Stepping on the scale is an easy way for many of us to gauge what's happening with our weight. For most Americans that are a part of the obesity epidemic, a drop on scale equates to victory and a gain means more work ahead. But what if there were a different and more accurate way to assess what's happening with our bodies? Welcome to body composition testing.
This morning, when I got to work, I repeated what is known as a BIA - short for bioelectric impedence analysis. Essentially, a non-detectable electrical current runs through my body and the measuring device, known as the InBody, records and interprets the results. My clothes stayed on and the entire process took less than 5 minutes. When I went back to my office to compare my results from today to previous results, the information was very telling.
Earlier this year, I was very sick. Like almost dead sick. Through both illness and recovery, my body took a metabolic hit while it was using valuable nutrition to repair and rebuild lost muscle versus adding to a healthy frame. I compared today's results to my results from July 3rd - a month after my treatment for toxic shock syndrome and here's what I discovered:
My weight is up about 10.6 pounds from July 3rd
but my body fat percent is exactly the same.
How could that be? I've gained back about 5 pounds of muscle that I lost while my body fought and recovered from septic shock. Adding that five pounds of muscle while losing some extracellular water contributed to by toxicity, means that even though my weight is up, my body fat percent is no different!
What does this mean for you? When I am working with my clients and we use the InBody to assess starting points and progressions, my eyes will always jump to their read out of skeletal muscle mass. I want to know what's happening from a muscular persepctive to tip me off to clues about how their foods plans are contributing to mass changes or how health obstacles may be causing muscular catabolism.
Once we know more about your body composition, we can work together to create a specific lifestyle plan that will support your desired outcome. The InBody also allows for us to track changes to visceral fat tissue (the bad belly fat) and where water is held in your body. If you're the type that feels bloated and inflammed, it's possbible your body is holding unto some extra water.
InBody testing is $25 for a session and includes a printout of your results along with about 15 minutes of consultation time. If you'd like to test your body composition, you can schedule a time right online.
If that's not an option you're considering right now, a tape measure can be another alternative to check in on progress. By performing a series of circumference measurements typically around the upper arm, chest, waist, hips, thighs, and calves, you can track whether or not there are gains or losses. These measurements, just like weight, may not always give you an accurate depiction of body composition changes such as muscle loss or fat gain, but they are another tool to use if you feel like scale isn't enough.
Most importantly, remember what I tell each and everyone of my clients. Weight loss is a secondary attribute to any wellness plan. It is more important to be well than it is to be thin. If you are making healthy changes, but not seeing the results yet, don't stop making those changes. Perhaps consider visiting with someone that help you understand what the obstacles to healing and health may be.