Skin and Bones

One thing I love about bloggers is their sheer determination to not only get out there and achieve their goals, but also encourage each other along the way to do the same.  Not going to lie: health and fitness don’t play a major part in my life. I’m not saying I’m queen of the couch potatoes, and I do tend to eat healthily and for the most part, and avoid junk food, but I wouldn’t consider myself fit in the slightest. Being part of the blogging community however has inspired me – seeing people run marathons, doing Couch to 30K challenges, shreds and daily yoga has really motivated me to take more of an active role in my own wellbeing. (If you don’t like something, change it, right?)

On top of the good I’m told it will do for my back, being in good shape was also something I wanted to tackle before the wedding (which is only three and a half months away (!!)). In the spring, I bought a used treadmill off the Internet, which, in an effort to prove I was going to suck at exercise, promptly broke within the first few months. In came the pedometer. Which still remains in its packaging. But like a fairy godmother telling me I shall go to the health and fitness ball, I received a magical text a couple of days before I left for England.

I’m moving. You want a free $2,500 treadmill?

Why yes, as a matter of fact, I did! My friend showed up with entourage of Big Strong Men, and delivered a state-of-the-art, gym-quality treadmill to my house complete with spare parts and instruction manual. I gave them $100 out of guilt and gratitude, and we said our goodbyes. Now I had no reason not to start running. Fast-forward to getting back from the trip, when my nose decided it was going to run longer and faster than I ever would, and I ended up being laid up with a fever, chills, dizziness, headache, and a cough worse than a chain smoker’s. Not great for my plans to be the next Kenenisa Bekele. I had, however, been doing a fair bit in terms of being healthier: going to hot yoga for a month (before the Intro Rate turned into the Regular Insanely Expensive Rate), making Green Monsters every morning for breakfast, taking multivitamins, picking up a copy of the 30 Day Shred on DVD, and buying a weighing scale so I could make sure I stayed at a healthy weight.

Which led to my discovery: I wasn’t at a healthy weight. At all. I recently learned that I was medically underweight. A BMI of 20 or lower, I was told, equalled underweight, and a BMI of under 18.5 was considered extremely underweight and possibly malnourished, with several risks including osteoporosis, respiratory/digestive diseases, increased risk of falls or fractures, depression, lethargy, and, at the very top of the list: compromised immune function. My BMI? 18.3.

I didn’t know what to do when I got sick again last week. When I’d got my new position, my boss had told me I had half a sick day left for the rest of the year. Had I really been ill that often? I did some research, and it clicked – maybe my immune system IS compromised by my weight. I couldn’t go in, but I felt terrible – I didn’t have any more sick time, and I was needed with the startup of this new project. Meaning I’d used up all my sick time for the entire year. They were kind enough to keep me on and give me this position, and I felt like I was screwing them over by being off for another two days. I told my boss I’d take it unpaid, or work late for a few weeks, whatever was necessary, but I can’t shake the feeling that I might be seen as one of those people who call in all the time just to get time off, when in reality I was stuck at home feeling worse than I had in years. I’m worried I may lose my job over this.

Sweet got the same bug I did, but it barely affected him at all. A little sniffly and a bit of a cough, and his work and social obligations (on top of his role as Best Caregiver Ever) remained unaffected. I got hit hard, couldn’t swallow even water, alternated between sweating hot and shivering cold, and could barely drag myself out of bed. I can’t afford to keep getting sick, but on the flipside, I don’t want to gain any weight. I’ve always been complimented on being slim, and when you don’t like the way you look physically, it’s something that does make a bit of a difference in feeling better about yourself. Being a smaller framed girl, the slightest bit of weight gain is instantly noticeable, straight to my stomach after a couple of days’ eating bigger meals, and you’d swear I was 4 months pregnant. I don’t want to get bigger, but I do want to get healthier. I can’t afford to keep getting ill and I know these risks are the sorts of thing that only get worse with time. Who knows, maybe it’s contributing to the back pain, too – if I am malnourished, surely it must be more difficult for the muscles to work and regenerate properly?

I don’t know. I’m not sure what to do. So this is where I appeal to all those healthy people out there I read and am inspired by so often: what can I do to get back on track to being a healthy weight without bloating up? Your suggestions would be so very appreciated ❤

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80 comments

  1. My intake today:

    Skip breakfast.

    Peanut butter & honey sandwich and a granola bar for lunch.

    2 pieces of pizza and 6 cookies for dessert (3 in dough form, 3 baked).

    A 6-piece Chicken Mcnugget from McDonald’s for a midnight snack.

    I am not the best person to ask about this.

