I’m a skinny fat girl

by cheri

Finding my muscles again–those buried alive by sub-cutaneous flesh made uber-fleshy from inactivity and/or chardonnay and crab cakes–has been tough but satisfying.

You will remember that my self-inflicted regimen of torture began on the day I discovered I could not execute one lousy push-up. (To be honest, the seed was also planted when I tried on bathing suits last May in a Tommy Bahama store.)  I can do 9 push-ups now.


Yesterday, I learned that I cannot do one stinky sit-up. The whole rediscovery of muscles who now mutter every day in an achy grievance like  lazy teenagers has been humbling, especially for a girl like me who looks pretty good in my clothes.

The gym is small, so I cannot hide.

My ebullient and bubbly personality magnetizes a varied combination of people: old men (over 78 years old…the 80-year-olds will not leave me alone), young men who for some reason like my energy and offer to be my workout partner , and Indian women, whose personalities gel perfectly with mine  (we like to laugh and we wear skin-tight workout clothes that make us look tight and shrink-wrapped when in reality, should a seam explode, lots of wiggly stuff would emerge with a big-time g-force.)

Yesterday, one of the young men–I believe Rudy is his name–commended my focus, my determination, my reps ( I’d done 20 reps without stopping to grunt or scream). My focus? I was sitting, legs spread apart, on a machine that works the pectoral muscles.

I laughed. I smiled. Ha, Ha, I thought. I need to come here more often where someone will notice my pecs. And then he said “it.”

Cheri, you are what we call a “skinny fat girl.”

My pecs dropped farther down than they already are. My big smile and pearly teeth kept their focus but inside, I knew he had stated the truth with a capital F.

Thanks, Rudy. I’ll file that comment in my motivation folder.

And so it goes.

About Cheri

Writer, artist, cable television host, grandmother to four!
This entry was posted in Education, Life and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to I’m a skinny fat girl

  1. You make me laugh, Cheri. I recently attended a conference in Stowe, VT with my most athletic girlfriend who bikes 30 miles a day for fun in medium nice weather. “Want to climb Mt. Philo in Charlotte, MJ? It’s such a beautiful day.” I responded as any sane person would, “Is it difficult?” Guess who ended up hiking and staring at the back of her friend’s head all the while whining like a five-year-old, “Are we there yet?”

    • Cheri says:

      Hi MJ, I am glad to learn that I can still make YOU laugh.

      My girlfriend, Sharon (see comment below) walks miles and miles each day. Your hike up Mt. Philo sounds like my hike five years ago up Camelback Mountain in Phoenix. I never made it to the top.( At least you did!) My friend Ken had to wait for me to recover and then escort me down.
      Have a peaceful (and hopeful) Thanksgiving, MJ.

  2. Richard says:

    So much for civil Rudy.

  3. Sharon says:

    Well, as I see it, look where you were and where you are now! 8 push-ups ahead, and less of a skinny- fat girl! Heck, I just wish someone said I was skinny… Would work for me:)

    • Cheri says:

      I remember teaching tone and connotation. I used the words “skinny, slender, anorexic, thin,” and had students rate which words had positive connotations and which words were negative.

      Skinny ranked second behind anorexic.

      You look very good, my friend.

  4. wkkortas says:

    As one of my co-workers once said about himself “Hey, I’m in great shape. That shape just happens to be pear.” As far as your tone-deaf trainer, I’m going to have to contradict what Joe Strummer sang so long ago, as it’s clear that Rudy can fail.

  5. Christopher says:

    “……young men who for some reason……..offer to be my workout partner…….”

    Are you, peradventure, the youngest woman in these gym classes? If so, this, rather than your energy, may be why you’re not short of young men wanting to workout with you.

    And, if you’re not the youngest woman there, well…..what can I say that you already don’t know.

    I do hope for the sake of your family, friends, community, and reputation, that you’re being careful to play “hard to get”.

    • Cheri says:

      Very funny, Christopher. I am one of the oldest in the room (except for the 70 and 80-year-olds. Truth be told, it’s a pretty harmless bunch of slightly overweight people trying to get in shape. I am having a lot of fun there. Do you work out?

  6. shoreacres says:

    I wonder if anyone uses the phrase “pleasingly plump” any more? It used to be right at hand, a lovely euphemism — or not, depending on someone’s taste.

    I don’t care what anyone says. I admire those eight pushups, and what it took to get there. My own little journey is equally slow — only six pounds gone since we began these regimes — but, on the other hand, it’s all been downward, with none of the up and down and up that usually has been my fate. However imperfectly, I am changing my eating habits. We’ll see if I can get that ten off by Thanksgiving. Maybe I get take off ten before you achieve ten!

    • Cheri says:

      Well, congratulations on your shedding 6 pounds. It’s interesting how just slight changes to eating patterns can have positive and long-lasting results. I remember reading somewhere that if one were to walk several miles everyday and eat exactly the same diet, one would still lose about 10 pounds a year. Imagine the results if exercise is increased and certain foods avoided (for the most part).

  7. Christopher says:

    You don’t *have* to be thin, you know.

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