Body Composition Blowing My Mind

I am so excited I can hardly stand it!

I probably look a bit nuts – dashing around insisting that everyone get in on my ecstatic InBody570 raptures.

InBody570 is one of my ridiculously fancy new toys at BioFit Philly.

This high-level piece of machinery uses bioimpedance (painless electrical currents) to precisely measure what you’re made of.


When it first arrived I couldn’t wait to beta test it.

My husband (Mr. Fitness Text Book Author) went first, and his results blew my hair back. His right leg has 1.5 lbs more muscle than his left. This makes perfect sense, because he’s constantly using his dominant leg to demonstrate single-leg exercises. Is that wild or what??

Then it was my turn. Do I really want to know? With my husband watching?

I’ll be completely honest – I didn’t like seeing those first results. They showed me a body composition significantly mushier than I had Circa People Magazine.

It was exactly what I needed to see.

While I maintained the same weight and dress size over the last year, I knew my strength had dropped off. I couldn’t see clear muscle definition. I didn’t feel particularly confident in form-fitting clothing.

I had a pretty good sense that the steadiness on the scale was actually a loss of muscle mass being met by an uptick in body fat.

I was right.

My results were emotionally difficult, because keeping the scale steady had allowed me to pretend I was still as fit as ever.

InBody570 said “Oh, honey – No.”

As soon as I had ridden out a long string of inward-facing expletives, I firmly resolved to get my fitness back.

I reengaged the Beast. I banished all booze and mindless munching. I kept my daily date with Shaun T. I reminded myself how rewarding it feels to give 100%.

I held off on weigh-ins, because I wanted to see a big change and I knew it was coming. I could feel it in the way my jeans fit. I didn’t even think about using my home scale – I was getting back on the InBody.

After a few weeks I was ready. I was stoked. I was going to see my weight drop!

I bounced into BioFit Philly with a smile on my face. InBody time!

Your weight is the first thing measured. I was *convinced* that I was going to be down AT LEAST 3 lbs.

I was up 0.1.

I almost burst into tears. I’m not kidding.

I had worked so hard! Waaaaaaaah!!!

But then the real test got started. Limb by limb the InBody scanned my body comp. The results were absolutely EVERYTHING.

Has my overall weight stuck? Yup. But the truth of what I have accomplished is SO much more.

I’ve gone up 2.1 lbs in water weight (due in large part to the status of my female cycle), I gained TWO SOLID LBS in muscle mass, and I dropped 4 lbs of fat.

My overall body fat percentage dropped 2.7 points!

Holy Emotional Roller Coaster, Batman!

In less than a minute, I went from crushing defeat to literally running, screeching with joy, around the gym.

I KNEW my body  had changed. I could SEE my muscles developing. I could FEEL my clothing hanging more loosely. But because of that single metric point, that single number on the scale, I doubted myself.

I’ve worked in fitness and nutrition for a few years now, but in a single “you didn’t lose weight when you thought you did” moment I lost all reason. I questioned my own system, my own abilities.

And there it was – the No. 1 With A Bullet reason why Goal Chasers (my own clients included) throw in the towel. They’re “doing everything right” and “nothing is changing.”

But SO MUCH could be changing! The stupid scale staying put might not mean as much as you think! Dropping 2.7% overall body fat is a BFD, and the scale alone reflects none of that.

Without my Body Composition scan, I probably would have done something stupid – like make deeper cuts to my daily calorie balance. I would have gotten in my own way.

But 2 more lbs of lean muscle and 4 pounds of torched body fat? Don’t change a damn thing!

I have been fighting to break the bonds that tether my heart to a single data point for my whole life.

This window into what I’m actually made of just might do the trick.


Shaking Things Up – Early Mornings

Hello again, Happy Exhaustion!! I’m sorry that I’ve been away so long. I missed you. 2016 did its level best to kill me, but I’m back and stronger than ever. Did you think that maybe I had fallen into the … Continue reading


I just want to leave this here. Because epic moments of body positivity are worth remembering!

Thanks, Tyra!

Earning It

When I was overweight and out of shape, I thought humanity was divided into two groups: People who are hard-wired for fitness & People who simply aren’t.

I didn’t give my fit friends much credit. ‘They’re jocks. I’m just not that. I’m different.’

Failure to give credit where credit was due was just another way of letting myself off the hook. I assumed that for them it was somehow easier. It was natural. It wasn’t the struggle that it was for me.

jim gaffigan

I didn’t realize that the gym rats look strong because they choose their physical fitness every day.

Barring illness or injury we are all physical manifestations of our *consistent* lifestyle choices.

Will you keep your food clean? Or are you fine with the drive-through?

Is hitting the gym or going for a run a mandatory part of your daily rhythm? Or will you shuffle from bed to desk to couch to bed again?

I’m a big fan of Jim Gaffigan, but the quote above makes me a little twitchy, because it’s just wrong. It perpetuates dangerous Diet Culture Mentality – The mythical existence of a finish line.

Your hard work is doomed to fail if your day-by-day relationship with wellness is ever ‘done’.

