Monday, August 30, 2010

Body Fat Win

This morning, I went and had hydrostatic body fat testing done, mostly because my trainer suggested I do so, but also because I thought it would be an interesting experience.

I've been working with my personal trainer for 3 years now, with quite a bit of success, mostly due to the fact that she doesn't let me slack off.  My nutrition has always been my downfall.  Given the choice between cake and carrots, I'll choose cake every time.  And probably eat the bowl of ice cream as well.  So, my weight has fluctuated up and down, and last November I hit 160 pounds, which was my highest weight ever.

Now, I know that in the grand scheme of life, 160 pounds isn't horrendous, but that was a big wake up call for me.  I realized that even though I was working out regularly, and gaining strength, I wasn't feeding my body in a healthy way.  I knew if I continued down that road I'd be in big (no pun intended) trouble.

I decided to join Weight Watchers online.  I was busy teaching and I knew I wouldn't be able to squeeze another hour of free time out of my week, so I just tracked my points online.  Over the course of a few months I dropped 10 pounds, and felt pretty good about myself.  But, that didn't really satisfy me, and I wanted to be fit, not just back at the weight I had been before.  Plus, my body fat percent was still hovering around the 29% mark, too high for my tastes.  I also had my wedding on the horizon to worry about.

I started working out harder and trying to eat even less.  I found the working out to be easy, but the food part to be next to impossible.  Right before my wedding I went on a crazy diet that finally got me down to 145 pounds, but then I went on my honeymoon and drank my weight in rum.

So now, here I am, back at 149 pounds.  I had set my goal weight at 135 pounds.  On Friday, I had measurements done with my trainer- the pinch your skin folds kind, which found my percent body fat at 26%.  Not bad- I've definitely lost a good deal of fat, but I wanted it to be 21% or lower.  So my trainer suggested to go have the hydrostatic testing done, which is the most accurate body fat measurement available.

The testing is done on a truck, which had conveniently parked itself in my gym's parking lot.  The guy who worked there was very helpful, and after I changed into my swimsuit, he showed me exactly how to position myself in the water tank to get accurate readings.  The water was comfortable- much like bathwater.  The measurements were over before I knew it, and then came the best part.

23.7% body fat!  Woo-hoo!  I'm close to the bottom of the "average" range, and what's more, way closer to meeting my goal than I thought!  The guy asked me how we had come up with my goal weight, and I told him it was based on the skin fold measurements, and what my most recent results were.  He told me that based on my current measurement, to get down to 135 pounds, I'd have to live the lifestyle of an athlete.  And I'd only have 15% body fat.  Yikes.  15% is not an unhealthy percent, it's just that I'd pretty much have to just work out all the time.  Sorry folks, I'm not going to the Olympics any time soon.  I'll stick to my regular 4-6 hours of exercise per week, thanks.

So, to get to a goal of 21% (which will put me into a nice, fit range), I only have to lose about 5 more pounds.  This is so much better than the 15 I thought I had to lose!  5 pounds is doable; 5 pounds would mean cutting 300-400 calories a day.  (So... probably I should stop eating fro-yo every night.)  But, even better than that, I can exercise knowing that I'm not unhealthy!  I'm not going to keel over and die of heart disease or get diagnosed with diabetes any time soon.  (Ok- maybe that's a little dramatic.  I'm only 25.  But you get my point.) 

I did my workout after the testing with much more vigor than I've had in the past couple of weeks.  I was feeling like I was hitting a plateau, and I was wondering if it was going to be even possible to change my diet anymore without going crazy.  Now, I know that as long as I get my recommended doses of fruits and veggies (and only indulge in sweets or alcohol once in a while) that I'm not going to work against myself.  I feel liberated!