhere between pilates and yoga, very low impact. A good studio (like mine was) can accommodate all skill levels and injuries. And man it HURT the first few times I went (or rather in the days following)--like I could barely move if I sat for too long (oddly, using the muscle helps the pain a little bit). But the worst of the pain did eventually pass. Once it did, I was always a bit sore somewhere (arms this week, legs last week, butt next week, etc.), but it was never very bad and that's how I knew it was working. I also found I had to have some sort of carby-proteiny snack (lox on a tortilla and a banana was my go-to) about 30-60 minutes beforehand or I couldn't make it through the class--muscles would just give up if I neglected my snack.

Unfortunately, I would get overzealous and injured myself as a result. Pulled a hamstring once, then messed up a shoulder. Doc said let the shoulder heal, so I put the classes on hold. And now I'm in a masters program and working full time (with a 1.5-2 hour public transit commute), so I don't feel I really have time anymore. I will go back in a heartbeat once I have the time again--but maybe not overdo it this time.

If you want to get into running, there is an app called Couch to 5k that is really fantastic for getting started. I do a lot of walking (carless) and NO running, but I found it to be too easy for the first 4 weeks or so. I got about halfway through before school ate my life, and I'm going to try to get back into it once I know what this semester's looking like.


Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: Malum Prohibitum on January 11, 2017, 10:34:38 AM
I can only do roughly 10 "girl" pushups
  OK, this is the reason I posted.  What sort of pain?  Is this intense pain down in your spine where the rod is?  Or does running and doing 20 squats cause your legs to be sore?  If we are talking about muscle soreness, then you have to laugh that off and keep going.  It's normal.  It goes away over time.  If you get in shape, and then quit working out, when you start again you get sore again.  It is just the way it is.  Soreness is a part of your body's adaptation process.

Or is it something else?

Describe this intense pain for us, please.

My back generally always hurts a little bit no  matter what...that will never go away, though exercise does make it worse.  It is muscle pain that I am experiencing.  It takes days to go away, and makes it almost impossible to do the same exercises again until it's gone.  I suppose I will have to work harder to push through it.  I would really like to build more muscle in my back and core, because I believe it will ease some of my back pain.

Well avoid injuring your back, of course, but as for the muscles hurting the day after exercise, completely normal!  I hit the gym a lot.  If I take a break, though, this happens to me when I start again.  You just have to keep going.

It gets better.  The muscles adapt to the workload.  Soreness does not continue forever.

Talk to your doctor and the physical therapist you used about your goals for strengthening the back and core.  I bet they will hook you up quickly with something that works but will not re-injure you.

As for everything else, just do it.  You will get sore, but it will be less and less each time until you are not sore at all.

WEIGHTS - As a beginner, you can hit each muscle three times a week.  Give them a day off in between.

CARDIO - Do something for cardio at least three times a week, too.

DIET - And your diet.  I am scared to ask too many details, but from what little I see you really need to change it.  Use MyFitnessPal to track things.  It's free and takes 30 seconds to sign up.  It makes tracking super easy, and you can even do it from your phone.  Keep protein and healthy fats high and get rid of carbs as much as possible - this is the best way to accomplish your particular goals.
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: Rezdent on January 11, 2017, 10:58:26 AM
I'm not a doctor.  But I had a similar experience.  Once I was an amateur bodybuilder - and then I got an unrelated illness.  I've experienced two kind of soreness.

Normal soreness is the kind that hurts where you worked out, such as you did squats and now legs hurt.  It truly sucks, but you can still function.  Okay, maybe you puke a bit the next morning but you can still function.  This is something you can work through.

The other soreness is more general.  You worked your legs yesterday and today your arms and legs and everything else is screaming so badly you can't focus on getting dressed.  It is debilitating - you can't function normally.  You can't work through this.  You'll need to make adjustments.

After my illness I was much weaker and sicker than I appeared on the outside.  Even though I could do five push-ups, it was too much for my current level of fitness.  I had to scale back - wayyyyy back.  I could do one pushup, and be sore but functioning.  Or I could do five and bedrest for the next two days.   So I did just one per workout.

If you are experiencing that kind of debilitating soreness I am truly sorry.  It is awful. You might have people telling you this is normal, just work through it.  (And you're wondering how on Earth am I supposed to do that?  Maybe I am just a wuss...)

I suggest seeing your doc to rule out any issues, and then starting with about ten percent of what you think you could do - and adjust up or down for the next workout.  You will be able to work up to regular workouts with regular soreness pretty fast, but it will probably seem like a long time to you.
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: nexus on January 11, 2017, 12:03:19 PM
Here's my two cents, coming from the equivalent of a college athlete:

Walking is still one of the best exercises out there, even if it is on flat ground. One running workout you could try is going to a track and gently jogging the straightaways and walking the turns (or vice-versa). Repeat for X laps or X minutes. If you don't have access to a track, try jogging for 30 seconds, then walking for 1-2 minutes before you do it again for like 20-30 minutes. Maybe the first few times you only do it for 10 minutes. Keep in mind, there are days when my ankles will not cooperate or handle impact very well, so I just accept it and schedule it for another day.

Biking is a great way to build muscle. I don't care if the ground is flat. Pedal with heavier gears. Have you seen the quads and calves on some of those cyclists and folks in spin classes? It also engages your core and our triceps (having to hold yourself up on the bike is time under tension, which equals muscle fatigue and definition.)

Increase your protein intake too. Your body needs it in order to rebuild/repair muscle.
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: GuitarStv on January 11, 2017, 12:13:07 PM
The key for me was to do *something* everyday even if it was just a quick walk.  Once you get in some sort of habit, it gets easier.

There are two parts to getting into good shape.  This is half of it.

You need to make it a regular habit, and you need to rigidly adhere to that habit until it feels as natural as brushing your teeth in the morning.  Every athlete you've ever seen has made a journey of small steps over a long period of time . . . things just add up as you get to know your body and what you're capable of.

The other part is that periodically you need to push yourself to go harder, faster, longer, stronger.  You might do this by setting a goal, joining an event or group, whatever.  You can't just get stuck in a routine . . . because eventually it'll get boring and you'll drop it.
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: wenchsenior on January 11, 2017, 01:30:53 PM
I'm not a doctor.  But I had a similar experience.  Once I was an amateur bodybuilder - and then I got an unrelated illness.  I've experienced two kind of soreness.

Normal soreness is the kind that hurts where you worked out, such as you did squats and now legs hurt.  It truly sucks, but you can still function.  Okay, maybe you puke a bit the next morning but you can still function.  This is something you can work through.

The other soreness is more general.  You worked your legs yesterday and today your arms and legs and everything else is screaming so badly you can't focus on getting dressed.  It is debilitating - you can't function normally.  You can't work through this.  You'll need to make adjustments.

After my illness I was much weaker and sicker than I appeared on the outside.  Even though I could do five push-ups, it was too much for my current level of fitness.  I had to scale back - wayyyyy back.  I could do one pushup, and be sore but functioning.  Or I could do five and bedrest for the next two days.   So I did just one per workout.

If you are experiencing that kind of debilitating soreness I am truly sorry.  It is awful. You might have people telling you this is normal, just work through it.  (And you're wondering how on Earth am I supposed to do that?  Maybe I am just a wuss...)

I suggest seeing your doc to rule out any issues, and then starting with about ten percent of what you think you could do - and adjust up or down for the next workout.  You will be able to work up to regular workouts with regular soreness pretty fast, but it will probably seem like a long time to you.

This is finally what I've been coming to terms with. When anything more than a brisk walk or a 20 minute yoga style workout can trigger the debilitating 'full-body flu like symptoms + puke inducing migraine' the next day, then I have to stick to the walk or just a few reps of something. Hell, sometimes just a walk will trigger illness the next day...something about how my hips get stiff triggers an attack. But you are right that you have to try to do it anyway, consistently, and eventually you do get stronger and can do more. My problem is being stupidly inconsistent and having to keep starting from zero. My own damn fault.

Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: Rezdent on January 11, 2017, 02:56:19 PM
I'm not a doctor.  But I had a similar experience.  Once I was an amateur bodybuilder - and then I got an unrelated illness.  I've experienced two kind of soreness.

Normal soreness is the kind that hurts where you worked out, such as you did squats and now legs hurt.  It truly sucks, but you can still function.  Okay, maybe you puke a bit the next morning but you can still function.  This is something you can work through.

The other soreness is more general.  You worked your legs yesterday and today your arms and legs and everything else is screaming so badly you can't focus on getting dressed.  It is debilitating - you can't function normally.  You can't work through this.  You'll need to make adjustments.

After my illness I was much weaker and sicker than I appeared on the outside.  Even though I could do five push-ups, it was too much for my current level of fitness.  I had to scale back - wayyyyy back.  I could do one pushup, and be sore but functioning.  Or I could do five and bedrest for the next two days.   So I did just one per workout.

If you are experiencing that kind of debilitating soreness I am truly sorry.  It is awful. You might have people telling you this is normal, just work through it.  (And you're wondering how on Earth am I supposed to do that?  Maybe I am just a wuss...)

I suggest seeing your doc to rule out any issues, and then starting with about ten percent of what you think you could do - and adjust up or down for the next workout.  You will be able to work up to regular workouts with regular soreness pretty fast, but it will probably seem like a long time to you.

This is finally what I've been coming to terms with. When anything more than a brisk walk or a 20 minute yoga style workout can trigger the debilitating 'full-body flu like symptoms + puke inducing migraine' the next day, then I have to stick to the walk or just a few reps of something. Hell, sometimes just a walk will trigger illness the next day...something about how my hips get stiff triggers an attack. But you are right that you have to try to do it anyway, consistently, and eventually you do get stronger and can do more. My problem is being stupidly inconsistent and having to keep starting from zero. My own damn fault.
I am sad to hear you have similar problems.

Don't give up - but please don't be too hard on yourself either.  If someone got electroshock therapy or food poisoning after every damn time they worked out, well they'd probably start avoiding it.
Props to you for not giving up.
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: intirb on January 11, 2017, 04:05:03 PM
My advice, assuming you are medically cleared:

1)  Try a Couch to 5k (http://www.coolrunning.com/engine/2/2_3/181.shtml) program to build up cardiovascular endurance.  It starts out very easy, and you can build your way up to running 30 minutes straight.

2)  For strength, it sounds like you would be a good candidate for a simple bodyweight exercise program.  There is a subreddit for bodyweight fitness with a fantastic beginners routine, which you can also find with this app (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.bodyweight.fitness.free&hl=en):  or on this website (https://www.fitloop.co/).

Start slow, but be consistent.  If the pain you are feeling is muscle soreness, then ignore it and stick to the plan.  I would probably pick one of these two things to start out with, and then add the other after a few months. 
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: .22guy on January 11, 2017, 04:10:11 PM
I didn't read all the responses here, and I'm sure there is good advice here, but I recommend seeing a doctor.
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: wenchsenior on January 11, 2017, 04:23:06 PM
I'm not a doctor.  But I had a similar experience.  Once I was an amateur bodybuilder - and then I got an unrelated illness.  I've experienced two kind of soreness.

Normal soreness is the kind that hurts where you worked out, such as you did squats and now legs hurt.  It truly sucks, but you can still function.  Okay, maybe you puke a bit the next morning but you can still function.  This is something you can work through.

The other soreness is more general.  You worked your legs yesterday and today your arms and legs and everything else is screaming so badly you can't focus on getting dressed.  It is debilitating - you can't function normally.  You can't work through this.  You'll need to make adjustments.

After my illness I was much weaker and sicker than I appeared on the outside.  Even though I could do five push-ups, it was too much for my current level of fitness.  I had to scale back - wayyyyy back.  I could do one pushup, and be sore but functioning.  Or I could do five and bedrest for the next two days.   So I did just one per workout.

If you are experiencing that kind of debilitating soreness I am truly sorry.  It is awful. You might have people telling you this is normal, just work through it.  (And you're wondering how on Earth am I supposed to do that?  Maybe I am just a wuss...)

