Weight Loss Progress Report (Week 17)

Thursday, Feb 09, 2012 at 19:48

TriathlonOz - Michelle

This is a followup to my last two blogs on my quest to lose an excess of 5.5kg that I gained rapidly over 5 weeks when I took a family trip to the USA. This blog relates back to these two previous blogs from October and from November

I am happy to report that I have lost 4.5kg. I lost the first 4 without undue stress, but seemed to have stabilised there for the past 3 or 4 weeks but over the last week I’ve noticed another drop of half a kilo so that means I’m now only 1kg away from my goal weight (57.5kg).

The reason I have set this as my goal is that it is the exact weight I was at this time last year, and whilst I found I could go down to 56kg, I found it very hard to stabilise that low so it seems that 57.5kg for me is the right weight to have as a goal. I’d be thrilled if I could maintain a slightly lower weight but once I reach my goal I’m going to stop thinking of weight as a goal and just accept what happens through the training in terms of weight. It’s just one number anyway – and the weight loss was to help me feel comfortable, give me the best speed advantage, and to be able to start my program with the best cardio fitness I could bring.

Now, my focus is shifting to other factors such as targeting weak muscles to build strength (eg. glutes, abs) to maintain good form to minimise injury on longer runs, and to increase muscular endurance (ie. increase session distance/time, and increase total weekly mileage on runs, swims and rides).

Having worked through a 70.3 training program and completed the race relatively successfully last year, I know this is the weight I can comfortably maintain (and feel good about myself).

For anyone that’s interested, I use a Tanita Ironman body composition monitor – this is a bioimpedance device that we purchased from Rebel Sport for about $200. Initially, you setup your personal information (age, gender, height, activity level) and you stand on it with bare feet. (It can store up to 4 different people’s profiles). The monitor will display a complete body composition profile including weight, body water %, body fat %, muscle mass, bone mass, Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), Visceral Fat Rating, Metabolic age, and physique rating.

Actually, I've just written a full article called Monitoring Weight & Body Composition and published it in the Nutrition topic here on this site - to find it go to the tips&techniques menu where you'll find a section on Nutrition - it's one of the articles in there.

Anyway, the two features I really like are the Body Fat Range icons and the Physique Rating. The Body Fat icon indicates (with a + - O) where you stack up for someone of your age/gender. An icon to indicate if you fall into the range for underfat, healthy, overfat, obese is shown on the display together with your bodyfat %. One thing I’ve noticed is that this number is usually at its HIGHEST % first thing in the morning. The instruction manual suggest this is most likely due to a bit of dehydration from sleeping which means the scale is not able to correctly analyse your mass. The manual suggests taking your measurements during the mid afternoon – ideally 2 hours after eating lunch, and before eating your evening meal. I’m happy with that, because sure enough, that’s when the numbers are most kind!!

For me – Female age 40-59 my body fat % fluctuates between 18% - 25% on the scale (above 23% most mornings but always under 20% in the afternoons). The healthy range is 23%-34% and underfat range is 0 – 23% .

The second feature I also like is the Physique Ratings. There are 9 ratings (numbered 1 – 9) that correspond to a physique range (see instruction manual for explanation) or here I found the scale online on Tanitas website

This is a more meaningful rating scale, than the standard BMI as this factors in what your mass is made of – muscle, bone and fat.

Overall, after using the impedance body composition scale for a few years, particularly to help with monitoring my weight loss, I can generally estimate what the scale is going to say. I think that’s probably the most important thing – developing your instinctive awareness of your body. It also helps when I need to build hydration levels pre-racing – it’s right there on the monitor telling me to drink more!

For me (I am often criticised for over-analysing things but I really enjoy this stuff), a reality check is always good – sometimes I think I look/feel fat when in fact I am in the healthy range. Interestingly enough, according to researchers, most women tend to believe they look their best at BMI values between 20 to 22, but if your BMI is between 23 and 25, you are not considered overweight by most people. (I'm currently 23).

I hope you found this somewhat interesting? If not, too bad... I like to blog these results as a reference for me to look back on (smiley face).
Some wish for it, others work for it!
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