Yesterday was the first weigh-in for Pounds Off Plainview. It’s an 8-week competition in which teams of 4-6 people compete against each other to have the greatest percentage of weight loss each week and also overall. There are prizes after every week and another at the very end. I decided to get involved with it, as I expect that this 8 weeks will be enough to get me to the very end of my weight loss efforts.
Included in this first weigh-in was a body fat analysis. I’ve been painfully curious to see what my percentage was and how it has changed since I began losing weight. The nurse place four adhesives on various parts of my body and attached little jumper cable-looking things to the adhesives which enabled electrical currents to be sent through my body and the findings to be registered on the plastic box connected to the other end of the cables.
The results were actually stunning.
According to this, I am 22.7% body fat, and am only 2 lbs away from the “ideal” 20% for my age and sex. The more I pondered this the more I realized that maybe I just don’t understand what 20% body fat looks like, because I feel like I’m closer to 25%. However, if I assume that my last body fat analysis was correct and I consider that 20% of weight loss is typically from muscle, the idea that I’ve lost 35 lbs, 8 of which from muscle, and 5% body fat actually does make some sense. Perhaps, unlike many other women who are in the range of 20-23% body fat, mine just like to hang out in one area of my body. Perhaps it’s all just sitting on top of my organs and muscles instead of being tucked under, in between, and throughout all the goods. Maybe I’m just not that marbled?! Haha!
Anyway. I’ve accepted that my body weight and body fat percentage are healthy, but that doesn’t mean I’m done. Several people in my group wonder why I’m trying to lose weight. The issue isn’t because I think I’m fat or overweight or that I have low self esteem and think I could “afford to lose 5 lbs.” No. I started out at 180. I’ve lost 35 lbs so far, and I’m just not done. I’ve brought my weight to a healthy range, my body fat percentage to a healthy range, and the last order of business is getting my waist-to-hip ratio into a healthy range. You see, having a ratio of .8 or more puts one at risk for serious diseases such as heart disease later in life, since too much fat is basically surrounding all my vital organs. Since heart disease is the number one killer of women in the United States, and I come from a sick (diabetes, hypertension, cancer, etc.) family, I don’t want to take any chances. If I was “pear-shaped,” I’d be just fine. But unfortunately I’m “apple-shaped” and my excess fat likes to distribute all around my midsection and sit happily atop my comparatively slimmer hips (US size charts say my hips are a size 6, but my waist is a size 14. I wear 10’s). For this reason, it would be in my better interest to reach a bit lower in my healthy BMI range and dip into what’s considered “athletic” body fat %. Yes, I’d like to be fit, but my overall health is still what drives me, and it’s the reason I’m part of this group.
And according to my calculations, considering possible muscle loss during these next 15 lbs (or not. it really doesn’t make a difference), changes in body fat, and the rate at which I’ve been losing inches around my waist, my target weight seems about right as far as body fat % and waist-to-hip ratio goes. Even though my weight watchers goal is 138, my personal goal is the 130-135 range (the WW goal would act as a wall letting me know that if I creep up that far, I need to make some changes).
Having a healthy hip-to-waist ratio. Wow. That will be a first in my ENTIRE LIFE.