I suggest seeing your doc to rule out any issues, and then starting with about ten percent of what you think you could do - and adjust up or down for the next workout.  You will be able to work up to regular workouts with regular soreness pretty fast, but it will probably seem like a long time to you.

This is finally what I've been coming to terms with. When anything more than a brisk walk or a 20 minute yoga style workout can trigger the debilitating 'full-body flu like symptoms + puke inducing migraine' the next day, then I have to stick to the walk or just a few reps of something. Hell, sometimes just a walk will trigger illness the next day...something about how my hips get stiff triggers an attack. But you are right that you have to try to do it anyway, consistently, and eventually you do get stronger and can do more. My problem is being stupidly inconsistent and having to keep starting from zero. My own damn fault.
I am sad to hear you have similar problems.

Don't give up - but please don't be too hard on yourself either.  If someone got electroshock therapy or food poisoning after every damn time they worked out, well they'd probably start avoiding it.
Props to you for not giving up.

Thanks, I won't give up. I've been dealing with this in some form since I was about 13...so...almost 35 years of this cycle. What's the alternative, really...slightly less pain and getting progressively weaker? No thanks.

To the OP, Carlin...you are taking a more organized approach to this at a young enough age that you might be able to avoid the trap I fell into as I aged.  I've worked through the pain issue several times when I was younger (mostly by swimming or being constantly active) and been fit for stretches of several years and it definitely got easier to maintain, so I assume it will for you if you just stick with it (which has always been my problem).  If you are anything like me, the older you get the more challenging things will get if you lapse and the easier to get discouraged. If you set the habits now, and you won't be trying to always play catch up.

MsPeacock, you are inspiring!
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: wanderin1 on January 11, 2017, 05:56:02 PM
Two more important things to help ward off DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness)

Spend significant time stretching just after your workout—you’ll reduce the lactic acid buildup, which causes soreness

Eat (at least) a small meal of protein and carbs within 30 minutes of your workout—these are ideal nutrients and timing for repairing the microscopic muscle tears that cause muscles to build
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: Tris Prior on January 12, 2017, 08:20:32 AM
I've started doing the Yoga with Adriene videos that are free on Youtube. She has some super-baby-beginner videos that, while they are still a struggle for my stiff, creaky, out of shape ass, I can at least make it through with minimal pain. So I'm starting there.

(I mean, geez, I can barely even do a downward dog any more without my arms immediately shaking.)
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: prognastat on January 12, 2017, 08:33:53 AM
Something not so much to getting in shape but to me feels great after a workout is a sauna or if not available a hot shower.
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: catccc on January 12, 2017, 08:58:14 AM
I've started doing the Yoga with Adriene videos that are free on Youtube. She has some super-baby-beginner videos that, while they are still a struggle for my stiff, creaky, out of shape ass, I can at least make it through with minimal pain. So I'm starting there.

(I mean, geez, I can barely even do a downward dog any more without my arms immediately shaking.)

yoga with adriene is a great channel!
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: NeonPegasus on January 12, 2017, 09:11:09 AM
I already posted this question on a "Continuing the Discussion Thread" about the most recent MMM post, but I thought maybe I could put it on its own thread:

I am a 23 year old female, 128 lbs, and 5 feet 5 inches tall; so not overweight by any means, but definitely not impressive.  I had back surgery in my early teen years and wasn't allowed to do much physical activity, so I am very "skinny fat."  I lack any sort of muscle tone or physical endurance.  I keep attempting to exercise, and was particularly inspired by this MMM post, but I find it incredibly difficult to even get started because I have so little to work with. 
I can only do roughly 10 "girl" pushups, 20 squats or so, maybe a 20 second plank, and a few dozen reverse situps (no regular crunches, because my spine has a metal rod drilled into it).  I can run maybe a quarter of a mile before I get intense side pain.  I do truly enjoy biking, but Indiana is very flat and I get no challenge from it.  Every time I do a few sets of a muscle building exercise, I find myself in intense pain the next day and unable to do any more of the same exercises.  By the time the pain subsides, I have lost any progress.  I feel like I am spinning my wheels.
My question is, what are some things I can do to truly build up muscle and endurance without setting myself back?  I feel so frustrated.  I know I don't eat enough calories, but I am truly never hungry enough to eat more than one meal or so per day, and when I do eat more I immediately gain fat- not muscle.  Please help, I really am trying to work hard here.  I've been far too coddled and I want a more badass and functional body!

I usually drink many cups of coffee or green tea through the day, a snack of fruit, carrots, or cherry tomatoes for lunch (occasionally wheat thins with cheese on them, or a cup of homemade soup or rice n beans if i'm really hungry), and dinner is generally a typical balanced healthy dinner.  I will often replace a meal with a spinach/fruit smoothie too.  We do a lot of vegetarian dishes, whole wheat pasta with veggies, chicken stir fry, chicken and veggies...etc.  We have a nice big comfort meal once a week or so, and eat out every couple weeks.  We're not perfect, but we do eat pretty healthy.  I also drink a lot of water.  I am always- I repeat, always- thirsty.

If you are serious about making progress, you are going to need to take definitive steps to do this correctly and track your progress. I urge you to take this seriously because what you do today will make a significant different in your quality of life as you age. You have a big strike against you with the rod in your back and you need to work on increasing your muscle strength and endurance to keep it from majorly impacting it in the future. My mother in law had a rod in her back and as she aged, she became more and more limited in what she could do.

You need to do this right. This means being methodical, establishing a plan, and recording progress.

1. See a doctor for a check up to ensure you're in good health and don't have diabetes like the nurse above said. Do not move on until you've done this.

2. Find an expert who can help you establish a plan, taking into account the rod in your back. This person should have specific training and experience in helping people with rods in their backs. It should not be some gym trainer who took a 6 week course and now thinks they know all the things. This person should give you specific exercises to build strength, teach you how to do them, explain specifically how often to do it and how many reps and how many sets, etc.

3. Use an app or even a notebook to track your progress. If you forget how much weight or how many reps you did on each exercise, it will be easy to not push yourself to lift heavier.

4. EAT MORE. Your current caloric intake is way too low. Assuming your body fat is around 26%, you'd need 1430 calories to maintain weight. If it's more like 30%, you'd need 1375/day. 800 calories a day would be over a 40% deficit, at which point you're wrecking your metabolism and your body is eating muscle for sustenance. You will never build muscle if you don't (a) eat more and (b) eat a higher percentage of protein and fat. If you are right that eating 1430 calories/day will make you gain weight, you will need to accept that as a short term issue. You can diet down later but you need to build your muscle first.

For nutrition and exercise information, I have really enjoyed the info in Thinner, Leaner, Stronger. https://www.amazon.com/Thinner-Leaner-Stronger-Building-Ultimate-ebook/dp/B0098PYV7Q/ref=mt_kindle?_encoding=UTF8&me= You get a great exercise plan when you order the book but, again, you need an expert to help you craft your plan so you can take into account your limitations.
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: Carlin on January 12, 2017, 12:50:31 PM
I already posted this question on a "Continuing the Discussion Thread" about the most recent MMM post, but I thought maybe I could put it on its own thread:

I am a 23 year old female, 128 lbs, and 5 feet 5 inches tall; so not overweight by any means, but definitely not impressive.  I had back surgery in my early teen years and wasn't allowed to do much physical activity, so I am very "skinny fat."  I lack any sort of muscle tone or physical endurance.  I keep attempting to exercise, and was particularly inspired by this MMM post, but I find it incredibly difficult to even get started because I have so little to work with. 
I can only do roughly 10 "girl" pushups, 20 squats or so, maybe a 20 second plank, and a few dozen reverse situps (no regular crunches, because my spine has a metal rod drilled into it).  I can run maybe a quarter of a mile before I get intense side pain.  I do truly enjoy biking, but Indiana is very flat and I get no challenge from it.  Every time I do a few sets of a muscle building exercise, I find myself in intense pain the next day and unable to do any more of the same exercises.  By the time the pain subsides, I have lost any progress.  I feel like I am spinning my wheels.
My question is, what are some things I can do to truly build up muscle and endurance without setting myself back?  I feel so frustrated.  I know I don't eat enough calories, but I am truly never hungry enough to eat more than one meal or so per day, and when I do eat more I immediately gain fat- not muscle.  Please help, I really am trying to work hard here.  I've been far too coddled and I want a more badass and functional body!

I usually drink many cups of coffee or green tea through the day, a snack of fruit, carrots, or cherry tomatoes for lunch (occasionally wheat thins with cheese on them, or a cup of homemade soup or rice n beans if i'm really hungry), and dinner is generally a typical balanced healthy dinner.  I will often replace a meal with a spinach/fruit smoothie too.  We do a lot of vegetarian dishes, whole wheat pasta with veggies, chicken stir fry, chicken and veggies...etc.  We have a nice big comfort meal once a week or so, and eat out every couple weeks.  We're not perfect, but we do eat pretty healthy.  I also drink a lot of water.  I am always- I repeat, always- thirsty.

If you are serious about making progress, you are going to need to take definitive steps to do this correctly and track your progress. I urge you to take this seriously because what you do today will make a significant different in your quality of life as you age. You have a big strike against you with the rod in your back and you need to work on increasing your muscle strength and endurance to keep it from majorly impacting it in the future. My mother in law had a rod in her back and as she aged, she became more and more limited in what she could do.

You need to do this right. This means being methodical, establishing a plan, and recording progress.

1. See a doctor for a check up to ensure you're in good health and don't have diabetes like the nurse above said. Do not move on until you've done this.

2. Find an expert who can help you establish a plan, taking into account the rod in your back. This person should have specific training and experience in helping people with rods in their backs. It should not be some gym trainer who took a 6 week course and now thinks they know all the things. This person should give you specific exercises to build strength, teach you how to do them, explain specifically how often to do it and how many reps and how many sets, etc.

3. Use an app or even a notebook to track your progress. If you forget how much weight or how many reps you did on each exercise, it will be easy to not push yourself to lift heavier.

4. EAT MORE. Your current caloric intake is way too low. Assuming your body fat is around 26%, you'd need 1430 calories to maintain weight. If it's more like 30%, you'd need 1375/day. 800 calories a day would be over a 40% deficit, at which point you're wrecking your metabolism and your body is eating muscle for sustenance. You will never build muscle if you don't (a) eat more and (b) eat a higher percentage of protein and fat. If you are right that eating 1430 calories/day will make you gain weight, you will need to accept that as a short term issue. You can diet down later but you need to build your muscle first.

For nutrition and exercise information, I have really enjoyed the info in Thinner, Leaner, Stronger. https://www.amazon.com/Thinner-Leaner-Stronger-Building-Ultimate-ebook/dp/B0098PYV7Q/ref=mt_kindle?_encoding=UTF8&me= You get a great exercise plan when you order the book but, again, you need an expert to help you craft your plan so you can take into account your limitations.

Thank you, this was very detailed and helpful.  The diabetes thing scares me, but I did have a checkup last year and was given a clean bill of health.  Maybe I should go get checked out again.  I will work on eating more....getting over the psychological aspect will be the hardest part.  I get really psyched out by eating a lot.  I really want to get in shape though, so I will do my best to get help and progress from here! Today I actually managed to eek out 17 "girl" pushups, so that's some sort of progress!
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: Carlin on January 12, 2017, 12:51:06 PM
I've started doing the Yoga with Adriene videos that are free on Youtube. She has some super-baby-beginner videos that, while they are still a struggle for my stiff, creaky, out of shape ass, I can at least make it through with minimal pain. So I'm starting there.

(I mean, geez, I can barely even do a downward dog any more without my arms immediately shaking.)

yoga with adriene is a great channel!