  2. Yep. I’m with Nate St Pierre there.

    I had no breakfast, a small iced-queencake (like a cupcake, just not as yummy) for brunch and one slice of pizza for lunch. For dinner we’re having pasta. :/

    I hope some of the other, more healthy, people can give you some advise.

  3. oh em, i’m sorry you were so sick, but its good you’re recognizing that you need to do something abuot all this. i hope your boss was understanding but i can see why you would be worried (even tho you’re too awesome for them to let go over something like this!!!)

    what about taking some kind of immune system suppllement? do you take vitamins? i think if you m ake sure you’re as healthy on the inside as possible then what you weigh doesnt really matter, obvioulsy some ppl are naturally smaller and it doesn’t mean they are unhealthy. i think taking vitamins, and maybe just adding little snacks throughout the day would do you some good…….. hope you’re feeling better this week ❤

    1. Thanks love. I can’t help but worry about my job though – it probably stems from years ago when I worked in a call centre and I was getting strep pretty much every month, and had to leave because I physically couldn’t talk for more than a couple of hours without it killing – had the surgery to remove my tonsils, and then when I went to apply for my job bank they said no “because of sick days/attendance”. It’s haunted me ever since and every time I get sick I worry my job is hanging in the balance!!

      I’m definitely going to look into supplements – I add some Greens powder to my smoothies in the morning and started taking a multivitamin last week when I started getting ill, so I’m going to try and continue that. Snacks is a good idea too 🙂

  4. Recognising that being underweight is just as unhealthy as being overweight might sound obvious but is in fact such a huge mature thing to accomplish. So many other women would be feeling some sense of pride over that, not realising or not caring that they were less healthy than the friends they’d think of as “bigger”. So to start, congratulations! The big thing to do is make sure you’re eating three meals a day, and try and throw some snacks in there. Eat healthily and make sure you feel full after each meal (again, pretty obvious.) Embrace the fact that your body is telling you it’s okay to have rice and pasta and breads and pizza. Obviously, not every meal should be carbs, and you should aim for healthy alternatives (ie, homemade pizzas as opposed to greasy takeout etc) but if you’ve been steering clear, time to jump back on the carb bandwagon! WELCOME ABOARD! 😀 Balance it out and conquer bloating with exercise, moderation and lots of fruit, veggies and water! 🙂

    1. Haha, thank you so much for the tips!! I do eat three meals a day, though they’re little meals. I find I get full way faster than most people and consequently eat much smaller portions because I guess it’s something innate to not to eat past when you’re full? I am liking the snacking idea throughout the day though – I find I get really hungry part way through the morning and before I leave work, too, so that might help balance things out a little bit.

  5. Well, I’m not the best person to ask in that I’m changing my numbers from the TOP down.. hehe. BUT I could suggest that you look at a profile for yourself in terms of height and weight, and maybe check out the amount of calories you’re eating vs what you SHOULD be eating? They’re only a guide but sometimes the results can surprise you. I wasn’t eating enough which was why I wasn’t losing weight. {Who would’ve thought?}

    You can gradually start upping calories and eating smaller but more frequent meals that might help you gain some weight and muscle – the exercising will help with that too. It’s not to say that you should go out and start eating crazy amounts of junk food, but even increasing healthy snacks and protein would probably do the trick.

    And if you’re really unsure, try visiting a nutritionist!

    1. I think I just might! I think Sweet’s aunt is a nutritionist or a dietician so maybe I could go and see her just for some kind of consultation. I know I’m probably not eating as many calories as I need because I don’t eat very much (contrary to what certain empty, formerly filled plates of pancakes suggest :)) to begin with – I’ll certainly try adding healthy snacks to my diet.

  6. First of all, Em, the BMI is just a guide number and you shouldn’t take too serious that your BMI is technically considered “underweight”…
    Even though you might be pretty skinny, the fact that you have a small frame attests to the fact that your BMI should naturally be more on the low side.

    I assume that starting a regular work out and building some muscle with help with a little weight gain and as long as you’re eating enough and healthy (and get all the proper nutrition), you should be totally fine. I would consider a multi-vitamin though, because if you get sick very often and more severely than other people, there is a chance you’re missing some vital supplements for your immune system.

    I think it’s great that you’re trying to be proactive in this!

    1. Thanks love. I actually live pretty close to a Vita Health which is full of supplements and healthy food (and I assume people), so I may stop in there and see what would be good – I’ve looked at immune system supplements though and they’re all dreadfully expensive and need to be taken 2-3 times per day, without meals, etc. – very costly and very awkward to schedule. But then again I haven’t looked online, just in the chemist’s – something to research maybe?

