Getting Fit, Not Thin!

How do you go from wanting to be thin, to wanting to be fit?

I remember when I was tipping the scales at 300lbs my initial goal was to get to 180lbs…a size 12-14.

I wanted to be thin. Thin enough to not have to shop at Lane Bryant anymore.

I got there..and then I wanted more. I wanted to be in the 170s, 160s…the 150s?

I felt great..kinda..I was living off of Diet Coke and Popcorn. Actually to be totally honest it was an accomplishment to hit 168lbs on my birthday. But holy shit I was mentally drained and physically exhausted—hungry. This is what I wrote on my birthday:

It’s my birthday. I didn’t starve myself last night and/or go running last night or this morning to try and dehydrate myself. AND I WAS 168lbs this morning. That was my goal.

Then I gained 30lbs back. I just so DESPERATELY wanted to be at 168lbs again and my longing for that weight caused me to binge eat and go through some pretty major low points throughout 2009.

It’s so easy to think of losing weight..simply as that..wanting to be skinny. However, what struck me is that yeah I could restrict my food intake for the rest of my life…but I couldn’t run a 5km, climb Mount Kilimanjaro or complete a Triathlon. What struck me more is that after I workout I feel HEAPS better about myself then sitting through a meal trying to figure out how few points I could make it.

So..what does ‘Getting Fit, Not Thin!’ mean?

I Stopped Punishing Myself Nicole@GeekTurnedAthlete

I went through some tough struggles when I was in my early 20’s including getting down to 110 pounds with the help of diet pills.  That was my goal even if it meant starving myself, working out for 3+ hours every single day with the only goal of burning calories, and lying to my family about the pills that I was taking.  The mental shift finally came when started running in races.  My goal of being thin did nothing for my running, and I knew that I needed to focus on fueling my body to get through my workouts and to improve my times. This is not to say that this mental change came on suddenly.  I have finally gotten to a point in my life where I love my body.  I don’t “punish” myself by skipping meals if I eat a particularly fatty or caloric meal. I am 15 pounds heavier than my pill popping days, but my body is so strong. The nice muscular frame is a side effect of my training, NOT my goal.

Focus on What My Body Can Do, Not How It Looks Angela@OhSheGlows

The only reason I ever used to exercise was to be thin. I didn’t really think about the health benefits or how the exercise was helping my mind, spirit, or insides. I only thought about how my body would look when I looked in the mirror. After I started learning about health and nutrition, my whole attitude changed. I started setting fitness goals and started to focus on what my body could do instead of how it looked. During this time, I also realized that I needed a lot of fuel to allow my body to do what it is capable of. There is no way I could have trained for a 10k, 10 miler, and 2 half marathons by starving myself or over-exercising. The body is capable of amazing things if we would only give it the love and care that it needs.

Fit is So Much More Than Thin Shannon@TheFabulousFatties

My goal is to be Fit, I left the idea of just being THIN a long time ago.
Fit is Healthy, Thin is Thin
Fit is Strength, Thin is Thin
Fit is Radiance, Thin is Thin
Fit and Thin… is just a bonus
Fit is always Fabulous
Thin..alone will always be just Thin

Getting The Family Fit Sarah@GlobalCopyWriting (guest post)

If I wasn’t going to introduce the concept of dieting to my five-year-old, then the only way to combat a weight problem is to get moving. He liked the idea of “Fit and Fun” before he even knew what it was about.  My goal is to have a physical activity lasting at least one hour in which we both participate. Swimming, cycling, hiking, walking and playing in the park were some of my ideas.

Focused on What Really Mattered, Becoming A Machine Caitlin@HealthyTippingPoint

When I stopped focusing on “Getting Fit, Not Thin,” I stopped counting calories.  After 8 months of meticulously logging my every bite of food in a Excel spreadsheet, I stopped caring whether or not my green beans had 50 or 60 calories in them. I started to care about how fast my mile splits where, how many push-ups I could do, and whether I felt energized by my workouts.  “Gettin Fit, Not Thin” allowed me to focus what really matters – and I’m happier, healthier, and more balanced than I ever was before.

Thin is Superficial, Fitness is a Lifestyle Josie@YumYucky

If I am only thin. That is all I am. But what about strong, energetic, physically capable, and healthy on the inside? Thin is superficial, but Fitness is a lifestyle that gives back and leads to benefits beyond what “thin” has to offer. I choose to be Fit.