I have actually used this channel! I love yoga, and I need to be more consistent about practicing it.  Thanks for the tip!
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: Carlin on January 12, 2017, 12:53:58 PM
I want to thank everyone for their advice so far! From what I gather, my first steps are to see a doctor (Our health insurance from DH's new job kicks in in February, so I'll have to wait until then), learn to work through the pain, and begin to work on eating smarter and eating more.  I really liked the suggestion about seeing a specialized trainer, but I'm unfortunately not sure that's in the budget.  I would like to build the muscles around the rods, because I don't they're under worked simply because my spine doesn't require any support.  I think building them up would reduce some of my pain.
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: SimpleCycle on January 12, 2017, 01:20:54 PM
Thank you, this was very detailed and helpful.  The diabetes thing scares me, but I did have a checkup last year and was given a clean bill of health.  Maybe I should go get checked out again.  I will work on eating more....getting over the psychological aspect will be the hardest part.  I get really psyched out by eating a lot. I really want to get in shape though, so I will do my best to get help and progress from here! Today I actually managed to eek out 17 "girl" pushups, so that's some sort of progress!

I will say, this statement and your description of your eating habits concerns me.  I think I would table the "getting in shape" issue for a bit and work on your eating habits for general health and happiness.  You are eating WAY too little to maintain good health.  Several online calculators tell me you need 1500-1600 calories a day to maintain your weight, and you will need more as you add activity to your routine.

I would definitely talk to your doctor about your eating habits and your difficulty eating more.  Your doc can likely refer you to a nutritionist who can help you come up with a plan, and the nutritionist will likely be covered by your health insurance.  Even with a low appetite, there is a lot you can do to boost calories and nutrients.  I worked with a nutritionist earlier this year and I was surprised by how helpful it was, even as someone who knows a lot about food and nutrition.

I think everyone has given good advice about building strength and endurance.  Good for you for watching out for your health and fitness!
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: Bracken_Joy on January 12, 2017, 01:26:29 PM
Carlin, unfortunately, you are exactly the type of patient who can fall through the gaps on chronic health concerns. You aren't old and obese, so for now, you appear quite healthy by comparison. Your term "skinny fat" is right on, and is the most under-diagnosed group for diabetes. There are lots of other potential health explanations to (ex, being a woman in her early 20s, you're also prime time for the onset of a lot of autoimmune conditions). Either way, it's worth bringing these specific complaints to a doctor. Drinking a lot, leg pain, low appetite, and extreme/ongoing soreness in particular. Those are fairly distinct symptoms. Like I said, it could be absolutely nothing, but I still think it's a good idea to get checked out. A general physical is such a quick thing that unless you "look the type" for a disease (ie, obese/older/minority) and unless you have specific symptom complaints, it's pretty easy to miss things.

Wishing you the best! You action plan looks awesome. =) You've gotten great advice here.
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: wenchsenior on January 12, 2017, 01:46:24 PM
Carlin, unfortunately, you are exactly the type of patient who can fall through the gaps on chronic health concerns. You aren't old and obese, so for now, you appear quite healthy by comparison. Your term "skinny fat" is right on, and is the most under-diagnosed group for diabetes. There are lots of other potential health explanations to (ex, being a woman in her early 20s, you're also prime time for the onset of a lot of autoimmune conditions). Either way, it's worth bringing these specific complaints to a doctor. Drinking a lot, leg pain, low appetite, and extreme/ongoing soreness in particular. Those are fairly distinct symptoms. Like I said, it could be absolutely nothing, but I still think it's a good idea to get checked out. A general physical is such a quick thing that unless you "look the type" for a disease (ie, obese/older/minority) and unless you have specific symptom complaints, it's pretty easy to miss things.

Wishing you the best! You action plan looks awesome. =) You've gotten great advice here.

I actually think there are a lot of health problems that go undiagnosed in young women. I'm not sure why symptoms aren't taken seriously, but it is incredibly frustrating. It's like, "oh, young women are overdramatic" or some similar attitude.  It took almost 15 years of (in hindsight) incredibly obvious symptoms for my endocrine disorder to be diagnosed, and it only happened because I went to one doctor finally and demanded very specific tests after doing a bunch of research on my own. Not one doctor (and I'd seen half a dozen) had ever suggested any follow up tests or offered any suggestions of possible diagnoses. You really have to learn to advocate hard, or they will blow you off.

I've been back on this merry go round again for the past 5 years. Now it seems to be "oh, you must be in menopause" or similar attitude. Finally they start doing tests, and are shocked at some of the weird results. Still no idea what is causing my issues, but at least weird tests force them to pay attention and make some sort of attempt to figure it out. So tiresome.
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: galliver on January 12, 2017, 02:17:32 PM
Not skinny-fat* (rather, the regular kind :( ) but an irregular exerciser so I've been through those first-week pains many a time (ohh, fun). In fact, doing it again this week :/ . Here are my tips from those experiences, assuming you're healthy and this is just regular exercise pain (I would add my vote to the "see a doctor to make sure you're ok" camp, too)...

1) I tend to start too fast. A lot of people apparently do. I'm fighting myself on it this time around. I'm trying to get into a weight-training routine but I started really, really simply/easily (for me...what is well within your limits will of course vary!)...5x30s planks and some squats on Monday, 5x30s+1x50s planks, BW lunges, and jumping jacks yesterday. I can do more, and in fact need to do more to work to exhaustion...but my abs were already sore Tues night (and into Weds) just from that. Unlike when I overdo it at the start: manageably sore so I could move around and stuff.
2) The soreness does get better. At one point I took this group class and after it ended worked with a trainer on a regular basis which got me doing more strength training exercises; eventually I needed to work to where my limbs were shaking to feel even a twinge of soreness the next day. Your body does adapt and you will get there, but it's ok to start just getting them used to *working*.
3) Using the muscles a little when they are sore helps with the soreness. Walking, or doing some body twists or arm circles (just using those muscles, warming them up, stretching them) makes you less stiff and sore.
4) How's your sleep? I find when I work out properly I need an hour more (8-9 hrs instead of 7-8, I already need lots of sleeps). Also helps with the pain.
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: MMHubb on January 12, 2017, 02:42:28 PM
Hey there!
Good for you for wanting to make a change! My advice...don't be afraid/ashamed for all the baby steps! If 10 girl push ups are hard, then start there. Build yourself up so that 10 girl push ups are easy. Do 2 push ups, take a 1 minute break, then repeat that 5x. Do this daily, then maybe up it to three push ups in one shot, then 5 and so on. Same goes with squats and running. Don't be worried that the reps or distance isn't good enough. Make your workouts easy so you are not in so much pain the next day, but be CONSISTENT!
You got this! Don't give up on yourself and keep trying!
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: Carlin on January 12, 2017, 03:06:56 PM
Hey there!
Good for you for wanting to make a change! My advice...don't be afraid/ashamed for all the baby steps! If 10 girl push ups are hard, then start there. Build yourself up so that 10 girl push ups are easy. Do 2 push ups, take a 1 minute break, then repeat that 5x. Do this daily, then maybe up it to three push ups in one shot, then 5 and so on. Same goes with squats and running. Don't be worried that the reps or distance isn't good enough. Make your workouts easy so you are not in so much pain the next day, but be CONSISTENT!
You got this! Don't give up on yourself and keep trying!

Thank you so much for the inspiration! I think this is a good way to go.  Some of the previous comments have me afraid that there is something wrong with me, but I feel great! I'm just....weak.  Not in a tired or ill way...just in the sense that my body isn't strong.  I think I will spend some time working on baby steps, and improving my diet and see how I progress from there.  I turned my finances around on $10/hr.  I can do this!
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: Laura33 on January 12, 2017, 04:04:06 PM
Carlin, unfortunately, you are exactly the type of patient who can fall through the gaps on chronic health concerns. You aren't old and obese, so for now, you appear quite healthy by comparison. Your term "skinny fat" is right on, and is the most under-diagnosed group for diabetes. There are lots of other potential health explanations to (ex, being a woman in her early 20s, you're also prime time for the onset of a lot of autoimmune conditions). Either way, it's worth bringing these specific complaints to a doctor. Drinking a lot, leg pain, low appetite, and extreme/ongoing soreness in particular. Those are fairly distinct symptoms. Like I said, it could be absolutely nothing, but I still think it's a good idea to get checked out. A general physical is such a quick thing that unless you "look the type" for a disease (ie, obese/older/minority) and unless you have specific symptom complaints, it's pretty easy to miss things.

Wishing you the best! You action plan looks awesome. =) You've gotten great advice here.

I actually think there are a lot of health problems that go undiagnosed in young women. I'm not sure why symptoms aren't taken seriously, but it is incredibly frustrating. It's like, "oh, young women are overdramatic" or some similar attitude.  It took almost 15 years of (in hindsight) incredibly obvious symptoms for my endocrine disorder to be diagnosed, and it only happened because I went to one doctor finally and demanded very specific tests after doing a bunch of research on my own. Not one doctor (and I'd seen half a dozen) had ever suggested any follow up tests or offered any suggestions of possible diagnoses. You really have to learn to advocate hard, or they will blow you off.

I've been back on this merry go round again for the past 5 years. Now it seems to be "oh, you must be in menopause" or similar attitude. Finally they start doing tests, and are shocked at some of the weird results. Still no idea what is causing my issues, but at least weird tests force them to pay attention and make some sort of attempt to figure it out. So tiresome.

Preach.  I complained for a decade of exhaustion, weight gain, mental fuzziness (to the point I was worried about early Alzheimer's), and all I got was "you need to eat better and exercise  more."  It wasn't until my ob/gyn ordered bloodwork after my second miscarriage that they discovered my thyroid was massively off.  Gee, umm, sorry, here's that decade of your life back.  I'm still salty about that one.

So, Carlin, don't let them brush you off -- get a full workup, including the full slate of bloodwork.  No one is going to look out for your health more than you will.  Also, FWIW, I found my chiropractor had a great set of exercises to rehab/strengthen back muscles -- I think many of their patients come as a result of car accidents and the like, so it is probably worth a visit or two for back-specific exercises and stretches.
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: wenchsenior on January 12, 2017, 04:44:40 PM
Hey there!
Good for you for wanting to make a change! My advice...don't be afraid/ashamed for all the baby steps! If 10 girl push ups are hard, then start there. Build yourself up so that 10 girl push ups are easy. Do 2 push ups, take a 1 minute break, then repeat that 5x. Do this daily, then maybe up it to three push ups in one shot, then 5 and so on. Same goes with squats and running. Don't be worried that the reps or distance isn't good enough. Make your workouts easy so you are not in so much pain the next day, but be CONSISTENT!
You got this! Don't give up on yourself and keep trying!

Thank you so much for the inspiration! I think this is a good way to go.  Some of the previous comments have me afraid that there is something wrong with me, but I feel great! I'm just....weak.  Not in a tired or ill way...just in the sense that my body isn't strong.  I think I will spend some time working on baby steps, and improving my diet and see how I progress from there.  I turned my finances around on $10/hr.  I can do this!

You CAN.
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: MsPeacock on January 12, 2017, 07:50:42 PM
Carlin, unfortunately, you are exactly the type of patient who can fall through the gaps on chronic health concerns. You aren't old and obese, so for now, you appear quite healthy by comparison. Your term "skinny fat" is right on, and is the most under-diagnosed group for diabetes. There are lots of other potential health explanations to (ex, being a woman in her early 20s, you're also prime time for the onset of a lot of autoimmune conditions). Either way, it's worth bringing these specific complaints to a doctor. Drinking a lot, leg pain, low appetite, and extreme/ongoing soreness in particular. Those are fairly distinct symptoms. Like I said, it could be absolutely nothing, but I still think it's a good idea to get checked out. A general physical is such a quick thing that unless you "look the type" for a disease (ie, obese/older/minority) and unless you have specific symptom complaints, it's pretty easy to miss things.

Wishing you the best! You action plan looks awesome. =) You've gotten great advice here.

