I lost a lot of weight. Eighty pounds, to be precise. It took me a long time to accomplish, but when I was finally finished, the funniest thing happened. People told me that I was too thin. I scoffed. As if one could ever been too thin, I thought. Don’t they know how hard I’ve worked, and all I ever wanted was to be skinny? I continued to work out twice a day, often to the point of exhaustion, and it wasn’t until I fell asleep at a stop light on the way to martial arts that I realized that maybe, the naysayers might have had a point. Now that I’ve gained back a few pounds, I’ve noticed I run faster and longer, lift heavier weights, and in general, feel better.
Olympian Tanith Belbin has had a similar revelation. If you are a fan of ice dancing, you may have noticed that the skater has gained a little bit of weight – ten pounds, to be precise. A silver medal winner in the 2006 Olympics, Belbin switched coaches in 2008 and the first recommendation for the skater was to gain weight. She was not convinced, though, and realized that her hesitancy was rooted in problems with eating. She said, “I swear, I’m not eating anything and I’m exhausted and cranky and stressed and all of those things that make you gain weight even more.”
Belbin took the advice of her coach and found that the small weight gain allowed to her to be a better skater, stronger and even more beautiful on the ice. Lifts are easier for her partner because she is more able to support her weight and the weight gain has had a positive affect on their skating. She and her partner, Ben Agosto, have taken gold in both Skate America and the Cup of China, and they are heavily favored to win gold in the Olympics this year.
Shift the focus from being the thinnest possible and focus on eating healthy foods to help your body be the strongest, most energetic that it can be. You’ll be glad you did.