      Thanks so much for the suggestions ❤

  7. My recommendation is to get some professionals involved: doctor, nutritionist, personal trainer. They can help you put on the weight in a healthy manner, and keep it on.

    1. Yup i agree – see your Doctor/a nutritionist – they will be able to help you with what to eat to remain healthy but gain weight if necessary.

    2. My doctor’s been pretty much useless in everything I’ve ever gone to him with – I took Sweet once when we went after I got the cortisone “last resort” shots in my back and they didn’t work, and had him witness my doctor lying on his back asking “If I’ve wiggled my arms and legs around like a bug”… *sigh* so I may have to be on the lookout for someone who knows what they’re talking about 🙂 A nutritionist sounds like a great idea! Personal trainers would probably want me to go to the gym 3 x a week – and I don’t know if I’d be able to afford that 😦

      1. Just be up front about what kind of commitment – both time and finances – you’re willing to make. A good personal trainer will work with that. And keep your eyes open for another doctor. I know it can be difficult to find one that is accepting new patients, but be positive and the right person will come into your life!

  8. I am so no the person to be asking lol.
    At present my BMI stands around 30 – yup I am obese according to that – I’m 5ft2 and 165 pounds (ish). However BMI doesn’t take into account things like muscle (not that I really have any lol) and fat.

    Last week my diet was really bad I had take out like 5 times (in 7 days), so this week we are on serious mood.

    Today consisted of:
    1 diet coke (330ml can)
    2 x ribenas (500ml bottle)
    4 polos (I think this could be closer to 6 but a whole tube is 139 calories)
    coronation chicken and sweetcorn sandwich on white bread.
    Tea: haven’t got that far yet but hopefully better than take out (was on offer from my hubs as a treat because he was going out rather than hanging out with me – but I was strong and said no lol)

  9. Emily dear I think your best bet is to start taking some supplements. San is right in that the BMI isnt’ always the best thing to go by because it doesnt take into account your natural frame which for you is smaller. It doesnt mean your unhealthy, but at the same time if you notice that you’re getting hit harder and more often with sickness then its a wise thing to look into this. Have you talked to your doctor about it? Maybe you need to load up on iron or vitamin D as well as a multi vitamin every day. It sounds like your eating habits are good, so maybe you just need a bit of extra help from supplements. Good luck dear and feel better soon! xxx

  10. The first thing I recommend is getting a body composition test done. Finding out your bodyfat % can help clue you in on what you need to do. More than likely you are “skinny-fat” meaning your bodyfat ratio to lean mass is high. This is common in very thin girls. It basically means you have no muscle. Cardio excercise is great for heart health, but you might need to put on some lean mass. This can be done by weight training several days a week, and not with little 5lb weights, but REAL weight training. I recommend going to your local gym, meeting with a personal trainer (most gyms offer 1 session free) and getting the body composition done, and have the trainer come up with a weight lifting regimen you can do on your own to build that lean muscle. In regards to diet, increase your protein intake to complement your weight training. This will help build muscle, decrease fat, and increase your weight overall (muscle weighs more than fat! and won’t go straight to your stomach!) You will end up super lean, toned (NOT BULKY!!! Don’t worry) and looking great in your wedding dress! best of luck!

    1. Robin – thank you so much for stopping by and for such insightful advice! What you said makes a lot of sense – I’ll have to look into gyms and see if I can meet with one of the trainers 🙂 Thanks for the good advice!

  11. I’m underweight, according to my BMI, but I feel pretty healthy.

    I would follow Robin’s suggestions because I’ve been told that I’m most likely “skinny fat.”

    The way I’m trying to gain weight is by building some muscles, you know, without bulking up. My body reacts quickly to any form of exercise, so it’s just picking the right routine that I can maintain.

    1. Building muscle sounds like a good way to go. I wish I knew more about anatomy and physiology but it’s an area I’ve never really explored at all so I don’t really know anything when it comes to this sort of thing. I’m definitely researching “skinny fat” now though 🙂

  12. I’m definitely no expert, but as someone who has struggled with weight and fitness her whole life, I’ve done a whole lot of reading and talked to a whole lot of pros.

    So… while I think you should most definitely consult a nutritionist or maybe even a trainer, it sounds like you’re lacking muscle weight. Muscle weighs more than fat, but is obviously much leaner so as you gain muscle, you don’t necessarily gain inches (just some sexy definition lol!)

    I think a lot of women are afraid of strength/weight training, worried about getting too bulked up. But the fact is, our bodies aren’t really built to do that, and it takes a whole heck of a lot of training and special diets for a woman to get “beefy.” In other words no training program you take on will get you anywhere near that.