I actually think there are a lot of health problems that go undiagnosed in young women. I'm not sure why symptoms aren't taken seriously, but it is incredibly frustrating. It's like, "oh, young women are overdramatic" or some similar attitude.  It took almost 15 years of (in hindsight) incredibly obvious symptoms for my endocrine disorder to be diagnosed, and it only happened because I went to one doctor finally and demanded very specific tests after doing a bunch of research on my own. Not one doctor (and I'd seen half a dozen) had ever suggested any follow up tests or offered any suggestions of possible diagnoses. You really have to learn to advocate hard, or they will blow you off.

I've been back on this merry go round again for the past 5 years. Now it seems to be "oh, you must be in menopause" or similar attitude. Finally they start doing tests, and are shocked at some of the weird results. Still no idea what is causing my issues, but at least weird tests force them to pay attention and make some sort of attempt to figure it out. So tiresome.

Preach.  I complained for a decade of exhaustion, weight gain, mental fuzziness (to the point I was worried about early Alzheimer's), and all I got was "you need to eat better and exercise  more."  It wasn't until my ob/gyn ordered bloodwork after my second miscarriage that they discovered my thyroid was massively off.  Gee, umm, sorry, here's that decade of your life back.  I'm still salty about that one.

So, Carlin, don't let them brush you off -- get a full workup, including the full slate of bloodwork.  No one is going to look out for your health more than you will.  Also, FWIW, I found my chiropractor had a great set of exercises to rehab/strengthen back muscles -- I think many of their patients come as a result of car accidents and the like, so it is probably worth a visit or two for back-specific exercises and stretches.

Another yup on this one, although it may not be the case for this OP. I had increasing joint pain for many years and it was basically blown off as "you're getting old" (I was 33 when first told this) or "you're too sensitive". And multiple incorrect diagnoses based on incomplete evaluations. Turned out to be a chronic hard to diagnosis rheumatoid condition that usually effects much older and sicker people (i am otherwise very healthy). My rheumatologist is a miracle worker. Mostly pain free now and able to do triathalons when at one time I could barely walk the dog around the block and thought it was because I was "old" at 45.
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: Lucky Recardito on January 14, 2017, 07:44:10 AM
... can we please not say "girl pushups?" As a woman for whom many pushups (on toes) are a regular part of my workout routine, and who is married to a man who can eke out maybe 5 on his knees before he starts whining, this is one of my personal pet peeves. :-)

Also, both kinds of push-ups are really, really good for you -- toes includes more muscles and gives more resistance, but on knees is an AWESOME exercise.

OP, I'm going to throw in what worked for me: packaged, planned video series aimed at strength-building. I started with Power 90, which is now so old that (a) it is HILARIOUS to watch, and (b) you can find it for super-cheap on Amazon or eBay. What I liked about it is that it gave me a couple of structured workouts (including stuff focused on muscle-building, which was totally new to me) and a calendar to follow. I am a box-checker naturally, so I liked having a program that said, "you will do THIS on this day and then THAT on the next day." And all you need is a resistance band (which may come with the DVD set, or you can get one for a few bucks) and like 5 square feet in front of your TV (I did this in a tiny apartment by putting my coffee table on the couch every morning).

After that, I worked up to P90X, which totally changed my body and my strength -- and now I rotate through a bunch of the Beach Body* programs on the regular.

You WILL be sore, and as others have said, you just have to work through it. I still vividly remember my first really hard workout: I felt fine that day, and the following morning got on a plane for a business trip. I knew there was trouble when I couldn't put my carry-on in the overhead compartment because I couldn't lift my suitcase above my head.... 15 hours later I hit a new low when I woke up alone in the middle of a hotel king-sized bed and couldn't get out to go to the bathroom, because I could neither sit up nor roll over... by day 2, I was an embarrassing disaster in front of my client, unable to go down stairs or get into or out of a chair. As others have said, it goes away faster if you actually keep working out (rather than waiting for the pain to subside). And after ~2 weeks of regular exercise, it won't be an issue anymore. Sure, I can make myself sore sometimes... but not to that level. And the story of debilitating myself with a few squats still kills at parties. :-)

And on the diet front... I'm not too far off from your basic size: 5'4" 135 lb, mostly size 2-ish... and I easily eat twice as much as you every day (and my weight and size have been pretty stable for ~3 years). As others have said, look for ways to add calories in the form of protein and fat. Start by adding a protein-based breakfast to your day, even if it's  just a lil' cup of yogurt or a single hard-boiled egg (I find the latter particularly easy to eat on the way to work or when I get to my desk). Pack a baggie of nuts and keep it at your desk; snack throughout the day. Just by adding an egg & some nuts, you've added a couple hundred really high-quality calories to your diet without throwing off your work routine or eating a big messy feast at your desk. 

Good luck -- getting strong is really, really rewarding and fun!

*NB: I hate the name of this company, because I believe that if you have a body and go to the beach, you have a beach body... and they are structured as an MLM and also sell a lot of supplements, which isn't my jam. But I find the workouts GREAT, and you can usually find the video series on ebay or Amazon for a reasonable price.
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: Malum Prohibitum on January 14, 2017, 08:14:52 AM
Hey there!
Good for you for wanting to make a change! My advice...don't be afraid/ashamed for all the baby steps! If 10 girl push ups are hard, then start there. Build yourself up so that 10 girl push ups are easy. Do 2 push ups, take a 1 minute break, then repeat that 5x. Do this daily, then maybe up it to three push ups in one shot, then 5 and so on. Same goes with squats and running. Don't be worried that the reps or distance isn't good enough. Make your workouts easy so you are not in so much pain the next day, but be CONSISTENT!
You got this! Don't give up on yourself and keep trying!

Thank you so much for the inspiration! I think this is a good way to go.  Some of the previous comments have me afraid that there is something wrong with me, but I feel great! I'm just....weak.  Not in a tired or ill way...just in the sense that my body isn't strong.  I think I will spend some time working on baby steps, and improving my diet and see how I progress from there.  I turned my finances around on $10/hr.  I can do this!

So are you doing it?
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: The Happy Philosopher on January 14, 2017, 10:27:31 AM
I've done a lot of experimentation with diet and exercise. Everyone is different, but I will share a few things that worked for me.

First: As Bracken_Joy and maybe others have pointed out, go get some labs and a check up from your doctor. The excessive thirst thing may be nothing, but it may be something.

Second: Having a spinal fusion will limit you. I'm assuming this was for scoliosis correction. Be careful and go slow with things that involve spinal motion. It is really important you build up the core muscles.

OK, with that out of the way I would experiment with your diet. I feel best with lower carbs and higher fats, but if your body is not used to this you will bonk while working out and feel like crap. There is nothing wrong with eating one meal a day, in fact intermittent fasting can have some cool benefits. Try eating a small breakfast with a decent amount of protein and see how this makes you feel.

On the exercise front:
1. Vigorous walking is awesome. Running is good too, but may not be your thing. If you are having 'side pain' with running make sure it is not your spine. If I had a big spinal fusion I  would probably not do much running, especially if it caused pain. Someone mentioned swimming - awesome idea! Swimming is excellent for core strength, balancing the shoulder and working all sorts of scapular stabilizers and arm muscles yo never knew you had.

2. Grease the groove. I think I heard this term from Pavel Tsatsouline on a Tim Ferris podcast. Basically do low reps multiple times per day. In other words if you can only do 10 pushups, don't do 10 pushups once a day and destroy yourself. You will feel terrible the next day. Instead do 3-5, but do it multiple times per day. I can not do 70 pushups in a row. If I tried this I would be unable to lift a spoon the next day. But I can do 10 sets of 10 in a day and feel totally fine. I would even be able to do it again the next day. You will see great progression using this concept. I can easily knock out 100 high quality pushups a day this way, and I started from barely being able to do 10.

3. Rest. It's not the exercise that makes you stronger, it is the recovery. If you are really sore the next day do not work those muscle groups again. They need to recover. If you are really sore you are doing too much and trying to progress too fast. Sometimes I just take a week off and do noting and I'm always amazed at how much stronger I am after that week of rest.

4. Basics. Many people (and a lot of women) focus on exercises that will not accomplish what they want. If you want to get strong and burn fat you need to build muscle. Muscle uses energy and calories. You build muscle by lifting heavy things. Dead-lifts and squats. Heavy. Low reps. Not to failure. Once you build muscle you will eat more. If you keep carbs low and fat high your body will change.

5. Kettle bell. I  do not have Olympic weights (yes, I should correct this problem), but the next best thing is a couple kettle bells. The two handed kettle bell swing is one of the best complete exercises for building strength in multiple muscle groups. When I was doing these three times per week to near failure I saw some of the biggest strength gains of my life in a short period of time. Grease the groove works well with these also. I would be really hesitant to do these without proper supervision and medical guidance with your surgery. Properly done they should be fine, but there is a bit of a learning curve.

6. Patience. You must have it. Think in terms of 6 month changes. You will overestimate what you can do in two weeks, nut underestimate what you can do in 6 months.

This is getting way too wordy, I should just write a damn blog post. Good luck. Keep us informed on your progress :)
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: mountains_o_mustaches on January 14, 2017, 11:24:15 AM
Lots of good advice.  One thing you might look into w/ your doc is whether or not you would qualify for physical or recreational therapy (given back problems) - that way you'd be getting some personalized workout advice from someone trained to help people increase strength w/o re-injury and it would (potentially) be covered by our health insurance.  Often times those things need to get pre-approval, but your doc might be able to justify for you.  Good luck!
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: mountains_o_mustaches on January 14, 2017, 12:39:06 PM
My advice, assuming you are medically cleared:

1)  Try a Couch to 5k (http://www.coolrunning.com/engine/2/2_3/181.shtml) program to build up cardiovascular endurance.  It starts out very easy, and you can build your way up to running 30 minutes straight.

2)  For strength, it sounds like you would be a good candidate for a simple bodyweight exercise program.  There is a subreddit for bodyweight fitness with a fantastic beginners routine, which you can also find with this app (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.bodyweight.fitness.free&hl=en):  or on this website (https://www.fitloop.co/).

Loving the body weight app / website recommendation - just signed up.  Great tips! :)
Start slow, but be consistent.  If the pain you are feeling is muscle soreness, then ignore it and stick to the plan.  I would probably pick one of these two things to start out with, and then add the other after a few months.
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: Carlin on January 14, 2017, 01:54:46 PM
Hey there!
Good for you for wanting to make a change! My advice...don't be afraid/ashamed for all the baby steps! If 10 girl push ups are hard, then start there. Build yourself up so that 10 girl push ups are easy. Do 2 push ups, take a 1 minute break, then repeat that 5x. Do this daily, then maybe up it to three push ups in one shot, then 5 and so on. Same goes with squats and running. Don't be worried that the reps or distance isn't good enough. Make your workouts easy so you are not in so much pain the next day, but be CONSISTENT!
You got this! Don't give up on yourself and keep trying!

Thank you so much for the inspiration! I think this is a good way to go.  Some of the previous comments have me afraid that there is something wrong with me, but I feel great! I'm just....weak.  Not in a tired or ill way...just in the sense that my body isn't strong.  I think I will spend some time working on baby steps, and improving my diet and see how I progress from there.  I turned my finances around on $10/hr.  I can do this!

So are you doing it?

Well, it's only been roughly a week since I originally posted, but I have made some changes and progress! I've started adding protein powder to my smoothie and forcing myself to drink it every morning, as well as making sure I get some protein in at lunchtime.  I've been working out roughly 30 minutes per day, and I've seen the number of half-pushups I can do increase, as well as my general endurance.  No physical changes to my weight or muscle mass yet though.  I did kind of mess up and have a bunch of beers and chicken wings with friends the other night, so my weight dipped and went back up again. 
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: Carlin on January 14, 2017, 01:55:57 PM
... can we please not say "girl pushups?" As a woman for whom many pushups (on toes) are a regular part of my workout routine, and who is married to a man who can eke out maybe 5 on his knees before he starts whining, this is one of my personal pet peeves. :-)

Also, both kinds of push-ups are really, really good for you -- toes includes more muscles and gives more resistance, but on knees is an AWESOME exercise.

