Tag Archives: body fat

Week 5 Weigh In!

Weight loss this week: 4.8 lbs
Total weight loss: 15.8 lbs

Body fat on Feb 2, 2011: 51.5%
Current body fat, Jan 7, 2012: 47.5%
Current lean body mass: 138.4 lbs

Woo hoo! I broke 15lb! I was kind of afraid I’d have another weight gain this week, because I had a couple of hungry days. You know the days I mean? The ones where you eat everything in sight, but are still hungry? Yeah, those. I stuck to the allowed foods — just ate a lot of them!

The body fat percentage is new, and I’ll only be doing it occasionally. There’s a mobile unit in this area that does hydrostatic (underwater) body fat testing. I’m going to try to get my body fat tested once a quarter.

Honestly, I hesitated putting the measurement from last February. It reflects where I was at the beginning of last year, but it doesn’t have any bearing on how I’ve changed during the (so far) 5 weeks of this challenge. As far as my challenge goes, the body fat percentage and lean body mass I got today are my starting point.

I set my ultimate goals around body fat, rather than scale weight. I want to get down to approximately 20% body fat. That’s just a round figure. If I can get lower, great! If I like how I look and feel before that, great again.

I listed my lean body mass, because that number is really important to me. I really, really, really don’t want to lose my lean body mass as I lose weight, which is one reason I lift heavy. I’ve decided, though, that if I can keep gaining strength, I’ll be happy, even if the measurement shows I’m losing muscle mass.

This was a good week. I was frustrated with the weight gain last weekend, but… I got over it. What will be, will be. I did my part. I just have to trust the process that everything will shake out over the long-term.

I didn’t work out with Jenny last weekend, and unfortunately, we aren’t going to get a chance to work out this weekend either, but my body benefitted from the extra rest. I had intended to do my five days on the treadmill Sunday through Thursday. However on Wednesday, I had an early meeting scheduled and a big deadline, so I decided to take that day off and finish up my treadmill on Friday. That worked well.

I start Pilates this coming Monday, and I’m thinking about adding a short kettlebell routine (per 4-HOUR BODY) three days a week. Maybe. I don’t want to overdo.

I have a fun day planned for today too. I’m meeting my friend Sharon for lunch, then we’re going for facials, and then an appointment. Wheeeee!

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Realistic expectations

Last time I had my body fat percentage (accurately) measured, my lean body mass was about 135. That means my body without fat — my skeleton, muscles, and organs — weighs 135lbs. If I add a healthy body fat percentage on top of that — say 20%, which is really good for a woman in her mid-40s — my weight would be 162lbs.

I’m 5’4″. Okay, really I’m 5’3.75″, but I claim 5’4″. (Don’t judge me.) According to the standard height/weight chart, a woman of my height with a large frame should weigh between 134 and 151. I’m not certain whether I have a large frame or not, but we’ll go with that.

Note that my lean body mass — no fat at all — is already within the range. To get inside the range — to weigh 151 — I’d have to cut my body fat to 12%. If a woman’s body fat falls below 12% of her total body weight, hormone production can be compromised, and menstruation can be interrupted, and therefore the risk of osteoporosis is high. Body fat below 10% in women may be indicative of an eating disorder.

How about BMI instead of height/weight? At 162, I would fall clearly into “overweight,” despite being at 20% body fat. To get to the very top of the “healthy” BMI range, I would have to weigh 145. That would put me far below 10% body fat. A little over 7%, I think. (Which I think equals dead.)

Muscle makes me strong. It makes me fit. It makes me look better, and it makes me more functional. I’m working hard to *increase* my muscle — no way I’m going to let it melt away with the fat. My goal, if you really want to know, is to increase my muscle mass to 140lbs, which would drive my “ideal” weight to 168.

My mentor is a USAW weight lifting certified coach. She is a triathlete, a Crossfit coach, and a firefighter. She has 16% body fat, but doctors and nutritionists tell her that she is OVERWEIGHT. They tell her that because the chart says she’s OBESE, she is.

At 16% bodyfat.

She doesn’t care what the charts say, because she knows how strong she is, how fit she is, and what her cholesterol and blood sugar numbers are. She knows how she feels and what she can do. (She can also look in the damn mirror. No one with any sense would say this woman is overweight. Ain’t a pick of fat on her.)

I don’t care what the charts say. I’m strong, and I’m getting stronger. I’m losing fat and getting fit. I will never be a size zero. I will never be “normal” according to those charts. And I do not care. I am doing what’s right for THIS body.

I saw a person on SparkPeople the other day who had 146lb of lean body mass whose goal weight was 135. To weigh 135 with a healthy body fat percentage, she would have to lose about 30lbs of muscle during her weight loss journey.

Is that realistic? Is it healthy? Is that in her best interest as she ages, even if it’s possible? I think she’s setting herself up to fail because of a damn chart or because of that stupid BMI. And that makes me really, really sad.

Those charts are based on a mythical “average” that doesn’t exist. Really, truly — do you want to be AVERAGE? I’ve never been average, and I sure don’t plan on starting now! I am wayyyy better than average, and I think you should be too.

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