My Goal Is To Be Healthy Cynthia@ItAllChanges

When I was heavier I thought the goal was always to be thin like the models on TV and in magazines. But when I injured my back and spent a year working towards surgery I just wanted to be healthy.  After surgery I just wanted to be able to get back to my love for running.  I stopped worrying about the number on the scale and worried about what my body could do.  Now I am at a happy goal weight I am by no means thin but I’m fit and can do things I never thought I could do pre or post surgery.  My body is strong and is mine not some model on TV or in magazines.  And that’s just fine by me.

To Use Every Ounce I Have Me

  • Being proud of what I can push my body to do
  • Loving the way my ass looks in jeans
  • NEVER worrying about what number the scale has
  • Learning to eat so I can excel when I exercise
  • Enjoying the trim, toned, and fit appearance of my body

Your turn: What does ‘Getting Fit, Not Thin!’ mean to you? Have you switched from wanting to be thin, to wanting to be fit? Do you struggle?

68 thoughts on “Getting Fit, Not Thin!

  1. FLG says:

    Freaking awesome post! I think I switched from wanting to be thin to wanting to be fit a while ago, when I started playing sports with the boys. Ever since then, my goal was always to be able to compete with them. Play as hard as them, not take any breaks, always be up for the game. Now I can do that, mostly. In fact, a lot of the reason now for my wanting to lose weight is just so I can be lighter to be able to run faster 😀 Have a better power:weight ratio for running 😀

    • Mish says:

      That’s TOTALLY how I feel about running. I can tell that with my weight gain it’s more laboured and I hate how I bounce/giggle. Having the negative ‘you’re fat’ out of my head and replaced with ‘you’re gonna be a running machine’ keeps me going.

  2. Yum Yucky says:

    Hello! This post is awesome! I love the journey you take us through and how it ends with a team of quotes to bring your point home. I know it will make a difference for some people who don’t really get Thin vs. Fit….until now!

    And lemme tell you, you have a vibrant smile, no matter how much you weigh. Keep that smile, my friend!

  3. Amy says:

    I love being strong. I’m never going to be a waif and that’s fine, but I love competing in tris and races – even when I only compete with myself. When I can see my triceps when I flex I feel powerful and sexy!

    • Mish says:

      Girl…I know what you’re talking about. I was told (by one of my close guy friends) ‘Mish you got them birthin’ hips’. I took it as a compliment 🙂

  4. Reluctant Blogger says:

    I think age did it for me. As you get older it is harder to be and stay fit. If you don’t look after your body you get injuries – and yes, that includes eating properly. I need to build up good muscle tone and therefore I have to eat sensibly.

    The biggest check I have on actual weight is my back. If I put on a few extra pounds these days my back starts to ache immediately – and it aches all day and stops me being able to sit and work or sleep – so I know that either I am over-eating (at Christmas say) or not doing enough (when it was too snowy to run) and I do something about it cos I can’t stand the ache.

    • Mish says:

      I can REALLY tell in my that I am carrying more weight. It’s just harder and that makes me more determined to run more.

  5. Erin says:

    This post is incredible. It really hit home this morning — I’m going to bookmark it so I can look back on it later, too.

    When I was heavier, I always had a goal weight in mind. I got to that weight by healthful means, thankfully, but once I got there, I wasn’t fit, just thin. Now my goal is to exercise, eat healthfully and become a fit person/athlete. The number on the scale doesn’t matter nearly as much as how I look and feel.

    • Mish says:

      I am glad that it worked it impacted you. Sometimes just seeing it and/or hearing it in a different way or on the right morning impacts. Keep up the amazing work and let me know your progress.

  6. Shannon Fab Fattie says:

    What a healthy way to look at weight loss and finding your healthy self.
    I hope everyone on a weight loss journey can get to this point. It changes the direction of the course to a happy loving place.
    Thanks Mish for that wonderful idea and sharing your story.
    BTW I totally agree with Josie about your vibrant smile 😉

  7. amandapanda1981 says:

    Wow your photos are amazing by the way. Yes, I got rid of my scale and not focus not on the numbers but on my health and also being fit. It is a struggle but I feel much better.

  8. sweettater says:

    this is a fantastic post. congratulations on your healthy life. i love your collection of stories from the other bloggers. it’s very reassuring to see that a lot of us have shared similar struggles and triumphs. i love bloggers. 🙂

  9. Mandy says:

    I love this post. I’ve definitely been through a lot of what’s been mentioned.

    And I’m just now trying to be happy with my weight. Instead of focusing on the number.

  10. Sarah Mitchell says:

    This is a really powerful post. I honestly believe that having a healthy (fit) body is the only way to achieve a trim (thin) body. I’ve spent too many years getting the proverbial cart in front of the horse. The interesting thing is that when your body is really fit – fueled, rested and exercised correctly – you feel like you can take on the world.