OP, I'm going to throw in what worked for me: packaged, planned video series aimed at strength-building. I started with Power 90, which is now so old that (a) it is HILARIOUS to watch, and (b) you can find it for super-cheap on Amazon or eBay. What I liked about it is that it gave me a couple of structured workouts (including stuff focused on muscle-building, which was totally new to me) and a calendar to follow. I am a box-checker naturally, so I liked having a program that said, "you will do THIS on this day and then THAT on the next day." And all you need is a resistance band (which may come with the DVD set, or you can get one for a few bucks) and like 5 square feet in front of your TV (I did this in a tiny apartment by putting my coffee table on the couch every morning).

After that, I worked up to P90X, which totally changed my body and my strength -- and now I rotate through a bunch of the Beach Body* programs on the regular.

You WILL be sore, and as others have said, you just have to work through it. I still vividly remember my first really hard workout: I felt fine that day, and the following morning got on a plane for a business trip. I knew there was trouble when I couldn't put my carry-on in the overhead compartment because I couldn't lift my suitcase above my head.... 15 hours later I hit a new low when I woke up alone in the middle of a hotel king-sized bed and couldn't get out to go to the bathroom, because I could neither sit up nor roll over... by day 2, I was an embarrassing disaster in front of my client, unable to go down stairs or get into or out of a chair. As others have said, it goes away faster if you actually keep working out (rather than waiting for the pain to subside). And after ~2 weeks of regular exercise, it won't be an issue anymore. Sure, I can make myself sore sometimes... but not to that level. And the story of debilitating myself with a few squats still kills at parties. :-)

And on the diet front... I'm not too far off from your basic size: 5'4" 135 lb, mostly size 2-ish... and I easily eat twice as much as you every day (and my weight and size have been pretty stable for ~3 years). As others have said, look for ways to add calories in the form of protein and fat. Start by adding a protein-based breakfast to your day, even if it's  just a lil' cup of yogurt or a single hard-boiled egg (I find the latter particularly easy to eat on the way to work or when I get to my desk). Pack a baggie of nuts and keep it at your desk; snack throughout the day. Just by adding an egg & some nuts, you've added a couple hundred really high-quality calories to your diet without throwing off your work routine or eating a big messy feast at your desk. 

Good luck -- getting strong is really, really rewarding and fun!

*NB: I hate the name of this company, because I believe that if you have a body and go to the beach, you have a beach body... and they are structured as an MLM and also sell a lot of supplements, which isn't my jam. But I find the workouts GREAT, and you can usually find the video series on ebay or Amazon for a reasonable price.

Duly noted :) I shall call them "Half-pushups" from here on out. 
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: NeonPegasus on January 14, 2017, 02:36:06 PM
No physical changes to my weight or muscle mass yet though. 

As a newbie, you can expect to put on around 1 lb of muscle a month. You will start noticing a visible change in about 6 weeks of consistent work.

I did kind of mess up and have a bunch of beers and chicken wings with friends the other night, so my weight dipped and went back up again.

Story of my life. At least you know it's all water weight.
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: wenchsenior on January 14, 2017, 02:51:42 PM
No physical changes to my weight or muscle mass yet though. 

As a newbie, you can expect to put on around 1 lb of muscle a month. You will start noticing a visible change in about 6 weeks of consistent work.

I did kind of mess up and have a bunch of beers and chicken wings with friends the other night, so my weight dipped and went back up again.

Story of my life. At least you know it's all water weight.

Heh. I actually read that (wrongly) as Carlin LOSING weight after a junk food binge. Which occasionally happens to me, weirdly. It's like I have backward metabolism.
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: Malum Prohibitum on January 14, 2017, 04:15:09 PM
I've started adding protein powder to my smoothie and forcing myself to drink it every morning, as well as making sure I get some protein in at lunchtime.  . . .  I did kind of mess up and have a bunch of beers and chicken wings with friends the other night, so my weight dipped and went back up again.
  I am just going to be blunt and say that the chicken wings and beer was better for you than the smoothie.
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: Malum Prohibitum on January 14, 2017, 04:19:23 PM
http://paleoleap.com/smoothies-breakfast-yes/

Quote
As an illustration, let’s start with a hypothetical cranberry-orange smoothie made out of “healthy” ingredients (no added sugar! All natural!). We’ll toss in ½ a banana, 1 clementine, a handful of cranberries, and 1 date, plus the ice and some seasonings. It sounds like something you might buy in a fancy health-food store, but this smoothie isn’t actually as “healthy” as it claims to be: here’s why, and how to fix it.

Problem #1: Protein and Fat
The first problem with our “healthy” smoothie is the macronutrient composition. Macronutrients are nutrients that we need in quantities large enough to measure in calories. The three macronutrients are protein, carbs, and fat. All three have different metabolic effects (that’s one reason why just calorie-counting isn’t a good idea, because it treats all calories as equal even though calories from different macronutrients have very different physical effects).
If you’re eating Paleo, a “meal” must include protein and fat. If it doesn’t have both protein and fat, it’s not a meal. But if you look at our “healthy” smoothie, it has almost no protein and almost no fat. It’s all carbs, and 2/3 of the carbs are from sugar.

Specifically, in 47 grams of carbohydrate, 32 are sugar. From a metabolic perspective (the breakdown of protein, carbs, fat, and calories), our “healthy” smoothie is very similar to two fun-sized packs of Skittles (36 grams of carbohydrate, of which 30 are sugar, almost nothing else) or 8 Tootsie rolls (46 grams of carbohydrate, of which 30 are sugar). Metabolically, you’re eating candy for breakfast.
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: bestname on January 14, 2017, 04:31:24 PM
If you are thirsty a lot you may need more sodium in your diet. Most Americans do not, but if you're drinking a lot of coffee and tea, it's possible.
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: Carlin on January 14, 2017, 04:44:08 PM
http://paleoleap.com/smoothies-breakfast-yes/

Quote
As an illustration, let’s start with a hypothetical cranberry-orange smoothie made out of “healthy” ingredients (no added sugar! All natural!). We’ll toss in ½ a banana, 1 clementine, a handful of cranberries, and 1 date, plus the ice and some seasonings. It sounds like something you might buy in a fancy health-food store, but this smoothie isn’t actually as “healthy” as it claims to be: here’s why, and how to fix it.

Problem #1: Protein and Fat
The first problem with our “healthy” smoothie is the macronutrient composition. Macronutrients are nutrients that we need in quantities large enough to measure in calories. The three macronutrients are protein, carbs, and fat. All three have different metabolic effects (that’s one reason why just calorie-counting isn’t a good idea, because it treats all calories as equal even though calories from different macronutrients have very different physical effects).
If you’re eating Paleo, a “meal” must include protein and fat. If it doesn’t have both protein and fat, it’s not a meal. But if you look at our “healthy” smoothie, it has almost no protein and almost no fat. It’s all carbs, and 2/3 of the carbs are from sugar.

Specifically, in 47 grams of carbohydrate, 32 are sugar. From a metabolic perspective (the breakdown of protein, carbs, fat, and calories), our “healthy” smoothie is very similar to two fun-sized packs of Skittles (36 grams of carbohydrate, of which 30 are sugar, almost nothing else) or 8 Tootsie rolls (46 grams of carbohydrate, of which 30 are sugar). Metabolically, you’re eating candy for breakfast.

Interesting info! My typical smoothie contains a large handful of spinach, 1/2 of a Banana, 2 TBS of flax seeds, almond or coconut milk, and fruit of my choice (Typically strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, or pineapple.)  Recently I've been adding protein powder.  Would the powder count as protein and the flax seeds fat, considering one serving has 12 grams of fat?
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: Malum Prohibitum on January 14, 2017, 05:07:06 PM
Carlin,

I may take back what I said.

What I would like you to do is the following.  Sign up for MyFitnessPal.  It takes literally 30 seconds.  It's free.  Enter everything you eat into it.  You make a smoothy?  Fine.  Enter all the ingredients.  It will spit out for you the amount of carbs, sugars, protein, fats, and allow you to adjust them.

You can almost entirely adjust your body fat by adjusting your carbohydrate intake.

Of course, protein and fats are needed (there are essential fats and amino acids that your body cannot manufacture).  There is no need to consume sugars and carbohydrates.  The body just does not need them, especially if you are not doing a grueling 1.5 hour weight training workout or running a marathon (which carbs would help you get through).

To start with, shoot for 50/20/30

That's 50% protein, 20% carbs, 30% fat.

With the workouts you are doing, there is no reason to have your carbohydrates any higher than that, and it will still allow you to eat some of the carbohydrates you have been consuming.

To answer directly your question, however, yes, the protein powder counts, but I am of the opinion that most protein powder marketers are committing fraud, and you cannot trust what they put on the label.  Usually, it is half to two thirds what they are claiming.  http://www.forbes.com/sites/alexmorrell/2015/03/12/lawsuits-say-protein-powders-lack-protein-ripping-off-athletes/#7e703d481039

  As for the flax seeds, by all means, count it.  MyFitnessPal will tell you how much to count it in each category of protein, carbs, and fat, and it will also track your daily totals.  Easy-peasy.

To up your protein, eat eggs (the yolks also have good fats).  Eat meat.  Fish, chicken, steak, hamburger, bison, pork, turkey, that is, real meat.  Not deli meat or processed crap.  Buy it raw and make it yourself. 

What you will find when you start tracking what you are eating with MyFitnessPal is that you are eating lots of carbs.  Most Americans have this as their main dietary category, which is ironic considering how it is not even needed.

Do your workouts, progressively improve, try 50/20/30, and see if you do not notice changes week to week.




Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: Carlin on January 14, 2017, 05:14:11 PM
Carlin,

I may take back what I said.

What I would like you to do is the following.  Sign up for MyFitnessPal.  It takes literally 30 seconds.  It's free.  Enter everything you eat into it.  You make a smoothy?  Fine.  Enter all the ingredients.  It will spit out for you the amount of carbs, sugars, protein, fats, and allow you to adjust them.

You can almost entirely adjust your body fat by adjusting your carbohydrate intake.

Of course, protein and fats are needed (there are essential fats and amino acids that your body cannot manufacture).  There is no need to consume sugars and carbohydrates.  The body just does not need them, especially if you are not doing a grueling 1.5 hour weight training workout or running a marathon (which carbs would help you get through).

To start with, shoot for 50/20/30

That's 50% protein, 20% carbs, 30% fat.

With the workouts you are doing, there is no reason to have your carbohydrates any higher than that, and it will still allow you to eat some of the carbohydrates you have been consuming.

To answer directly your question, however, yes, the protein powder counts, but I am of the opinion that most protein powder marketers are committing fraud, and you cannot trust what they put on the label.  Usually, it is half to two thirds what they are claiming.  http://www.forbes.com/sites/alexmorrell/2015/03/12/lawsuits-say-protein-powders-lack-protein-ripping-off-athletes/#7e703d481039

  As for the flax seeds, by all means, count it.  MyFitnessPal will tell you how much to count it in each category of protein, carbs, and fat, and it will also track your daily totals.  Easy-peasy.

To up your protein, eat eggs (the yolks also have good fats).  Eat meat.  Fish, chicken, steak, hamburger, bison, pork, turkey, that is, real meat.  Not deli meat or processed crap.  Buy it raw and make it yourself. 

What you will find when you start tracking what you are eating with MyFitnessPal is that you are eating lots of carbs.  Most Americans have this as their main dietary category, which is ironic considering how it is not even needed.

Do your workouts, progressively improve, try 50/20/30, and see if you do not notice changes week to week.