    So, while cardio is great for your heart and metabolism, it sounds like you don’t need all that much help in the metabolism department, and should focus instead on the weights… or what’s more fun, resistance bands! They’re inexpensive and very versatile! And weights–even hand weights–can be intimidating if you’re not sure on proper form, and you don’t want to risk injuring yourself, especially your back! Whereas the resistance bands are much friendlier, easy to properly use, and did I already say fun?

    If you start to build up muscle, you’ll see your weight on the scale increase, but not so much your measurements. But be careful! Because more muscle means more calories are being burned 24/7, which means more calories (pref. proteins) need to be consumed, especially since your goal is to not lose any weight. I happen to have a great digital bathroom scale that has an attached sensor you hold in your hand while it weighs you, which measures body composition — % of fat, water, muscle… It’s great because if it says you gained 2lbs, but your fat % is down and your muscle % is up, you know those are a healthy 2lbs and nothing to fret over. 🙂

    And again, I’m no professional! This is just info I’ve absorbed over the years. At any rate, I hope you get it figured out and that your job understands! 😉

    Now, if only I could figure out how to put all my knowledge to ACTION on myself! lol

    1. Wow thank you so much for such an in depth response – I really appreciate it!! I think resistance bands might be a great idea – and I bet they’re not too costly either. Great info – thank you so much!

  13. I would agree with the muscle advice. I too have a very low BMI. I don’t worry about gaining weight, but with 10-15 k of walking each day just to get around I’m not gaining weight any time soon. But I do need some muscle.
    Also, I was getting a lot of sort of half colds a few years ago and went to a herbalist. I found out that I had food intolerances and that was causing my constant sore throats and stuffy noses.
    Doctors really don’t deal with this stuff at all, (food intolerances) but they play a huge role in your health and are almost impossible to figure out for yourself because the symptoms are delayed.
    Good luck!

    1. Thanks Jenny – I wonder sometimes if dairy plays a part in my feeling sick often – not the actual getting sick because it probably has nothing to do with immunity, but I do find I feel physically sick or nauseous after something with milk in – a big reason I stopped drinking coffee and moved on to smoothies (with almond milk :)) I may very well go and see if there’s something I’m adversely reactant to, good idea – thank you 🙂

    1. I was just going to recommend Alicia Silverstone’s book The Kind Diet…I just read it. I’ve been vegetarian since March and I’m thinking of leaning into being vegan. It’s crazy to me when I read about the impact of meat and dairy on our bodies. Hopefully you’ll let me pick your brain next week when Emily comes!!!

      1. I keep forgetting we’re ALL going to be meeting face to face next week!! 🙂 I’ve heard about that book and lots of good things about it, plus vegan diets too – the friend I had who came up to stay in July with us is vegan, and he swears he was never feeling better or healthier. I don’t know if I’d be able to do it – I thought about going vegetarian for Lent this year and ended up not doing it because of the problems with family dinners and cooking two different meals each night etc…. it’s not like I eat a tonne of meat to begin with, and I do avoid most dairy, but not to the extent that I read labels of everything to see whether or not it has eggs in it etc. It’s an intriguing idea though – I may have to give that book a shot, in any case!

  14. Sadly, I have the opposite problem. I bought a scale and realised i was technically OVERWEIGHT. Not by much, but by enough to be unhappy.

    Probably once you exercise more you will want to eat more to give your body fuel . . . and once you do that, you will put on some weight but still be toned?

    Oh, who am I kidding, I don’t have a clue really! Good luck though. 🙂

    1. Thanks so much – scales can be emotional things but the good part is that they can propel us into action! If I hadn’t bought mine I wouldn’t have been worrying about this and may have kept on getting sick and sick. Best of luck with your endeavours!!

  15. Did you know that “Ninety-eight percent of all the atoms in your body are replaced in less than one year?” (http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/ciencia/ciencia_chopra.htm)

    What replaces those atoms and makes up your body then? The air you breath, and the foods and liquids that you consume. One more reason to eat the best foods available to you as the atoms of the food you eat become the atoms of your body! Why eat foods filled with hormones, pesticides and that are genetically modified if you know that those hormones, pesticides and genetically modified foods will become you? The immune system is entirely dependent upon what you consume. It’s pretty simple and logical; if you put in junk, your body operates like junk and you feel like junk. Health is your own personal responsibility, but it is so easy to turn around once you know how.

    I take a variety of around 50 different herbs daily (not 50 everyday but whichever I feel like I could use that day) and eat predominately organic food. Some people would say that’s crazy, and all I can say in response to that is that since I’ve been taking these natural supplements for three years now I’ve never missed a day of work during that time, nor had anything even close to a cold or sore throat, and I’ve ran a marathon and am in the best shape of my life right now. So you can choose poor food and poor health or take responsibility for your health by eating healthy.

