Tuesday, August 19, 2008

So this is how body image problems develop

I went to a medical spa recently where all my measurements got taken. Here's what took place:

Spa: Ma'am Frances, for your height of 5'4", you're underweight at 105 lbs. But your body is 20% fat. Although normal range is 20-22% for women, better if you're about 15-18%. So you're underweight but fat.

Me: I'm fat? But I need to gain weight?

Spa: Yes, ma'am. You need 10 to 15 lbs pa po. But see this flab on your upper arms and belly? That's fat. So you know that saying skin-and-bones? You're skin-fat-and-bones. It should be skin-muscle-and-bones.

Me: I'm fat.

Spa: Well, looking at you, obviously you're not. You're very very slim. You need to get rid of your fat first with cardio exercises and less fat in your diet. More protein. Then when your fat is lessened, you can start building up your muscles. Again, you need to gain 10 to 15 lbs of pure muscle. Less fat, more muscle.

Me: I'm fat!

Later at home I wail to my husband as he washed the dishes.

Me: Apparently I'm within normal range at 20% fat but instead of that comforting me, she goes, "Better if you're about 15-18%" range.

Vince: Michael Jordan was famously 9% body fat.

Later, I gripe to a friend, Ruby, who replies giddily, "Oh, I'm only 12% body fat!"

Sigh. These days, I stare at my thin self in the mirror with utmost dissatisfaction. Better start hitting the gym and stop eating all the junk I love. *sniff* *sob*


  1. Hi Frances! I think I heard a news before of banning models with less than 18% BMI.

    Okay, I googled the news for you..


    So don't fret with 20% fat..unless you want to be banned as a fashion model ;)

  2. hahaha, natawa ako sa you are thin, but you have more fat than what's necessary. i think that's also my problem. i am thin but i have this stored fats in my tummy.

    yaan mo na. it's nothing a little diet and exercise couldn't solve.

  3. Ya, sad ako. It's kinda weird to be looking at a thin you in the mirror and hearing a professional say you're fat.

    She did say that the older we get kasi, the more muscle mass we lose, especially women. And the muscle is replaced by fat so even if you're thin, you're still not healthy. So we have to work harder to keep the muscle (which supports the bones) or else we'll have trouble when we're old na.

    Ha! Even then. I'm NOT fat. And if I were fat, medically speaking, then I'm the hottest FAT person I know! =P Hahaha. Joke!

  4. Well medically and mirror-ly speaking, I know I'm fat. But my husband also thinks that I'm the sexiest fat person he will ever know. :p

    Hay naku... i just wrote a blog on my mom-in-law and sis-in-law. And this whole "fat" issue is so timely. Although I didn't specify na in my entry pero one of the issues that I have with them is their penchant for slimming, dieting, healthy chuva, whatever. Nakaka-insecure dahil ang papayat nila. Eh yung MIL ko idol si Jane Fonda. At talagang aerobics enthusiast. Yung mga SIL ko naman ang hihina kumain. Eh ako itong si Miss Tamad mag-work-out at mahilig kumain. Toink!

  5. Ei, we're of the same height but I weigh 117 lbs. If you're fat, then what does that make me? Huhu. :( Yung 10lbs pa naman super-hard to lose but super-easy to gain. Hay.

  6. Jill, I will quote the wonderful Kenneth Cole: "People who exercise just die healthier."

    Halo, it's not the weight that matters daw, it's the fat content. I have to GAIN more weight pa nga raw but lose the fat. The spa said I shouldn't diet kasi I must gain weight. I have such a hard time gaining weight! It took me ten years to gain ten pounds! And now I'm told I have to gain 15 pounds more! Argh!

  7. Hi, Frances. Thanks for sharing this. I wonder if there are many who are perfectly healthy or balanced or whatever you call it. I'm definitely overweight, but I shudder to think what my fat content is. Ignorance is bliss? lol

  8. Now I'm scared to get myself analyzed too. I have a feeling I'm one of those high fat content thin-looking people too. :|

  9. There is something wrong with the world when thin people can now be considered fat. :D

  10. Hi Ivy! You can be overweight but it's muscle or bone. So just because you're not thin, it doesn't mean you're fat.

    Hey J! Don't get analyzed! It's so traumatic. Besides I already know that what she said was true anyway. I'm super skinny but I always get out of breath over the tiniest exertion. So obviously I ain't healthy!

    Hey Maris, yes, it is indeed a strange world. I do understand that the medical profession is now focusing on fat content (not your figure) but still it is a little jarring to hear I'm fat when I'm soooo skinny!


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