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SlowSure 07-20-2013 12:10 AM

My body fat assessment (SlowSure)
 
I had a body fat assessment yesterday (Bod Pod). To place the results in context, I should note here that (for what it's worth) my BMI is currently <22 and my waist-to-hip ratio is 0.65. My blood pressure is habitually 96/58, resting pulse rate is usually 48-56 BPM (depending on background activity levels). No blood sugar issues etc.

I've previously mentioned that when I reached 140lbs, I was so much broader than I would have expected at that weight that I suspected that my body fat was much higher than I'd have liked. I knew that there were clothes I fit into when I was gaining that weight that I still couldn't fasten. Ditto, at 127lbs, there is more bulk to me at this weight than there was I was previously in this range.

I suspected that my body fat was in the 30s, probably even the mid-30s. But, it's so much worse than that: I'm firmly in the camp of normal weight obese - I'm nowhere near normal weight overweight.

Body fat 42%

This is the range at which you would definitely expect your GP to lecture you on metabolic syndrome. Even the technician asked me if I'd had my cholesterol checked recently (you'll be pleased to learn that I refrained from throwing anything at him) and started lecturing me gravely on the perils of visceral fat.

I can't begin to tell you how horrified I am.

Ntombi 07-20-2013 12:31 AM

I'm sorry the result is higher than you hoped for, and I imagine it's frustrating. You can change it though.

High intensity strength training is what I recommend. It really works and doesn't take much to get results. It uses high weights, low reps, and you really concentrate on correct form the whole way through. It gets your blood flowing, and really helps maintain or build lean body mass. It's my preferred form of exercise when I'm allowed any at all.

Doing that twice or thrice a week, plus getting an adequate amount of protein, will slowly bring your LBM up and reshape your body, while also increasing your overall metabolism.

It'll also help lower your risk of osteoporosis, which I'm sure you know.

Ailuros 07-20-2013 01:42 AM

Not what you wanted to hear! That must have been very upsetting. But better to know and face it, then you can work on improving things.

Just out of curiosity, have you tried any body fat scales, and if you have, where they anywhere near to accurate?

SlowSure 07-20-2013 01:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ailuros (Post 16523182)
Just out of curiosity, have you tried any body fat scales, and if you have, where they anywhere near to accurate?

Not at all accurate. Chris Kresser has a good overview of BIA and body fat:

The Pitfalls of Bodyfat “Measurement”, Part 4: Bioelectrical Impedance (BIA)

It's worth reading:
Quote:

BIA involves running a light electrical current through your body. Fat-free mass contains mostly water, while fat contains very little water. Thus, fat-free mass will have less resistance to an electrical current. By determining the resistance of a current running through your body, theoretically we could get an estimate of how much fat-free and fat mass you have. There are many BIA devices out there, including devices by Omron and Tanita.

While the theory behind BIA sounds nice, it is problematic. First, an electrical current will follow the path of least resistance through your body. This means that, if you carry a large amount of fat underneath your skin, the BIA won’t even hit it; the current will instead pass through internal tissues. Second, I mentioned last week how hydrostatic weighing can be affected by the hydration of fat-free mass; BIA is going to be even more affected by this. And while there is one device that tries to differentiate between fluid inside your cells and outside your cells by sending the current at different frequencies, you still have the problem of the current following the path of least resistance. Third, many BIA devices will miss entire sections of your body. For example, some devices, like Tanita scales, send the current through one leg and out the other, which means your entire torso is missed. Some hand-held devices will send the current through one arm and out the other, missing the rest of your body.

Ntombi 07-20-2013 02:44 AM

I have a Tanita scale, and when used properly, it's kind of accurate (meaning within a few percentage points of professionally done calipers, but not not near as accurate as the best tools), but its biggest benefit is seeing one's relative BF% over time. I wouldn't trust it for a true test, but if you're looking at the results over time, you should see fairly accurate differences.

But you have to use it correctly, which means very differently than how one usually weighs. Weighing in on the Tanita first thing in the morning is generally the worst way to get a body fat assessment.