    I appreciate you generosity in giving me a platform to share my own experiences. THANKS!

  11. Elisabeth says:

    I absolutely felt this shift. In fact, I’m feeling it still. Although I’ve been “better” for almost 3 years now (treatment for bulimia completed), I recently realized that I’ve been fighting all this time to find my own “balance”.

    I haven’t been concerned with losing weight or counting calories, and I focus on just listening to my body. In order to not focus on weight-related goals, I don’t weigh myself (good way to not care, right)? However, I know when I’ve been laying the food on a little too thick, because my clothes start to get snug.

    Last year, I ran my first 1/2 marathon, 15K, and marathon (in that order). It was my first full year post-treatment, and I was determined to set fitness goals rather than weight goals. I wanted to see what my body could do for me.

    I got injured…for nearly 6 months, and all throughout marathon training and the actual marathon. I was heartbroken that I was going to have to walk most of my marathon, but I didn’t want to quit. I learned an important lesson: I will only get out of my body what I put into it. I wasn’t eating the best that I could, I wasn’t doing the things that my body needed me to do (strength training, stretching, etc.).

    So…I started back at square 1 after my marathon in October. Since then, I’ve been focused on fitness. I went from focusing on weight to focusing on running to now focusing on fitness. I think that in order to truly maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle for the rest of our lives, we need to make this transition. If the changes are going to last, then we have to eventually fall in love with being fit.

  12. Jenelle says:

    I LOVE this. So much. This is a message that I wish everyone would understand. You are beyond inspiring and your blog helps keep me going every day 🙂

    My goal when losing weight was never to be thin, but to treat my body right and be as healthy as I could be. This meant taking off the excessive amount of weight I’d put on that was stopping my organs from functioning at their best. But once I got there, the fit vs. thin dilemma presented itself to me too. I overexercised and under-ate and got down to a weight I never though I’d get to. But I, too, was tired and gained it back.

    Now, as I’m restarting fresh this year I’m finding more pride in the muscles and definition I’m finding while doing The Shred. I look at the scale and am fine with the fact that it’s not moving dramatically because I know that regardless of what it says, my body is getting stronger. It’s hard to stop identifying with the number, but once you do it’s freeing.

  13. eaternotarunner says:

    This is an amazing post. Seriously.

    To me being fit means being strong inside and out, and loving me just the way I am!

  14. Lara (Thinspired) says:

    “To use every ounce I have,” is a very powerful idea. I think you and I have had similar experiences with weight loss/weight re-gain and bingeing. It is such a vicious cycle. It looks like (through blogging?) you have really made peace with it.

    • Mish says:

      I am resound to the fact that it will always be something that I will have to be aware of, due to emotions, but yes…I feel like I am turning a MAJOR corner! 🙂 Thank you for inspiring me.

  15. NewMe says:

    Excellent, excellent post.

    Alas, now that I have finally realized how great exercise would be and that I really want to exercise, my arthritis has gotten too bad for me to do what I want. I can do very gentle yoga, some ankle and hand weights and some walking (but not fast) but the only cardio that I can do involves the pool and that’s way too time consuming for my life (two teenagers, husband, job, house). And I’m only in my early 50s.

    It’s pretty depressing, but I just have to soldier on. Maybe one day, I’ll have a knee replacement, though having suffered through a failed hip replacement, followed by an acceptable (though not great) revision, I am very afraid to go under the knife again.

    My advice to everyone: if you can, do it now. You never know what the future brings.

    Sorry for the boo-hooing.

    • Mish says:

      Thank you for sharing that. We all have your limitations and it’s great that you’re doing yoga and lifting weights–you could choose to do nothing. Remember to track and praise your little daily successes…that’s all that matters.

  16. Greta says:

    I am newish to your blog so had never seen the “before” pics. Your transformation is incredible…a true inspiration! My quest is also one of fitness….not thinness. I want to get to a weight where it is easier for me to run…and where my legs are not so flabby on the outside….but..mostly I want to get stronger and more fit both inside and out. I am focused on eating WELL…not just low cal…and on getting stronger and faster. One day at a time. 🙂 Thanks for the post and the great info.

    • Mish says:

      You’re welcome. I’ve wrote a earlier in the comments that since gaining weight I’ve really noticed how much harder it is for me to run. It just makes me want to run even more 🙂

  17. Jessica says:

    Yeah, this post rocks. I will certainly read it more then once : ) Great way to look at things, I think that we all could use a reminder every now and again!