    These would be some of the top choices I could suggest (there are loads more though) but don’t take my word for it, look into the research behind them:

    1) Vitamin D
    2) Chlorella (http://www.swansonvitamins.com/SWR006/ItemDetail)
    3) Medicinal Mushrooms like shiitake, maitake and reishi (http://www.swansonvitamins.com/SN164/ItemDetail)
    4) Krill Oil (Fish oil supplements are more likely to be contaminated with mercury) http://www.swansonvitamins.com/SWE059/ItemDetail
    5) CoQ10 (http://www.swansonvitamins.com/SWU035/ItemDetail)
    6) Cacao (http://www.swansonvitamins.com/SW1257/ItemDetail)
    7) Goji Berry also known as wolfberry (http://www.swansonvitamins.com/SWH149/ItemDetail)
    8) Maca (http://www.swansonvitamins.com/SWH076/ItemDetail)
    9) MSM (good detoxifier) (http://www.swansonvitamins.com/SWU655/ItemDetail)

    I’d also suggest looking into a man by the name of David Wolfe. He’s the Eckhart Tolle of nutrition and health. You can find plenty of his advice for free on torrents and youtube.

    Nature provides more than enough for us to be healthy and 99.9% of human evolutionary history we made due with natural, organic foods and medicines. Only in the past 80 years or so have humans begun to rely on “man-made” foods and medicines, and look at the overall health of the population now; it’s probably at its worst in our evolutionary history.

    What’s even more powerful of a motivator is if you look into the study of epigenetics and see how the choices we make affect our offspring genetically. See this article about how rats fed junk food pass down a greater cancer risk through multiple generations of offspring: http://www.naturalnews.com/029198_cancer_epigenetics.html

    So what you choose to do doesn’t just affect you, it affects multiple generations of your offspring. There’s a moral obligation to take health seriously if I ever saw one.

    End lecture! haha

  16. Did you know that “Ninety-eight percent of all the atoms in your body are replaced in less than one year?” (http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/ciencia/ciencia_chopra.htm)

    What replaces those atoms and makes up your body then? The air you breath, and the foods and liquids that you consume. One more reason to eat the best foods available to you as the atoms of the food you eat become the atoms of your body! Why eat foods filled with hormones, pesticides and that are genetically modified if you know that those hormones, pesticides and genetically modified foods will become you? The immune system is entirely dependent upon what you consume. It’s pretty simple and logical; if you put in junk, your body operates like junk and you feel like junk. Health is your own personal responsibility, but it is so easy to turn around once you know how.

    I take a variety of around 50 different herbs daily (not 50 everyday but whichever I feel like I could use that day) and eat predominately organic food. Some people would say that’s crazy, and all I can say in response to that is that since I’ve been taking these natural supplements for three years now I’ve never missed a day of work during that time, nor had anything even close to a cold or sore throat, and I’ve ran a marathon and am in the best shape of my life right now. So you can choose poor food and poor health or take responsibility for your health by eating healthy.

    These would be some of the top choices I could suggest (there are loads more though) but don’t take my word for it, look into the research behind them:

    1) Vitamin D
    2) Chlorella (http://www.swansonvitamins.com/SWR006/ItemDetail)
    3) Medicinal Mushrooms like shiitake, maitake and reishi (http://www.swansonvitamins.com/SN164/ItemDetail)
    4) Krill Oil (Fish oil supplements are more likely to be contaminated) http://www.swansonvitamins.com/SWE059/ItemDetail
    5) CoQ10 (http://www.swansonvitamins.com/SWU035/ItemDetail)
    6) Cacao (http://www.swansonvitamins.com/SW1257/ItemDetail)
    7) Goji Berry also known as wolfberry (http://www.swansonvitamins.com/SWH149/ItemDetail)
    8) Maca (http://www.swansonvitamins.com/SWH076/ItemDetail)
    9) MSM (good detoxifier) (http://www.swansonvitamins.com/SWU655/ItemDetail)

    I’d also suggest looking into a man by the name of David Wolfe. He’s the Eckhart Tolle of nutrition and health. You can find plenty of his advice for free on torrents and youtube.

    Nature provides more than enough for us to be healthy and 99.9% of human evolutionary history we made due with natural, organic foods and medicines. Only in the past 80 years or so have humans begun to rely on “man-made” foods and medicines, and look at all the overall health of the population now; it’s probably at its worst in our evolutionary history.