SlowSure 07-20-2013 02:54 AM

I'm just about to go kayaking - but there's a scale with body fat assessment (impedance technology) there and one in a local chemist - I'll tell you what they both say.

Ntombi 07-20-2013 03:33 AM

Yes, please.

Ailuros 07-20-2013 04:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SlowSure (Post 16523196)
I'm just about to go kayaking - but there's a scale with body fat assessment (impedance technology) there and one in a local chemist - I'll tell you what they both say.

Thank you. It will be interesting to see how they compare.

KeirasMom 07-20-2013 05:22 AM

Oh, SS, it's what you feared, but I can't believe it. You appear so slim and fit! You are active. You work so hard at your entire health, not just weight management. I'm so sorry it didn't turn out better. :hugs:

tobelowcarber 07-20-2013 05:33 AM

Slow, I am sorry to hear that. I am just having very hard time believing that you are 42% BF, looking at your pic. I think if you stepped on Tanita scale you would be 20-22% BF.

Flutter 07-20-2013 06:12 AM

Ok, I had to run over here quickly. Slow, I am with Dawn and very confused. I find it so hard to believe when you do so much outdoor activity and weigh so little!!!! If *anyone* can figure this out, it will be you. I admire you greatly, oh wise and wonderful friend!!!! Huge hugs to you!!! Remember all you have accomplished and I know you will find additional ways to reach any goals you set as a result of this.

Btw, that assessment sounds like the evil scale's horrific cousin or something!!!! Goodness, I am gonna live in denial!!! :hugs: xoxoxo :heart:

Librarygirl 07-20-2013 06:44 AM

Slow, my first reaction is that the test is wrong, lol. Did the doctor recommend anything to improve it? I know weight lifting is the number one go-to for building muscles, but your regular kayaking should be doing that at least on your upper body, I would think. Also, do you think IF is in any way related?

Carly 07-20-2013 07:03 AM

Wow, SS, I'm really shocked, too. Like everyone has mentioned you look very slender in your avi and are less that 130 pounds. If you are 4'10" that could be the reason, but you look taller than that... You must be fairly fit with all the kayaking <insert perplexed>

What do you think is the reason. If anyone might know I would think you would be the one. This surely makes me fear that mine is awfully high since I can do the type of physically demanding exercise I would enjoy.

:console: and :hugs:

Information (if accurate) is the first step toward creating change.

LoCarbGal 07-20-2013 07:15 AM

Count me as another shocked friend! At your weight and with all your strenuous activity, I just can't imagine! I'm so sorry it's not what you hoped to hear. Please don't let this set you back! You have accomplished so much, getting back down to a normal weight, solving, or at least improving your migraine situation. I also agree with the JBs, if anyone can work this out, it's you. I'll look forward to hearing what plan you come up with to attack this situation. I'm sure we'll all learn a lot watching you and maybe we'll all focus more on building lean mass because of your experience.

:hugs::heart: dear friend!

Ellen770 07-20-2013 07:43 AM

Oh, Slow! I can relate to your frustrations. I started working out at the gym right after my doctor did one of those really sophisticated BMI tests on me. Four months later, after being the top woman lifter at my YMCA, he tested me again...and it was WORSE! We were both shocked!

NTombi gives good advice...heavy lifting for lower reps helps build muscle and burn fat. I started doing this type of lifting after my last doctor visit. This coming Friday I have another appointment and another assessment...will see if this type helped.

Please try not to be discouraged. You will figure out what works, so its just a puzzle to solve. Albeit an annoying one. You are such an inspiration to folks like me, just starting out with JUDDD. Try and focus on what you have accomplished. You will beat this!

Sirtain 07-20-2013 08:15 AM

Wow, that is high. I would be upset, too. But it is what it is (assuming it's not a mistake!). You have a starting point to work from now. And everything else is good. Imagine tackling that on top of being less fit.

I agree with the weight lifting idea. Also, how do you feel on ketosis? It might be worth going into.