Thank you, I will give those things a try.  I have used that app before, good idea to start again! 
I'm not trying to be argumentative, just trying to learn, so let me ask:
I have read that eating lots of meat rather than carbs has a definite short term effect on body composition, but also increases risk of heart disease and the like down the road.  I also try to drastically limit my meat intake for environmental reasons, and lean more towards black beans, broccoli...etc.  In doing this, I know that I do not consume as much protein as I would if I just had a steak or some marinated chicken breast, but It's hard to get over the environmental hangups and some of the things I've read.  What is your opinion on this?  I am an above average cook, and do 90% of our cooking from scratch, so any suggestions you provide I can roll with.
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: Fomerly known as something on January 14, 2017, 06:45:53 PM
Maybe start working with a Physical therapist with the goal of building the basis for more exercise.
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: AllN4Ton on January 14, 2017, 10:35:59 PM
I might be giving advice opposite a lot of people here, but I think you need to pump the brakes.

I wouldn't make any major changes in your life, tracking macros, doing x sets of x reps @75% of 1rm, downing 3 scoops of metabolic whey 60 at every meal, going vegan/paleo/gluten free, mixing c4 with your BCAAs, daily or before/after workout weigh-ins, that's all great for a certain crowd... but I don't think it's right for you.

I would compare you starting your journey (not sprint, not dash, not your forgotten-by-march-resolution) toward physical well being to my journey in mustachianism. If you don't already go for a walk in the morning, and weather permits, go for a walk. Have your coffee first if you want, maybe a bite of breakfast to take the edge off, but before you start your day, go for a walk. Don't aim for a pace, don't count your steps, don't track it with an app, just walk around your neighborhood. Walk a quarter mile, a whole mile, probably not much more than that at first. Take the time to think about why you are walking around your neighborhood, about all the forces in your life that have brought you to this one moment. I like to use my morning walk as a way to meditate on my actions, examine the path my life is taking, and decide what I can do that day, to make sure my life goes the way I want it to. Don't make any crazy changes until you have done this for a month or so, you will know when it finally becomes a habit better than any of us.

At the same time, or shortly after, start working on your push-ups. Do 5 whenever you think about it, again with the walking, don't keep track, don't monitor every action with an app, just do push-ups when you think about it and have the time. Maybe do a plank before your push-ups, or after, or both. It doesn't matter, just do things with your body, toss in some air squats after you're done, keep your back straight, eyes on the horizon do 5 or 10, whatever is comfortable... comfortable, we will revisit that word. The point isn't necessarily to follow someones 30 or 60 day plan, to follow what the magazine says to get 6 pack abs by summer, it sounds like you just want to be a fitter human being, and that is a marathon, no need to rush.

Before you start doing exercises, do some research on proper form, even as a beginner just using body weight exercises, using proper form is imperative. If you can't continue the exercise with proper form, stop. Do some later instead.

As for the diet aspect, hydration is extremely important, and often overlooked. Every aspect of your body needs water, and when you start exercising more, you are going to make your muscles thirsty. Drink lots of water, but don't drink too much. I don't measure my water intake (usually) but if you don't know where to start, I'm sure some scientists have made a calculator based on your age/gender/weight/etc. There are a lot of diets out there, I personally dont subscribe to any. I do juice (vegetables, think Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead) daily at lunch, but I also eat food at lunch. It is a supplement for me, that's another word we will have to revisit. That is about as extreme as my diet gets, aside from my abstinence of fast food whenever I can help it, which might not be extreme here on these forums, but seems to be in daily American life. I just try to eat healthy things, baked chicken instead of fried chicken, a good balance of proteins and carbs and fruits and vegetables. Someone mentioned smoothies earlier, and how they were bad because they have so much sugar. I would like to respectfully disagree, sometimes I like to take smoothies as a "pre-workout" because they have lots of carbs and sugar, which is a pretty efficient way to give your body energy. But yeah, too much of anything in your diet isn't a good thing, so don't go crazy. Don't give up beer or wine or coffee. Maybe give up or cut down on soda and energy drinks if you currently consume those. I like to have a coke every once in a while, but I'm talking once every couple weeks.

Comfort and supplements. First, you are forging your new body like a blacksmith forges a sword. You aren't painting happy trees with Bob Ross. Eventually, you need to make yourself uncomfortable to see progress. Don't exercise if you are hurt, recovery time wont help you progress, but make yourself uncomfortable when you are exercising. Supplements, please stop taking whatever protein you are taking. There is no need for you to supplement at this point. Supplements are meant to "supplement" your diet, to provide nutrients you can't get through eating normal food in your normal day. Please do me a personal favor and stop taking them at least for now. The one supplement I would ever recommend to a beginner is a BCAA with no caffeine. I prefer AMINOx by BSN, I don't work for them or any supplement store or company, but I like the product. I would ask that you do your own research, and decide what is right for you. Also with everything else, don't let your sole source of information be someone working on commission.

I didn't mean for this to be such a wall of text, but I hope it helps.
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: Carlin on January 14, 2017, 11:29:03 PM
I might be giving advice opposite a lot of people here, but I think you need to pump the brakes.

I wouldn't make any major changes in your life, tracking macros, doing x sets of x reps @75% of 1rm, downing 3 scoops of metabolic whey 60 at every meal, going vegan/paleo/gluten free, mixing c4 with your BCAAs, daily or before/after workout weigh-ins, that's all great for a certain crowd... but I don't think it's right for you.

I would compare you starting your journey (not sprint, not dash, not your forgotten-by-march-resolution) toward physical well being to my journey in mustachianism. If you don't already go for a walk in the morning, and weather permits, go for a walk. Have your coffee first if you want, maybe a bite of breakfast to take the edge off, but before you start your day, go for a walk. Don't aim for a pace, don't count your steps, don't track it with an app, just walk around your neighborhood. Walk a quarter mile, a whole mile, probably not much more than that at first. Take the time to think about why you are walking around your neighborhood, about all the forces in your life that have brought you to this one moment. I like to use my morning walk as a way to meditate on my actions, examine the path my life is taking, and decide what I can do that day, to make sure my life goes the way I want it to. Don't make any crazy changes until you have done this for a month or so, you will know when it finally becomes a habit better than any of us.

At the same time, or shortly after, start working on your push-ups. Do 5 whenever you think about it, again with the walking, don't keep track, don't monitor every action with an app, just do push-ups when you think about it and have the time. Maybe do a plank before your push-ups, or after, or both. It doesn't matter, just do things with your body, toss in some air squats after you're done, keep your back straight, eyes on the horizon do 5 or 10, whatever is comfortable... comfortable, we will revisit that word. The point isn't necessarily to follow someones 30 or 60 day plan, to follow what the magazine says to get 6 pack abs by summer, it sounds like you just want to be a fitter human being, and that is a marathon, no need to rush.

Before you start doing exercises, do some research on proper form, even as a beginner just using body weight exercises, using proper form is imperative. If you can't continue the exercise with proper form, stop. Do some later instead.

As for the diet aspect, hydration is extremely important, and often overlooked. Every aspect of your body needs water, and when you start exercising more, you are going to make your muscles thirsty. Drink lots of water, but don't drink too much. I don't measure my water intake (usually) but if you don't know where to start, I'm sure some scientists have made a calculator based on your age/gender/weight/etc. There are a lot of diets out there, I personally dont subscribe to any. I do juice (vegetables, think Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead) daily at lunch, but I also eat food at lunch. It is a supplement for me, that's another word we will have to revisit. That is about as extreme as my diet gets, aside from my abstinence of fast food whenever I can help it, which might not be extreme here on these forums, but seems to be in daily American life. I just try to eat healthy things, baked chicken instead of fried chicken, a good balance of proteins and carbs and fruits and vegetables. Someone mentioned smoothies earlier, and how they were bad because they have so much sugar. I would like to respectfully disagree, sometimes I like to take smoothies as a "pre-workout" because they have lots of carbs and sugar, which is a pretty efficient way to give your body energy. But yeah, too much of anything in your diet isn't a good thing, so don't go crazy. Don't give up beer or wine or coffee. Maybe give up or cut down on soda and energy drinks if you currently consume those. I like to have a coke every once in a while, but I'm talking once every couple weeks.

Comfort and supplements. First, you are forging your new body like a blacksmith forges a sword. You aren't painting happy trees with Bob Ross. Eventually, you need to make yourself uncomfortable to see progress. Don't exercise if you are hurt, recovery time wont help you progress, but make yourself uncomfortable when you are exercising. Supplements, please stop taking whatever protein you are taking. There is no need for you to supplement at this point. Supplements are meant to "supplement" your diet, to provide nutrients you can't get through eating normal food in your normal day. Please do me a personal favor and stop taking them at least for now. The one supplement I would ever recommend to a beginner is a BCAA with no caffeine. I prefer AMINOx by BSN, I don't work for them or any supplement store or company, but I like the product. I would ask that you do your own research, and decide what is right for you. Also with everything else, don't let your sole source of information be someone working on commission.

I didn't mean for this to be such a wall of text, but I hope it helps.

Thank you for the advice! I like your "slow and steady" approach. I will definitely implement it.  I am starting to see changes.  I think impatience may be part of my problem :)
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: Laura33 on January 15, 2017, 08:18:49 AM
Carlin,

I may take back what I said.

What I would like you to do is the following.  Sign up for MyFitnessPal.  It takes literally 30 seconds.  It's free.  Enter everything you eat into it.  You make a smoothy?  Fine.  Enter all the ingredients.  It will spit out for you the amount of carbs, sugars, protein, fats, and allow you to adjust them.

You can almost entirely adjust your body fat by adjusting your carbohydrate intake.

Of course, protein and fats are needed (there are essential fats and amino acids that your body cannot manufacture).  There is no need to consume sugars and carbohydrates.  The body just does not need them, especially if you are not doing a grueling 1.5 hour weight training workout or running a marathon (which carbs would help you get through).

To start with, shoot for 50/20/30

That's 50% protein, 20% carbs, 30% fat.

With the workouts you are doing, there is no reason to have your carbohydrates any higher than that, and it will still allow you to eat some of the carbohydrates you have been consuming.

To answer directly your question, however, yes, the protein powder counts, but I am of the opinion that most protein powder marketers are committing fraud, and you cannot trust what they put on the label.  Usually, it is half to two thirds what they are claiming.  http://www.forbes.com/sites/alexmorrell/2015/03/12/lawsuits-say-protein-powders-lack-protein-ripping-off-athletes/#7e703d481039

  As for the flax seeds, by all means, count it.  MyFitnessPal will tell you how much to count it in each category of protein, carbs, and fat, and it will also track your daily totals.  Easy-peasy.

To up your protein, eat eggs (the yolks also have good fats).  Eat meat.  Fish, chicken, steak, hamburger, bison, pork, turkey, that is, real meat.  Not deli meat or processed crap.  Buy it raw and make it yourself. 

What you will find when you start tracking what you are eating with MyFitnessPal is that you are eating lots of carbs.  Most Americans have this as their main dietary category, which is ironic considering how it is not even needed.

Do your workouts, progressively improve, try 50/20/30, and see if you do not notice changes week to week.

Thank you, I will give those things a try.  I have used that app before, good idea to start again! 
I'm not trying to be argumentative, just trying to learn, so let me ask:
I have read that eating lots of meat rather than carbs has a definite short term effect on body composition, but also increases risk of heart disease and the like down the road.  I also try to drastically limit my meat intake for environmental reasons, and lean more towards black beans, broccoli...etc.  In doing this, I know that I do not consume as much protein as I would if I just had a steak or some marinated chicken breast, but It's hard to get over the environmental hangups and some of the things I've read.  What is your opinion on this?  I am an above average cook, and do 90% of our cooking from scratch, so any suggestions you provide I can roll with.

I can't say for sure about the meat (although I don't think there is research on meat in the context of the kind of diet recommended here).  But I agree that you seem very, very short on protein, which means you are asking your body to build muscles without the building blocks to do so.  I also don't like the idea of relying on supplements for such a major component of your diet.  What about nuts, dairy, eggs?  If you can add a handful of nuts or a boiled egg in the morning to go with your smoothie, that will help get you off on the right foot for the day.  You don't have to go full steak to get more protein and fat into your diet.