    Fit, healthy, happy & balanced is what it is all about!

  18. Diane Fit to the Finish says:

    Amazing post! It’s interesting that getting fit often results in lost weight BUT it also brings about huge leaps in self esteem. Because being fit on the outside often causes us to improve our mental and emotional fitness as well!

  19. Hope @ Hope's Journey says:

    Seriously, what a great post! I just switched my point of view from trying to be thin, to trying to be all-over healthy. If that means that I have a little fat on my thighs, then so be it. I’m a tall girl (like yourself, it appears..5’11”) and I’m not going to be SUPER skinny like some girls that I see. I’ve come to accept that, and love my body for what it is, not what it can be.

    The only time that I really struggle is at the gym, when I do something that I’ve done, a million times before, such as a spin class, that I can barely do, when most of the time I can do it with ease. That’s the only thing that seems to throw me. But I shrug it off and keep going.

    I also really loved what Shannon had to say. 🙂

    Have a great day!


  20. missharleyquinn says:

    Awhile back I was at the local YMCA and was star struck by a swimmer in the lap pool. There she was; arms strong and powerful, slicing through the water like she meant business and was going somewhere amazing. Her legs propelled her with swiftness and grace. I waited, unabashedly staring to see this mermaid in Billings emerge from the pool. To my delight and surprise the magnificent swimmer was a fierce woman of about 85 years old. Let me tell you, that woman was grand and she knew it too! She owned that pool and put everyone to shame with her strength and fortitude. That was the place, that was my moment…when I knew that caring about only and just being skinny would make me just that “only and just skinny”…that was settling, I wanted fierce. 🙂 I work it so when I’m 85 I am strong and proud and wear my skin like the mantle of a queen!

  21. louisianagrown says:

    Even for someone who has been “thin” her entire life, this is so inspiring. I go through times when I’m very happy with my body, and I run and do yoga and eat what I want. Then eventually I’ll take the eating too far and gained some weight. It is such a mental struggle to remind myself that I am still fit and there is nothing wrong with me. Thank you for everything you share.

    • Mish says:

      Thank you for writing this. Sometimes I can imagine someone reading EJ would think ‘well I am thin, what’s so going on about’. But I think that you hit the nail on the head. No matter what size you are…being fit is important.

    • Mish says:

      It’s robbing people of their ability to love themselves…which in turn robs them of enjoying life. It’s beyond sad.

  22. Jody - Fit at 52 says:

    What an amazing & inspirational post!!!! Thank you!

    Being fit to me is not thin but strong & healthy & with muscles. I know some people don’t like how muscular I am but I like it & at 52, I love it! When I was young, it was all about trying to be thin.. now it is about being fit & strong

  23. Michele | aka Raw Juice Girl says:

    Phenomenal story! So inspiring!

    I’ve lost over 100 pounds and although I’m not a stick figure now, I am so much healthier than I was. Most people tell me I shouldn’t lose anymore weight. If a few more pounds come off naturally as my body shifts and changes (I’ve started practicing yoga), then so be it – but I’m not going to focus on being a Skinny Minnie; my focus is on living longer, happier, and healthier!

    So glad I followed over from Twitter!

    And congratulations on your amazing accomplishment!


  24. Mindy says:

    Sweet post – I can so relate. Went from 255 to 158 (for 10 minutes!) and gained 40. Lost a few now but all of this yo-yo-ing has killed my metabolism so if I don’t get fit, I’ll not be losing anything. I need the muscle and I want to join the leagues of c25k-ers out there and RUN. Your post reinforced my own thoughts and newly re-vamped goals. Thanks so much.

  25. Jenn says:

    WOW! I am not sure if it is my current state of mind, the sappy music I am listening to or the fact that that was the best blog post I have ever read! I teared up reading about the starvation and the birthday post. I am so proud of you and your mental transformation! I dont really care about the pictures! I think you have truly become a goddess in your journey and are all the better for it! Way to go and thanks for sharing with the world!

    • Mish says:

      Thank you. It’s so true about being teary isn’t it? Man, there are SO many times when I’ll read a post and get the misty look in my eyes. Thanks for commenting.

  26. hundredtenpounds says:

    This is such a great post! When I was 250 I wanted to be THIN. I wanted to weigh 150. I got to 150 and decided I want to lose more. I got down to 143. Then I gained 15+ back. Now that I’m back at trying to lose that 15 pounds I’m more preoccupied about training for my upcoming bike race and training for a half marathon (someday). Focusing on fitness and achieving specific goals has helped distract me from obsessing about the number on the scale.

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