Librarygirl 07-20-2013 08:40 AM

Wow, are you really 4'10?? I would never have guessed that. Maybe Carly was joking lol. I don't know what the weight would/should be at that height, but maybe under 100 lbs. Can't imagine trying to get there!!:hugs:

calichris 07-20-2013 08:45 AM

:confused: I agree with everyone ... this result is hard to even comprehend! I am so sorry the results came out this way ... I know you were concerned the results would be upsetting before you even took the test, and it must be so disconcerting. :hugs:

The good news is, your health markers all seem excellent. :up: And you look great! I agree with the others that as our resident research queen you will find the solution.

Thank you so much for sharing your results ... you gave us a gift by alerting us to think about both our lean body mass and the scale. I look forward to seeing you tackle this and succeed in the same way you did your weight loss goals.

p.s. I also think that this is a great gift to yourself, to have this information so you can continue to improve your fitness profile.

Carly 07-20-2013 08:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Librarygirl (Post 16523521)
Wow, are you really 4'10?? I would never have guessed that. Maybe Carly was joking lol. I don't know what the weight would/should be at that height, but maybe under 100 lbs. Can't imagine trying to get there!!:hugs:

Yes- I was joking- although I don't know how tall SS is...

Ntombi 07-20-2013 08:49 AM

For those who are shocked, it's not all that uncommon, unfortunately.

When I went last week to get my hydrostatic test, the young woman who had the appointment before me had a similar result. She was maybe a size 4 (I think that's an 8 in the UK) and did cardio every day, but had a similarly high BF percentage.

The information can be jarring, but better to know, so a plan can be made.

SlowSure 07-20-2013 09:10 AM

Just back from the kayak outing :)

4 sets of weighing scales with impedance technology for measuring body fat: 19%; 22%; 28% and 33%.

The Bod Pod technology is accepted to be more accurate than BIA technology.

The trousers that I'm wearing in my avi are a size 6 (UK) and are from the early 90s before vanity sizing had played such havoc with hoping to understand them.

Just to heap ashes further on my head, I'd been a tad optimistic in describing myself as normal weight obese. I reconsulted the Braverman and Shah study: PLOS ONE: Measuring Adiposity in Patients: The Utility of Body Mass Index (BMI), Percent Body Fat, and Leptin
Quote:

Currently accepted body fat percentage cut-points for obesity are 25% for men and 30% for women. For the purposes of this study, we identified the following groups based on percent body fat: for men <14% (Very low), 14%–179% (Fit), 18%–24.9% (Overweight), 25%–34.9% (Obese), 35%–39.9% (Morbidly obese), ≥40% (Super obese); for women <15% (Very low), 15%–24.9% (Fit), 25%–29.9% (Overweight), 30%–39.9% (Obese), 40%–44.9% (Morbidly Obese), ≥45% (Super obese). [My emphasis.]
Yes, I'm in the normal weight morbidly obese category.

It has to be said that even by the parameters of that study, I'm rather an outlier. If you look at Figure 1, you can see the BMI running along the bottom and the body fat percentage on the vertical axis. The dots show where people fall. They had 1 woman with a similar BMI and body fat as mine. The chances are that she is quite a bit older than I am (given the demographics that they state).

ETA: I used to be taller :) Couple of fractures to long bones (thigh) and back/hip injuries mean that I've lost a couple of inches but my BMI is calculated off my present height (just over 64inches).

GME 07-20-2013 09:19 AM

Could it be a mistake?

At 127 lbs and 42% body fat that leaves you with an LBM of 86 lbs. With 25% body fat you would weigh 108 lbs. Is that possible?

I think one of those scans that shows body fat would be interesting (DEXA? The one you see on the internet with the fat woman and thin woman). If you have a lot of fat around your organs it seems like that is where the danger lies.

Maybe you have bird bones that just don't weigh as much as average.

Ntombi 07-20-2013 09:22 AM

Of the BIA test results, can you tell us which used arms, and which legs? I'm wondering if there's a stark enough difference in composition between your top and bottom halves, at least as far as the BIA can tell.

The Tanita uses legs, of course, and I'm wondering if my comparatively muscular legs contribute to the halfway decent (meaning, not completely off the rails) result I get.