My fitness begins to slip away as soon as I give up on my choices and opt for comfort over wellness. When I phone it in, sip my wine, lounge around, and eat that slice of cake, my  hard-won form begins to weaken.

But when I choose well, when I eat clean and train mean, I can slay dragons.

You can be whoever you want to be, but you have to choose well. You have to be consistent. You have to earn it.


Yes, it’s work. But it’s so worth it 🙂

Size Happy

There’s an awesome new narrative brewing in the public square.

Female celebrities, recently body-shamed for *minor* weight gains have chosen to push back; to drop the veil at the intersection of body image & happiness.

“[My daughter] Willow said to me the other day whilst grabbing my belly — ‘mama-why r u so squishy?’ And I said..’b/cuz I’m happy baby,'” – Pink

Who also said “I am perfectly fine, perfectly happy, and my healthy, voluptuous and crazy strong body is having some much deserved time off.”

“I am not pregnant, I am just happy.” – Tia Mowry

Do those statements make the sonic boom in your head that they do in mine?

These are women in the business of Flawless Public Image. And look! They not only chose happiness over ‘Flawless’, they stood up and said so!

‘There is nothing wrong. I’m not pregnant. I have not Let Myself Go. I’m happy.’

Subtext: Don’t let the radiant red carpet smile fool you. Skinniest Me Is Unhappy.

As I learned when I first stepped away from my lowest Goal Weight and intentionally gained weight, a pin thin Goal Weight can be the enemy of happiness.

The struggle to reach my Goal Weight attacked my happiness every bit as much as my struggles with obesity.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m all for goal weights. They’re valuable tools in the fight for Healthy & Strong. Defeating obesity is always a good idea.

But I hope you’ll give your goals some room to breathe.

I often look at especially slender female celebrities and just want to hug them. Their bodies are under such heavy, loud, unyielding scrutiny. When they gain any weight at all, people notice. People comment. So, *generally speaking* they don’t let that happen. They fight every day to maintain a very narrow margin.

And that just hurts. That kind of pain needs a hug. It needs a break.

Tia Mowry and Pink probably knew they would hear about their sizes. But they chose happiness in their private lives over the pain of public opinion.

Their courage made them role models under a beautiful flag:

Assert your courage.

Share your truth.

Believe in the power of your light to pull others out of the darkness.

With that pep talk in the air, I will share these pictures of myself.

On the left, my ‘Goal Weight’ – the thinnest I have ever been.

On the right, pre-Happy Exhaustion days. I’m guessing probably around a size 12.


A different kind of Before & After

I fought hard for the size on the left. It’s what I thought I wanted, when I thought skinny meant happy. I was so wrong. I hope that picture doesn’t look like #Goals to you. I hope you see that it’s a picture of pain. My vice grip on skinny was strangling my happiness.

If you learn anything from my journey, I hope it will be this: No image is worth more than your happiness.

Care for your body. Care for your heart.

Run in the sunshine, and always aim for Size Happy.


Love for New Recruits

When I was heavy, the very thought of attending a group fitness class filled me with dread. I couldn’t bear the thought of being seen in a gym, of putting my own weakness on display.
I imagined walking in on legions of fitness models. I pictured gyms a bit like this:
Photo credit: AllWomensTalk

Photo credit: AllWomensTalk

I would stick out like a sore thumb. People would look at me with eyes that said I had no business being in their space.
I would be judged. I would be embarrassed.
So, I hid.
My fears were at the wheel for more years than I care to think about.
Now that I am a bona fide Gym Rat, these are the moments that will *always* make me smile through my sweat: glimpses of rockstars who have decided to face down all of the fears and fight.
They are the out-of-shape women huffing and puffing through their treadmill walks – red faced, struggling, and not giving up. They’re the senior citizens in cardigans and slip-on shoes power-walking on the track. They’re the high school students who have decided to take charge of their fitness.
Those who are just beginning their fight for healthy and strong are the toughest among us.
Photo credit: Downsize Fitness

Photo credit: Downsize Fitness

It’s not easy for them. It sure as hell wasn’t easy for me.
Those of us who have found (and fight to maintain!) personal fitness can all relate to the struggle of Chapter One.
If you are contemplating writing your own Chapter One, trust me – the gym rats are stoked to see you there. We’re a bit cultish that way – “You’ve chosen well! Just wait until you get to meet the person you’ll become! Keep showing up!”
We may not say it out loud, because we don’t want to make anyone uncomfortable – but that’s the inner monologue. Chances are, I’m behind you *beaming*.
As I stood in my kitchen today, my off-the-charts tall 3rd grader let me lift and hold her in my arms. I cradled her – not propped on my hip, but in my arms, her head resting on my shoulder. I bathed in that fleeting-treasure maternal moment for as long as she wanted to be held.
I got to seize that moment because almost 4 years ago I marched my obese, physically weak behind into Discomfort Land and I did the damn thing.
Facing down and conquering the fear of Newbie Status is worth more than I ever imagined.
You deserve to feel your strong.
Set your mind. Point your feet.