    What’s even more powerful of a motivator is if you look into the study of epigenetics and see how the choices we make affect our offspring genetically. See this article about how rats fed junk food pass down a greater cancer risk through multiple generations of offspring: http://www.naturalnews.com/029198_cancer_epigenetics.html

    So what you choose to do doesn’t just affect you, it affects multiple generations of your offspring. There’s a moral obligation to take health seriously if I ever saw one.

    End lecture! haha

  17. You know that I just started my personal crusade to losing some weight. So far so good, and I appreciate your comment on my post.

    With that said, it seems like you’re getting a lot of fantastic advice via comments, Emily. Talking to a nutritionist and a personal trainer seem like the best avenues for getting on track with getting healthy. Keep in mind that once you do start getting more physically active, the scales will probably tend to show that you’re “heavier” since muscle IS heavier than fat. BUT, that type of weight gain (muscle) is acceptable in my book and probably will be in yours, too. 🙂 You can do it!

      1. Thanks – I worry because I’m the kind of person who’ll attribute ANY extra weight to being BAD, so I do worry about putting on “muscle weight” and being able to tell the difference between it and just plain old fat… a special scale may be what I need?

  18. I’m with Nate + Sleepyjane. I had popcorn + ice cream for dinner last night, and carrot cake for lunch. And since I’ve somehow fallen off the going to the gym/c25k wagon in the last few weeks I’m putting on weight I don’t want (no seriously, I’m beginning to not fit into my ‘hot’ jeans). While I recognize that its mostly now, 10 months after the breakup, I’m returning to pre-break up weight, I’m not happy about it. But that doesn’t help you much, hey 🙂 I’d say there have been heaps of good advice, nutritionists and personal trainers . . . hopefully you’ll find something that works! Being sick all the time definitely isn’t awesome. Happy thoughts, hey x

    1. Thanks love ❤ There definitely has been a tonne of good advice (thank you so much everyone!!), and there's power in recognition – of being over, under, or just an undesired weight. I hope you find your happy medium soon! 🙂

  19. I was going to chime in but it looks like all the good advice has been said! I’m for seeing a nutritionist – not just to help you learn what to eat but also to guide you to which supplements are actually helpful – and doing weight training to build muscle, which is probably what you need. It’s great for your bones, too.

  20. Pingback: Body Workout 101
  21. Lots of good advice here already. I would suggest the nutritionist, or at least start a food diary so you can see how many calories you’re taking in every day. SparkPeople.com can help with this, and seeing how many calories you should be eating a day. And also definitely get involved in exercise, everything from cardio to strength-training.

    Being underweight can be just as scary as being overweight so I would definitely do what you can to get your BMI to a normal range, although your frame is small so you would probably be more on the low-end of your weight range anyway.

  22. Not that I’m the best person to go to for healthy eating advice, but I would definitely start a food diary. That way you can see where you are currently in terms of what you’re eating and how many calories, then make changes where you can. Also, maybe try to find some books or websites/blogs about people who had to gain weight in a healthy fashion, and definitely talk to a nutritionist if you can. That way you can see how other people do it in a manageable, healthy way.

    1. I think a tracking system is a really great idea. Maybe I’m just not eating enough, and having a log of what I’m eating and being able to add up the calorific value at the end of the day may be just what I need – thanks for the tip 🙂

  23. I think the first step is acknowledging that you could probably benefit from gaining a bit of weight… There is a healthy way to go about it, but that’s probably something a dietician can help with? I think doing some strength training is also good as muscle tends to add weight, but not so much ‘bulk’ to your body…

  24. Don’t worry about gaining weight. Gain muscle by exercising. This is going to put on a few pounds, but you will be all-around a healthier person. Make sure you are eating enough protein too!

  25. Look up mediterranean diets. Incredibly healthy, shock-full of veggies (that’s the trick!), and non-tummy forming. ha. But really, all my cousins look like beautiful models because they eat this diet all the time. It’s a way of life for them. It’s a way to bulk up a little without putting on a ton of weight 🙂

    You might need a little more protein in your life, also? I’m not an expert…and someone else mentioned asking a pro, which is the BEST idea 🙂

    Good luck to you em, and feel better soon!