Also, one of the things it may help to do more research on is food combinations -- for ex, IIRC, acid helps with iron absorption but hurts calcium (I did know this at one point when I was anemic but have forgotten since then).  I have also heard that beans + dairy provides a more complete protein than just one or the other at a time.  Etc. 
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: GuitarStv on January 15, 2017, 09:02:31 AM
Carlin,

I may take back what I said.

What I would like you to do is the following.  Sign up for MyFitnessPal.  It takes literally 30 seconds.  It's free.  Enter everything you eat into it.  You make a smoothy?  Fine.  Enter all the ingredients.  It will spit out for you the amount of carbs, sugars, protein, fats, and allow you to adjust them.

You can almost entirely adjust your body fat by adjusting your carbohydrate intake.

Of course, protein and fats are needed (there are essential fats and amino acids that your body cannot manufacture).  There is no need to consume sugars and carbohydrates.  The body just does not need them, especially if you are not doing a grueling 1.5 hour weight training workout or running a marathon (which carbs would help you get through).

To start with, shoot for 50/20/30

That's 50% protein, 20% carbs, 30% fat.

With the workouts you are doing, there is no reason to have your carbohydrates any higher than that, and it will still allow you to eat some of the carbohydrates you have been consuming.

To answer directly your question, however, yes, the protein powder counts, but I am of the opinion that most protein powder marketers are committing fraud, and you cannot trust what they put on the label.  Usually, it is half to two thirds what they are claiming.  http://www.forbes.com/sites/alexmorrell/2015/03/12/lawsuits-say-protein-powders-lack-protein-ripping-off-athletes/#7e703d481039

  As for the flax seeds, by all means, count it.  MyFitnessPal will tell you how much to count it in each category of protein, carbs, and fat, and it will also track your daily totals.  Easy-peasy.

To up your protein, eat eggs (the yolks also have good fats).  Eat meat.  Fish, chicken, steak, hamburger, bison, pork, turkey, that is, real meat.  Not deli meat or processed crap.  Buy it raw and make it yourself. 

What you will find when you start tracking what you are eating with MyFitnessPal is that you are eating lots of carbs.  Most Americans have this as their main dietary category, which is ironic considering how it is not even needed.

Do your workouts, progressively improve, try 50/20/30, and see if you do not notice changes week to week.

Single data point here . . .

I was able to gain 40 lbs over a three year period by religiously lifting weights, and keeping to a 30/40/30.  My waist measurements stayed the same as when I started.  I've been able to maintain the weight and strength while slowly modifying my diet closer to a heavily vegetarian 15/50/35 (full disclosure, my weight dropped by 10 lbs and my max strength dropped on all lifts . . . But I also modified my exercise routine to include 200+ km a week on a bike and reduced frequency of weight lifting to accommodate that.)

50% of your caloric intake through protein seems a bit excessive from where I'm sitting.  Every vegetable, bean/legume, and fruit that you eat is a carb . . . They're very healthy for you.  If you take issue with refined sugars and processed starchy foods, that's sensible . . . But no need to besmirch all carbs.  That would be like someone saying that Bologna is processed meat which is bad for you, therefore all protein is bad for you.
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: Malum Prohibitum on January 18, 2017, 11:19:56 AM
GuitarStv,

Please read her posts.  Then compare it to your lifestyle.  The carbs are not going to do her ANY good whatsoever for her goals right now.  She is not going to be riding 200 km weekly in addition to heavy weight training.  She also does not have a man's testosterone levels.

I eat carbs, oats, rice, potatoes, but it is to fuel workouts.  That is completely different from her eating carbs (and my proposed diet does not cut out carbs entirely).

My proposal was for her.  I would not have given you the exact same recommendation based on what you do each week.  The fact that your higher carb diet worked for you does not mean it would work for her, since you two have almost nothing in common.
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: BigHaus89 on January 18, 2017, 11:30:46 AM
Your poor diet was the thing that stuck out to me the most. The fact that you are so sore for so long after a workout says you likely are not getting enough protein and fat. Eat eggs for breakfast, fish and veggies for lunch, mixed nuts for a snack and a balanced meal for dinner(chicken breast,steammed veggies with olive oil and a sweet potato or something similar)

Others have given good advice on workout progression. Figure out what you can and can't do with your back issue, and work hard to progress in what you can do. Yoga and bodyweight exercises like you mentioned would be an excellent start.
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: GuitarStv on January 18, 2017, 12:11:38 PM
GuitarStv,

Please read her posts.  Then compare it to your lifestyle.  The carbs are not going to do her ANY good whatsoever for her goals right now.  She is not going to be riding 200 km weekly in addition to heavy weight training.  She also does not have a man's testosterone levels.

I eat carbs, oats, rice, potatoes, but it is to fuel workouts.  That is completely different from her eating carbs (and my proposed diet does not cut out carbs entirely).

My proposal was for her.  I would not have given you the exact same recommendation based on what you do each week.  The fact that your higher carb diet worked for you does not mean it would work for her, since you two have almost nothing in common.

Granted, we're quite different people.

Your recommendation that 50% of her calories each day come from protein though seems rather high, regardless of activity level.  That quantity of protein just isn't necessary even when doing heavy weight training.  A diet rich in carbs (vegetables, beans, fruit) is good for you.  It's high in fiber, high in anti-oxidants, and high in vitamins . . . replacing large quantities of that with protein is not a benefit.

If you want to argue that fewer calories of white bread, white rice, white potatoes, white sugar should be consumed . . . have at it.  Those are bad carbs.  There are also quite a few bad meat products that should be avoided (processed meats of any kind, red meat, etc.) . . . that doesn't mean that all protein is bad for you.
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: Carlin on January 18, 2017, 06:08:25 PM
GuitarStv,

Please read her posts.  Then compare it to your lifestyle.  The carbs are not going to do her ANY good whatsoever for her goals right now.  She is not going to be riding 200 km weekly in addition to heavy weight training.  She also does not have a man's testosterone levels.

I eat carbs, oats, rice, potatoes, but it is to fuel workouts.  That is completely different from her eating carbs (and my proposed diet does not cut out carbs entirely).

My proposal was for her.  I would not have given you the exact same recommendation based on what you do each week.  The fact that your higher carb diet worked for you does not mean it would work for her, since you two have almost nothing in common.

Granted, we're quite different people.

Your recommendation that 50% of her calories each day come from protein though seems rather high, regardless of activity level.  That quantity of protein just isn't necessary even when doing heavy weight training.  A diet rich in carbs (vegetables, beans, fruit) is good for you.  It's high in fiber, high in anti-oxidants, and high in vitamins . . . replacing large quantities of that with protein is not a benefit.

If you want to argue that fewer calories of white bread, white rice, white potatoes, white sugar should be consumed . . . have at it.  Those are bad carbs.  There are also quite a few bad meat products that should be avoided (processed meats of any kind, red meat, etc.) . . . that doesn't mean that all protein is bad for you.

All of these conflicting messages are what have me so confused. I try very hard to stick to a whole foods diet as much as I can.  Our diet consists mainly of veggies, fruits, beans, potatoes, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, and some chicken, fish, and beef.  I do consume more dairy than I would like.  I know that I do need to cut back on my carbs for sure.  I do have a problem there.  I also need to make time to fit more regular exercise in.  I know that will help, because I spent a good deal of time walking, biking, hiking, and swimming last summer and I leaned out to about 115 lbs with zero actual "workouts" involved.  Then, in the process of moving and finishing my degree between August and December I managed to gain about 15 lbs back. 
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: Rewdoalb on January 18, 2017, 08:40:34 PM
Good luck with everything!

Start slow, like others have said.  As your strength work ramps up, please keep the following principle in mind:  muscle weighs more than fat.  If you end up the same size in 1 year but gain strength and muscle tone / tightness / whatever you want to call it... you will weigh noticeably more!  So please be careful you aren't starving your body of the nutrients it needs to gain muscle.  And don't freak out if your weight goes up 10 or 15 pounds.

I too eat mostly mean-free but am trying to gain weight and muscle.  Protein powder w whole milk, peanut butter (sandwiches, in your smoothie, and spread it onto apples and bananas whenever you eat fruit), avocados, nuts, canned tuna, and eggs are all reasonably cheap ways to get protein and fat without buying red meat.  Oatmeal is cheap fuel too.
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: The Happy Philosopher on January 18, 2017, 10:34:01 PM
GuitarStv,

Please read her posts.  Then compare it to your lifestyle.  The carbs are not going to do her ANY good whatsoever for her goals right now.  She is not going to be riding 200 km weekly in addition to heavy weight training.  She also does not have a man's testosterone levels.

I eat carbs, oats, rice, potatoes, but it is to fuel workouts.  That is completely different from her eating carbs (and my proposed diet does not cut out carbs entirely).

My proposal was for her.  I would not have given you the exact same recommendation based on what you do each week.  The fact that your higher carb diet worked for you does not mean it would work for her, since you two have almost nothing in common.

Granted, we're quite different people.

Your recommendation that 50% of her calories each day come from protein though seems rather high, regardless of activity level.  That quantity of protein just isn't necessary even when doing heavy weight training.  A diet rich in carbs (vegetables, beans, fruit) is good for you.  It's high in fiber, high in anti-oxidants, and high in vitamins . . . replacing large quantities of that with protein is not a benefit.

If you want to argue that fewer calories of white bread, white rice, white potatoes, white sugar should be consumed . . . have at it.  Those are bad carbs.  There are also quite a few bad meat products that should be avoided (processed meats of any kind, red meat, etc.) . . . that doesn't mean that all protein is bad for you.

All of these conflicting messages are what have me so confused. I try very hard to stick to a whole foods diet as much as I can.  Our diet consists mainly of veggies, fruits, beans, potatoes, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, and some chicken, fish, and beef.  I do consume more dairy than I would like.  I know that I do need to cut back on my carbs for sure.  I do have a problem there.  I also need to make time to fit more regular exercise in.  I know that will help, because I spent a good deal of time walking, biking, hiking, and swimming last summer and I leaned out to about 115 lbs with zero actual "workouts" involved.  Then, in the process of moving and finishing my degree between August and December I managed to gain about 15 lbs back.

50% protein is probably too much. You body just doesn't need that much. Getting rid of low quality carbs and adding high quality fats should be your goal, not adding more protein. It probably wont hurt you, but it is usually an expensive way to eat. Most people make the mistake of eating too little fat. Fat is calorie dense, necessary for absorption of fat soluble vitamins and is overall awesome. Check out slow carb diet, it is simple, easy and from what I read, effective. At the end of the day you have to eat what makes your body feel the best. We are all different and will find different optimal diets.
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: NeonPegasus on January 19, 2017, 09:28:08 AM
All of these conflicting messages are what have me so confused. I try very hard to stick to a whole foods diet as much as I can.  Our diet consists mainly of veggies, fruits, beans, potatoes, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, and some chicken, fish, and beef.  I do consume more dairy than I would like.  I know that I do need to cut back on my carbs for sure.  I do have a problem there.  I also need to make time to fit more regular exercise in.  I know that will help, because I spent a good deal of time walking, biking, hiking, and swimming last summer and I leaned out to about 115 lbs with zero actual "workouts" involved.  Then, in the process of moving and finishing my degree between August and December I managed to gain about 15 lbs back.

Maybe this will help. Your diet is a circle. That circle represents the total number of calories you should eat based on your goals.

The main divisions in that circle are between your macronutrients - protein, carbs and fats. You want to work on the ratio of those macros before moving on. I agree with a previous poster that 50% protein is unnecessarily high. My muscle building/weight loss diet calls for 40% protein, 40% carbs and 20% fat. I think a good place to start for you would be 30% protein, 30% fat and 40% carbs. Try that for a week or so and see how you feel. You may find it challenging to hit even 30% protein. In the end, you should feel more satiated and less fatigued after working out, though you may feel a bit foggy for the first few days. I sure did. It seems to be related to decreasing carbs. Yes, your body can build muscle with mostly carbs but protein also takes longer to digest so it leaves you fuller and less subject to blood sugar swings, which helps if you're simultaneously trying to shed some fat.

