I’ve been home for a month, and already feel so much better. My stress and anxiety has dropped and I no longer need to take my anxiety medication! I still have stress, but it’s the normal stress that goes away when the issue is resolved. Getting my kid out the door (on time), dealing with car issues, having a recipe completely flop on me, and the like.
The biggest change so far is that I’m actually able to sleep. In fact, I’ve been sleeping like a baby! It’s never been more apparent to me that years of continuous, persistent stress really took it out of me. As I’m slowly shed that mental and emotional weight, I’m starting to feel like myself again.
A few weeks ago, I met the owner of DexaFit here in Kansas City. She said she had read my post, and invited me to come in for a body scan and some body composition analysis. We had a good conversation about weight and BMI. I admitted to her that even when I’ve been fit and thin, my weight and BMI were discouraging numbers for me. Even as a pre-pubescent size 2 in high school, I weighed nearly 150 pounds because I am so tall.*
DexaFit KC’s owner encouraged me to think past weight and BMI, and start to focus on the things that really matter. BMI is flawed. It counts all things; fat, bones, muscles, fluids as one combined number for your weight. Because of this, a person with an abundance of lean muscle mass could have the same BMI as a person the same weight and height that has dangerous levels of fat mass. Somebody with a BMI of 25 can have a body fat percentage of anywhere from 10 to 35%. Frustrating, right?
*I very much know that my height has it’s advantages, and I appreciate them now that I’m older. My height let’s me fluctuate pretty drastically in weight without major differences in pant sizes. I do thank God and my Dad’s genes for that!
After our talk, I took her up on her offer to check out my body composition, and braced myself to face the music. I knew there was damage, but I had been sticking my head in the sand and making excuses. My pants were tight and uncomfortable. When I lifted weights, I was lifting ⅓ to ½ the weight I was a few years ago, the last time I was a regular at the gym (photo below!) I suspected that I had traded all of my nice, lean muscle mass for fat. My trip to DexaFit was about facing that fa(c)t. Hey, the first part of getting better is acknowledging you have an issue, right?
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I visited DexaFit, and we did two things. First, we did a DEXA scan. This is DexaFit’s trademark service. It’s the most accurate testfor body composition analysis, normally only available in research and sports labs. The scan quantifies your lean muscle mass, fat mass, bone mass and visceral fat. She had me lie down on a table and the scan was completed over a period of 6 minutes. You have to hold still, but it isn’t uncomfortable at all. Once this is completed, an image and data is produced that gives you a real photo of your body and where the fat and muscle live. The results? Well, I’ll start with the good news.
- My bone density is excellent. Take that, osteoporosis!
- My visceral fat levels, the fat the contributes to your likelihood for disease, is within acceptable range.
- The muscle that I DO have is very symmetrical! Thanks, yoga!
And, the bad news:
- Much of my beautiful lean muscle mass is gone. I worked hard for it, and I’m sad with myself for letting it waste away.
- My fat levels are dangerously high. I have to be honest, it’s bad enough that it’d take me a few glasses of wine to readily admit to anyone what they are. I won’t even tell my husband!
Second, I completed the 3D Body Scan. This equipment gives you a 360 degree, real-life picture of your body, including over 400 precise measurements. Folks, there is NO hiding here. No shapewear, no good angles, no good filters. If you ever want to know what your body really, really looks like, this is what you need to do. If you worry about getting your measurements taken in precisely the same place each time, this also eliminates that worry. These measurements and images are all tracked online, so you can see (and appreciate) your progress over time?
So, I have a problem, and I need to do something. But, what should I do?
I’ve been stewing on it for the past week, and trying to be very honest with myself. I’ve participated in every fad diet that’s existed. I’ve tried keto, paleo, Whole30, Medifast, Beach Body, the Mediterranean Diet, Atkins, Weight Watchers, and only eating packaged frozen food from a multitude of brands. While I completely support anyone that adheres to a specific diet, obviously, it’s not for me. I’m a food blogger. I enjoy food. I love food. I’m surrounded by food. And I like it that way!
What I’ve decided to do instead of going on to another diet, is focus on my habits. I’ve been reading The Power of Habit and it makes so much sense to me. We’re all just human, and our habits define us to a large degree. A great example on how our habits (or lack of habits) impact us is the simple act of making the bed. It takes 30 seconds a day, and is proven to make people happier and feel more in control of their life. Most would say they prefer to climb into a made bed at the end of the day, but the vast majority of us don’t do it. Why? It’s not a habit. Yet.
I took a hard look at where I was consistently failing, and identified the habits that I want to change. I think this is very do-able, but I also need accountability. That’s where YOU come in, and why I’m sharing this widely. Most folks say it takes 21 to 30 days to form a habit. So, come September 30th, I’ll be sharing my progress and a check-in. Around the end of October, I will revisit DexaFit KC to complete these scans again, and see how I’m doing. At this visit, I also hope to test my resting metabolic rate.
Here are the areas I will be working on over the next 30 days.
- Reduce diet soda consumption to 1 (12 ounce serving) per day. No more big gulps sodas from QuikTrip for this girl.
- Meet a minimum of 30 minutes of activity per day, whether it’s spin class at the gym, or taking my dog on a walk.
- Meet my recommended 5 daily servings of fruits and vegetables.
- Track my calorie intake and exercise via MyFitnessPal.
- Limit alcohol intake to Friday and Saturday evenings. I used to drink on weeknights to unwind. Now that my stress is reduced, it’s just a (bad) habit I need to break
This probably sounds pretty basic, but I don’t think I’m alone. It looks like most Americans don’t get the nutrition they need, including only 11% getting their daily recommended fiber intake! When I took inventory of my habits, things like packaged snacks and slugging down diet soda really seemed to be a crutch for me. I’ve been leaning on “easy” packaged items for breakfast and snacks especially, rather than grabbing an apple or banana, or eating some carrots and hummus!
I’m optimistic that I can make these changes and I’m grateful to DexaFit KC for opening my eyes to just how dire my situation had gotten.
What healthy habits would you like to work on? Leave me a comment, and we’ll do it together!
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