    1. Thanks everyone. I’m definitely going to consult a nutritionist after all this advice! I’m intrigued by the mediterranean diet idea – I love the med! And come to think of it, the Greek people I know have great physiques too 🙂

  26. I don’t really know what more I can add to all of the great advice already given! 🙂 I agree with those who have mentioned a food diary (so that you can see how many calories you’re actually eating and adjust accordingly), getting into a regular exercise routine with both cardio and strength training, taking multi-vitamins (I take one daily along with a probiotic dairy drink and a Green Monster smoothie), and as a last resort, seeing a nutritionist. This might also help you: I have also been trying to eat 4-5 smaller meals or snacks spread out throughout the day. Three big meals a day isn’t really an option for me because I get full after only eating a tiny bit of food. Maybe even though you’re eating three meals a day, you’re not getting enough from each meal to get the proper amount of calories for the day. Just a thought, I’m not expert afterall! 🙂

    1. I think you’re onto something with the smaller meals – I tend never to finish a full proper meal either, so maybe I’m just not eating enough – the trick may very well be to increase the frequency, not the portion sizes! Thanks for sharing the tip 🙂

  27. I just read The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone and I loved it. I’ve read a lot lately about what we eat and about being vegetarian/vegan. I could see how it could go along with the Mediterranean diet like Ashley said because it’s based on raw foods, grains, and nuts. I’ve been vegetarian since March and then just this week started moving towards vegan by cutting out dairy like cheese and yogurt and *gasp* ice cream even. The main reason I would recommend the book is because it does talk about how certain foods work in your body and how they effect you. It’s an interesting read. I’ve been entering my food at http://www.myfitnessplanner.com so I can make sure I’m getting enough protein and iron, especially because I’m breastfeeding. When I saw my OB last week I asked her about supplements and she had no clue. She did say it would be a good idea to keep track of what I’m eating for a month and then take that to a dietician to assess and see what I need to change and what supplements I need. If you have a friend or relative that is a dietician see if they’ll do a consultation with you. I’m trying to decide if I’m gonna spend the money to see someone, for now I’ve just been reading as much as I can. I pulled out Dr. Oz’s book You, Staying Young (my parents gave it to me a few years ago) just to see what it might say about being veggie/vegan and it doesn’t say anything about it, but for every issue or problem it looks at, it does talk about eating more veggies or nuts or supplements which supports the idea of a raw food diet. Craziness. Keep us posted!!!

    1. Wow, I had no idea there were such things as raw food diets!! I don’t know if I could give up my oatmeal lol! 🙂 I hear NOTHING but amazing things about vegetarian and vegan diets – I just don’t know what I’d do because I’m not the biggest fan of vegetables. I guess I need to prioritise whether I like my food or my health better!! I’m definitely going to pick up The Kind Diet – you’re about the 5th person that’s raved about it so I have to give it a look!

  28. Talk to David’s aunt! I agree with everyone that’s suggested healthy snacks throughout the day. Almonds! If you can’t eat much in one sitting, then smaller, more frequent meals (and snacks) can help.

    1. Absolutely trying this. I went to the shop across the road at work today and picked up some fibre and fruit bars and some little probiotic yoghurts to have during the day at work, it’s a start 🙂

  29. Hey Emily, I don’t think you should worry about BMI. BMI is an archaic method of determining personal health, BMI categories do not take into account many factors such as frame size and muscularity. The categories also fail to account for varying proportions of fat, bone, cartilage, water weight, and more. The most important thing is what you are eating. I don’t mean just avoiding the bad foods, but making sure your getting all the right nutrition your body needs from food! We are what we eat after all. Most store bought Vitamin and Mineral supplements are derived from synthetic processes that do not happen in nature. Make sure that if you are taking any kind of supplements that they are derived from whole foods!

    Have you tried taking wheatgrass? Its the best thing in the world for your body. (aside from green smoothies, which I suspect are what you call “Green monsters.”) I had chronic allergies and a weak immune system, I would get every cold or flu within miles. After taking wheatgrass juice for a couple weeks, that all changed. I very rarely get sick anymore, and my allergies to everything in sight are gone. A shot of wheatgrass gives me such a ‘ZING’ in the morning that it has actually replaced my need for coffee. Wheatgrass is loaded with chlorophyll, amino acids, minerals, vitamins, and enzymes. Everything the body needs. Also if you grow it yourself, (which is super easy, its grass after all) its dirt cheap, costing about $0.25 per day. Way cheaper than man made mostly synthetic vitamins and minerals, you would buy from any health store! If your interested We can give you everything you need to get started!

    Hope this Helps
    Jeremy & Amy

  30. I am not the best person to ask about this as I don’t even want to THINK about everything I ate yesterday! Maybe there’s a nutrition website with good advice to get through something like this? Otherwise you can always have a little of my weight, free of charge 😉

  31. Hello, I just stumbled onto your blog through “Writing to reach you”…I have signed up for a subscription.

    I cant help you with this topic…Actually when you find out let me know LOL….I KNOW I am under weight and so unhealthy it prob isnt funny…seriously tho…I have been thinking about my health just recently…Mine needs to start with a trip to the doctors and go through the physical and all that…

  32. I’m sorry Emily that you’re not feeling well! I completely understand about you not wanting to gain weight, but if you gain say 10 pounds, you are still a long, long, incredibly long way from being fat or even looking fat! I promise!!!!