Once you have got your macros down, you work on each pie wedge. Your carbs should be full of whole grains, like it looks like you're already doing. Your fats should come from high quality sources like olive oil, nuts and legumes. Your protein should be likewise high quality - lean meat or eggs or dairy rather than bologna or something.
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: Inaya on January 19, 2017, 09:36:21 AM
All of these conflicting messages are what have me so confused. I try very hard to stick to a whole foods diet as much as I can.  Our diet consists mainly of veggies, fruits, beans, potatoes, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, and some chicken, fish, and beef.  I do consume more dairy than I would like.  I know that I do need to cut back on my carbs for sure.  I do have a problem there.  I also need to make time to fit more regular exercise in.  I know that will help, because I spent a good deal of time walking, biking, hiking, and swimming last summer and I leaned out to about 115 lbs with zero actual "workouts" involved.  Then, in the process of moving and finishing my degree between August and December I managed to gain about 15 lbs back.

Maybe this will help. Your diet is a circle. That circle represents the total number of calories you should eat based on your goals.

The main divisions in that circle are between your macronutrients - protein, carbs and fats. You want to work on the ratio of those macros before moving on. I agree with a previous poster that 50% protein is unnecessarily high. My muscle building/weight loss diet calls for 40% protein, 40% carbs and 20% fat. I think a good place to start for you would be 30% protein, 30% fat and 40% carbs. Try that for a week or so and see how you feel. You may find it challenging to hit even 30% protein. In the end, you should feel more satiated and less fatigued after working out, though you may feel a bit foggy for the first few days. I sure did. It seems to be related to decreasing carbs. Yes, your body can build muscle with mostly carbs but protein also takes longer to digest so it leaves you fuller and less subject to blood sugar swings, which helps if your simultaneously trying to shed some fat.

Once you have got your macros down, you work on each pie wedge. Your carbs should be full of whole grains, like it looks like you're already doing. Your fats should come from high quality sources like olive oil, nuts and legumes. Your protein should be likewise high quality - lean meat or eggs or dairy rather than bologna or something.


If this approach interests you, here is a calculator that can help you figure out how big your "pie wedges" should be: https://www.iifym.com/iifym-calculator/
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: Malum Prohibitum on January 19, 2017, 01:15:16 PM
All of these conflicting messages are what have me so confused.
  Sorry if I added to your confusion, since my approach is so different from the others.  My recommendation is based upon what I saw you post and your stated goal.  I am sure the others mean well.  Ask to see their shirtless pics to see if they know what they are talking about and how the approach has worked for them in making a transformation like you would like to see in yourself (only half kidding).

The main thing at this point is to DO SOMETHING.  No need to wait.  Pick one of the approaches and try it.  The approach does not have to be mine.  If you stop seeing progress in the direction you want to go after a few weeks, then look to make some tweaks to your approach.  Track your diet on MyFitnessPal, since it is hard to make tweaks if you do not know what you are eating, just like it is hard to adjust your finances if you do not know what you are spending.

Any change at this point would be good.  If you do not like where you are, then you have to change what you are doing.

Have you started exercising?  If so, how is that going?  The key to exercise is to make progress.  Progress forces adaptation, and your body will start to look different.
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: Carlin on January 19, 2017, 01:29:51 PM
All of these conflicting messages are what have me so confused.
  Sorry if I added to your confusion, since my approach is so different from the others.  My recommendation is based upon what I saw you post and your stated goal.  I am sure the others mean well.  Ask to see their shirtless pics to see if they know what they are talking about and how the approach has worked for them in making a transformation like you would like to see in yourself (only half kidding).

The main thing at this point is to DO SOMETHING.  No need to wait.  Pick one of the approaches and try it.  The approach does not have to be mine.  If you stop seeing progress in the direction you want to go after a few weeks, then look to make some tweaks to your approach.  Track your diet on MyFitnessPal, since it is hard to make tweaks if you do not know what you are eating, just like it is hard to adjust your finances if you do not know what you are spending.

Any change at this point would be good.  If you do not like where you are, then you have to change what you are doing.

Have you started exercising?  If so, how is that going?  The key to exercise is to make progress.  Progress forces adaptation, and your body will start to look different.

I have started exercising.  I have been faithfully doing 3 resistance (Leg day, arms/back, and core), and 2 cardio workouts per week, plus yoga several times per week and the occasional swimming.  I have seen improvement in what I can do as I've made my way up past 20 half pushups, and I can now walk/jog a mile rather than walk/stop a mile.  Despite these improvements, I see absolutely zero changes in my body yet though, but I think I may be on the right track!
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: Malum Prohibitum on January 19, 2017, 01:32:17 PM
Great news!  Keep at it, and keep improving.  If you are seeing improvements, for example, in your ability to do the mile without stopping and some running when you could not before, then you are definitely on the right track.
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: GuitarStv on January 19, 2017, 01:45:43 PM
If you can, log your changes in performance.  It can be pretty incredible when you look back at the changes you've seen after two or three years worth of training.  When you start exercising progress comes quickly and is easy to see . . . as you develop more strength and endurance it becomes more and more important to track things because progress gets to slow to see on a day to day or even weekly basis.
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: NeonPegasus on January 19, 2017, 04:54:12 PM
If you can, log your changes in performance.  It can be pretty incredible when you look back at the changes you've seen after two or three years worth of training.  When you start exercising progress comes quickly and is easy to see . . . as you develop more strength and endurance it becomes more and more important to track things because progress gets to slow to see on a day to day or even weekly basis.

Yes, track your performance and track your body measurements. It will take about 6 weeks to really start seeing changes. You will notice improvements in your performance before improvements in measurements and appearance. This is a long-term game.
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: galliver on January 20, 2017, 03:14:43 PM
All of these conflicting messages are what have me so confused. I try very hard to stick to a whole foods diet as much as I can.  Our diet consists mainly of veggies, fruits, beans, potatoes, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, and some chicken, fish, and beef.  I do consume more dairy than I would like.  I know that I do need to cut back on my carbs for sure.  I do have a problem there.  I also need to make time to fit more regular exercise in.  I know that will help, because I spent a good deal of time walking, biking, hiking, and swimming last summer and I leaned out to about 115 lbs with zero actual "workouts" involved.  Then, in the process of moving and finishing my degree between August and December I managed to gain about 15 lbs back.

I'll probably offend someone above with this, but...diets are a religion these days. Devout followers of Holy Texts and Holy Men (and Women) will proselytize at length about why their Truth is greater than all other Truths and you should convert to their method. I've tried looking for the hard science (thanks grad school for journal access) and frankly you can find things that support and that contradict most diet movements out there. Also a lot of health/nutrition studies suffer from questionable science: small sample sizes and positive-results publication bias (basically, if 100 scientists run studies about whether chocolate affects cancer rates/heart disease/obesity, the 5 that find a correlation are more likely to publish their results...or for the results to get published, it might be a journal problem...than the 95 that find no relationship...and then the media picks it up and turns "chocolate *might* affect heart disease chance by .1% based on preliminary results" into "chocolate prevents cancer, eat all the chocolate!") Anyway that's why it's confusing, IMO.
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: wenchsenior on January 20, 2017, 05:47:00 PM
All of these conflicting messages are what have me so confused. I try very hard to stick to a whole foods diet as much as I can.  Our diet consists mainly of veggies, fruits, beans, potatoes, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, and some chicken, fish, and beef.  I do consume more dairy than I would like.  I know that I do need to cut back on my carbs for sure.  I do have a problem there.  I also need to make time to fit more regular exercise in.  I know that will help, because I spent a good deal of time walking, biking, hiking, and swimming last summer and I leaned out to about 115 lbs with zero actual "workouts" involved.  Then, in the process of moving and finishing my degree between August and December I managed to gain about 15 lbs back.

I'll probably offend someone above with this, but...diets are a religion these days. Devout followers of Holy Texts and Holy Men (and Women) will proselytize at length about why their Truth is greater than all other Truths and you should convert to their method. I've tried looking for the hard science (thanks grad school for journal access) and frankly you can find things that support and that contradict most diet movements out there. Also a lot of health/nutrition studies suffer from questionable science: small sample sizes and positive-results publication bias (basically, if 100 scientists run studies about whether chocolate affects cancer rates/heart disease/obesity, the 5 that find a correlation are more likely to publish their results...or for the results to get published, it might be a journal problem...than the 95 that find no relationship...and then the media picks it up and turns "chocolate *might* affect heart disease chance by .1% based on preliminary results" into "chocolate prevents cancer, eat all the chocolate!") Anyway that's why it's confusing, IMO.

So true.

Plus, everyone's body functions a bit differently. I feel better in some ways (more energy)  if I eat more 'paleo' and cut carbs way down, but then I cannot keep weight on no matter how many calories from fat I add. I mean, for a while I was glopping olive oil and coconut oil etc on all my food, and STILL lost weight.  And if I do aerobic type exercise on that type of diet, I will fall below 100 lbs like THAT.  And weirdly, this occurs while my digestion slows to a crawl.  Conversely, if I eat a lot of carbs, I can put on some weight and my digestion and appetite rev up a little bit, but then I feel like crap because of blood sugar swings UNLESS I am doing really consistent hard aerobic exercise.  It's weird, but my body processes sugar/starch differently from protein/fat calories. 

Basically, if you stop drinking sugar, eliminate or cut down processed food, and avoid extremely fatty red meats, you're likely going to be doing better than 90% of Americans. Aim for that, and then tweak a bit to see what your body likes.
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: waltworks on January 20, 2017, 06:18:06 PM
Find an exercise class of some kind that has the right vibe for you. My wife and I attend a "power hour" class where you can bring your small children along - which means total chaos but lots of fun, but it also means that it's mostly a similar group (parents, people tolerant of small children) who have similar life situations and are supportive/great at encouraging each other.

To be fair, this class is like 95% female and I get laughed at a lot during the stretching/core workout/balance stuff where I fall off the bosu ball, or whatever, but the point is that if you find the right group, you'll be more likely to A) push yourself to improve and B) make friends/feel welcome/not be judged for whatever challenges you have.

Bottom line: comradery gets results. And more friends!

-W
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: Malum Prohibitum on January 20, 2017, 06:23:16 PM
It's weird, but my body processes sugar/starch differently from protein/fat calories. 
  There is nothing weird about that.  Everybody's body operates this way.
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: wenchsenior on January 24, 2017, 10:57:40 AM
It's weird, but my body processes sugar/starch differently from protein/fat calories. 
  There is nothing weird about that.  Everybody's body operates this way.

Possibly, but we're getting the 'a calorie is a calorie is a calorie' crowd perspective over on this thread

http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/off-topic/1200-calorie-meal-plan/ (http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/off-topic/1200-calorie-meal-plan/)

so it certainly isn't an idea that everyone is receptive to.
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: Malum Prohibitum on January 27, 2017, 12:14:21 PM
It's weird, but my body processes sugar/starch differently from protein/fat calories. 
  There is nothing weird about that.  Everybody's body operates this way.

Possibly, but we're getting the 'a calorie is a calorie is a calorie' crowd perspective over on this thread

http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/off-topic/1200-calorie-meal-plan/ (http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/off-topic/1200-calorie-meal-plan/)

so it certainly isn't an idea that everyone is receptive to.
  Ignorance is pervasive.  I am assuming none of these people has heard of insulin or knows what it does in the body beyond something about "it regulates blood sugar levels,"  LOL!
Title: Re: Skinny Fat, Coddled, and Weak
Post by: begood on January 27, 2017, 02:19:50 PM
Carlin, drinking coffee and green tea all day long might be making you thirsty:

Caffeine & Thirst (http://www.livestrong.com/article/533908-caffeine-thirst/)

Caffeine is a diuretic. It causes fluid to pass through your body more quickly than usual.