Ailuros 07-20-2013 09:28 AM

Thank you for that extra information — what a lot of variation. Interesting that in the study pretty well half the women with normal BMI were obese by body fat measurement! And none the other way round, which is the way most people would like the error to go.

SlowSure 07-20-2013 09:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GME (Post 16523591)
Could it be a mistake?

At 127 lbs and 42% body fat that leaves you with an LBM of 86 lbs. With 25% body fat you would weigh 108 lbs. Is that possible? ...
Maybe you have bird bones that just don't weigh as much as average.

The Bod Pod is part of the research dept. at a university. They calibrate it every day and before each session. You have 3 readings taken during a session. It's very, very, unlikely to be an error.

Yes, I would actually have to be below the 'ideal' BMI to have anything like a BMI of 20-22 which most women would like.

Oddly enough, if anything, the BF assessment will have underestimated just how dense and strong my bones are. I am very confident on this point because I've had a number of injuries as a consequence of some accidents (pedestrian in a pedestrian v. auto; passenger in an RTA that involved multiple collisions) and my scans of various bits are excellent.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ntombi (Post 16523598)
Of the BIA test results, can you tell us which used arms, and which legs? I'm wondering if there's a stark enough difference in composition between your top and bottom halves, at least as far as the BIA can tell.

The 19% and 28% were legs. The others claimed to be whole body (platform and you need to hold a bar).

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ailuros (Post 16523605)
Thank you for that extra information what a lot of variation. Interesting that in the study pretty well half the women with normal BMI were obese by body fat measurement! And none the other way round, which is the way most people would like the error to go.

Yes, in that study, although they had a number of men who were misclassified that way, no women at all.

Carly 07-20-2013 09:48 AM

I'm simply at a loss. Truly, that just doesn't make sense. You are 5'4" and weigh 127 which is nice and slender. You are also quite active which flies in the face of having a body fat percentage of over 40%.:dunno:

Ntombi 07-20-2013 09:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SlowSure (Post 16523618)

The 19% and 28% were legs. The others claimed to be whole body (platform and you need to hold a bar).

Shoot, there goes that theory. :annoyed:



Okay, so the goal is definitely not to lose anymore overall weight, but to gain LBM while losing excess fat. If you gain 20 lbs of muscle and lose 20 lbs of fat, you will increase your LBM to 106 lbs, and get into the 26% BF range; I'd bet you'd go down a couple of sizes as well. Granted, it's a big goal, but you could get there.

On the upside, with an increase in your LBM, you could increase your maintenance calories. ;)

Kimmietoo 07-20-2013 10:17 AM

Like the others, I am shocked and can't help but feel there is some sort of an error in this measurement.

It hardly seems possible with all of the other evidence. Your avi shows you as trim and slim, you pulse and BP, glucose....all stellar.

If the BF % is correct, your weight at 22% BF would put you at a BMI of 16.5 based on my calculations, indicating you to be seriously underweight!

Given the preponderance of contrary evidence, I just don't see how it is possible for it to be correct!

I will be anxiously awaiting better news from your other testing.

Kimmie

SlowSure 07-20-2013 10:19 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SlowSure (Post 16523618)
Yes, I would actually have to be below the 'ideal' BMI to have anything like a BMI of 20-22 which most women would like.

Gah, you can tell how distracted I am - that should read "to have anything like a body fat percentage of 20-22".

Ntombi 07-20-2013 10:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kimmietoo (Post 16523667)
Like the others, I am shocked and can't help but feel there is some sort of an error in this measurement.

It hardly seems possible with all of the other evidence. Your avi shows you as trim and slim, you pulse and BP, glucose....all stellar.

If the BF % is correct, your weight at 22% BF would put you at a BMI of 16.5 based on my calculations, indicating you to be seriously underweight!

Given the preponderance of contrary evidence, I just don't see how it is possible for it to be correct!

I will be anxiously awaiting better news from your other testing.

Kimmie

I'm visibly morbidly obese, also have a high (but decreasing) BF%, but have stellar resting heart rate, blood pressure and blood glucose numbers. :dunno: They are not always related.


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