I started going to a gym last week. I like our gym, considering I'm not exactly in love with going to the gym in general. Mainly I'm joining to use the pool, take a class now and then, and perhaps use a few of the exercise machines. As part of the enrollment package, we got a handful of sessions with a personal trainer, which I figured would be useful in terms of learning how to use the machines, 95% of which I have no clue how to operate and would probably injure myself trying to use on my own.
Today I had my first session with the personal trainer, which consisted mainly of discussing a rather lengthy health and fitness questionnaire, clarifying my fitness goals, and taking some measurements. These measurements included the infamous caliper body fat test, which I haven't taken since I was in early high school (anyone else remember the Presidential Physical Fitness Testing?).
Anyway, according to some dubious statistics which supposedly come from the American Council on Exercise but which I couldn't actually locate on their website, I have 33.1% body fat and am therefore obese. OBESE! Now, most of you reading this have probably seen me relatively recently and can attest to the fact that, while I'm not what you'd call majorly ripped or anything, one thing I am not is obese. I calculated my body mass index, which is the governmentally accepted method of determining obesity; it's perfectly normal. It's not even in the overweight range, which, incidentally, this chart from the gym did not actually include. The chart goes from "acceptable" straight to "obese." (I demanded--okay, asked nicely--if I could take a copy of their dubious chart home with me.)
I also did a little research online and found that caliper tests vary widely in accuracy depending on who is doing the testing (big surprise) and that you're really supposed to take the average of two or three measurements (which of course my personal trainer did not do). Sigh. I know I have plenty of room for improvement--after all, I've never been quite the same since A) moving to Modesto, the land of obese people, and B) taking corticosteroids. I've also never been quite the same since meeting Rob, who increased my weight to a healthy, above-100-pounds range. Age also probably did that--I was 19 when I met him, and ten years later, I've gained about 20 pounds. But 118 pounds is NOT OBESE, I'm sorry. I might believe that if I were totally sedentary, but I exercise 2-5 times a week for 30-45 minutes.
Still, when a chart and a personal trainer tell you you're obese, even if you don't quite believe it, it still has a negative psychological effect. In other words, it put me in a really pissy mood. I'm going to go drown my sorrows in alcohol now. My friend the bottle of empty calories.