    Does your medical plan cover for you to see a nutrionist? I had a roommate with a similiar problem… she went to see a nutrionist who helped her figure out a way to gain weight in healthful way to incorporate fitness so that the weight gain could be a look that was more toned…

    1. It’s funny you say that; I was with one of my bridesmaids last night getting her dress fitted and the lady said a ten pound gain translates to maybe ONE inch, so numbers can be deceiving!!

      I’m going to look and see if my medical plan covers a nutritionist tomorrow! Not getting my hopes up – it’s basically $150 a month for $300/year of coverage (if you find the logic please send it my way lol!) but fingers crossed!

  33. WOW! What an awesome friend! 😉

    I had 0% body fat until I was about 24. I didn’t weight lift or exercise unless you counted running from cops here in Winnipeg. Eventually my metabolism caught up with me and the junk food I ate made me a skinny guy with a 30lb belly. That was my look until I started doing martial arts.

    I would recommend finding the p90x videos. Its useful in that it uses resistance exercises, mixed with cardio, and stretching and employees a technique called muscle confusion so your body never plateaus. If you follow the instructions you will maintain your figure as if nothing happened. But will be stronger, faster, more flexible. The irony of the system is that if you follow the diet, which I did when I did it, you will eat more food than you ever had to keep up with the routines. Then return to your regular diet and a less extreme exercise program.

    Having said that you don’t even need to buy the system, watch youtube videos, there are literally thousands of people telling you how to achiever your desired goal. Including yours, get your BMI up, eat healthy, get healthy. Good luck!

  34. You’re not gaining “weight”. You’re gaining MUSCLE. And muscle? Is HOT and SEXY.

    Get on that treadmill and get doing that 30-day shred DVD girl. DON’T think about the “weight” trust me, when you’re working out regularly your confidence will skyrocket. XO

    1. You absolutely inspired me to get on that treadmill this evening!! I’m still scared of the 30 Day Shred… maybe I’ll get used to the treadmill first, but you’re right – finishing the whole cycle DID make me feel good 🙂

  35. i would check out a site like WomensHealthMag.com … they have all sorts of tools that help you figure out the ideal number of calories you should eat every day, and how much you should work out, to achieve your goal weight. better yet, i’d consult with a doctor. regardless of the number on the scale or your BMI, the most important thing is how you feel, so i hope you’re feeling healthy soon!

    1. Figuring out how much I SHOULD be eating is probably a good place to start!! 🙂 There are so many online “calculators” but the variance is literally thousands of calories. Checking in with a doctor is probably not a bad idea, as well as that website – thanks for the tips and well wishes 🙂

  36. I agree with San that the BMI is only a guideline. You are very skinny, but if you don’t have an eating disorder, I think you will be able to tell whether you are too skinny in terms of it actually being harmful to your health (do you have enough energy, strength? do you look healthy (skin)? etc.). I am overweight so on the opposite end of the spectrum but I think that the most important thing is eating well (that is, a balanced diet, to make sure your body gets everything it needs, not too little and not too much), and I also think that if you start working out and building up muscle, you will gain weight without it necessarily showing on your frame (you’ll probably end up looking more toned but it won’t go to your belly). I am not fit at all either, so maybe I shouldn’t be giving you advice, but despite my being overweight, I have read a lot about this and have accumulated quite a bit of knowledge (because I want to lose weight and get fit).
    Maybe you could also go to your doctor and have a check-up done to find out if you are lacking any vitamins which is making you sick so frequently.

  37. Pingback: Bodies |
  38. I usually skip dinner. I believe that dinner isn’t much that important compared to breakfast and lunch. This, plus intake of supplements, helps me keep my body healthy. 🙂 Also, I found this video very informative:

    After watching this, I realized that krill oil supplements are ideal for the body, too; and not fish oil. Has anyone tried krill oil?

  39. Past research studies have confirmed the healthy benefits of consuming a traditional Mediterranean style diet. Researchers have demonstrated that this type of diet consisting of healthy quantities of extra virgin olive oil, nuts, seeds, fruits and leafy greens and largely void of excess calories from animal protein is beneficial in the prevention of developing heart disease, diabetes, stroke and dementia. Mediterranean-style foods are packed with antioxidants that aid cellular function and polyphenol-rich olive oil, shown to lower systemic inflammation and risk from many chronic diseases.^

    Please do read this useful web site
    <'http://www.healthmedicinelab.com/dust-mite-bites/

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