Wednesday, August 11, 2010

My Body Composition Journey so far

Last week I went to catch up with Jarrod from Body Composition for that first (and very scary) post-baby scan.  Body Composition is about tracking the changes in your fat mass and lean body mass which is really important when you have a weight loss goal.  If I was to just step on the scales and watch the number go down over the course of a few weeks or months I wouldn't know if I was losing fat or muscle or both.  The goal is to maintain or slightly increase the muscle mass that I have whilst losing fat - this way I will maintain my metabolic rate (the rate at which my body burns energy at rest) rather than slowing it (which I would do if I lost muscle mass).

The first time I went to see Jarrod was back in December of 2006 and so I thought I would share with you the changes my body has seen over the years up until now (at which I am the heaviest and carrying the most body fat!) and a little about what was going on in my life at that time.  Prior to this I was at my heaviest at around age 20 and approximately 61kg (there was a serious lack of exercise and indulgence going on there for a while).

Scan 1 - December 2006

Body Fat % = 16.9%
Total Body Weight = 49.9kg
Fat Mass = 8.4kg
Lean Body Mass = 39.3kg

So at this time in my life I was TINY!  Was I healthy?  I like to think I was healthy in general but I know that there were certain things I was doing that, looking back, were on the extreme side.  Let's start with the fact that I was preparing to get married in the February of 2007 - a wedding alone can send a girl into a spin and we all want to look great on our wedding day right?  My looking great was to get lean - and that is what I did.  I will share with you now though that I was very very strict on myself in terms of what I would eat and when - I ate very few carbs - pretty much only in the form of veggies and salad (carbs aren't just bread and pasta you know).  I had the will power of an ox - I could sit with a bowl of hot chips in front of me at the pub and pull out my apple or almonds if I was feeling peckish, I even remember taking a protein bar to the movies with me so I wouldn't indulge on the copious amounts of junk food that were out to tempt me ( not a bad idea for to stay on track at times like that but really back then the odd lolly wouldn't have been the end of the world - though I probably thought it would!)  Its not a particularly enjoyable way to view food and not really a place I would like to go back to.

At this time I was training a lot and running lots too - looking back I don't feel I over exercised, I wasn't prone to injury or tiredness - my energy levels were great and I was enjoying training clients up at Fitness First.  I may have been lean but I had muscle tone - there was no skinny fat on this girl!

When we move forwards in this blog post and look at the changes my body has taken and look at whether it would ever be healthy for me to get back to this stage my answer would be no.  Since then I have increased muscle, along with a little body fat, and I don't see that fat increase as a bad thing.  Back in 2007 I was very restricted in my diet - I don't remember it being so much fun and I know that thinking about food, my next meal and what I could and couldn't eat consumed so much of my thought process.  I would study the backs of food packaging to see which brand had even one or two calories less than the next.  Then sometimes I would fall off the wagon and eat lots of chocolate - that was my weakness, and when it came around I would go to town - maybe binge is the word.  It's a little scary admitting all of this in a public space but I also think that it is important for you to know my past and my experiences - that I can relate to the ups and downs and that staying fit and healthy isn't just easy because I happen to be a trainer.  It comes with it's challenges for me too.  There were times in my life that I made myself vomit after eating too much 'bad' food - I wouldn't place myself in the bulimic category but I do think that if I hadn't gotten a handle on what I was doing then I could have ventured down that track.  I definitely contribute getting married and having a baby to a greater respect of my body, what it was capable of and how I should treat it.  I am not saying that having a child should be a fix for any unhealthy habits you may have (and often it can actually trigger a worse reaction due to the added stress) but for me I had a 'license' to gain weight in a totally acceptable way and a drive to stay healthy for my unborn baby.  Following the birth I then had the opportunity to reset my metabolism and lose the weight in a healthy way - not striving to get back to that 49.9kg but to find a weight and a body fat % that was healthy and right for me - for that I am thankful.

Scan 2 - June 2007

Body Fat % = 19.1%
Total Body Weight = 51.7kg
Fat Mass = 9.9kg
Lean Body Mass = 39.5kg

Scan 3 - September 2007 (prior to falling pregnant with Marley)

Body Fat % = 20.2%
Total Body Weight = 53.9kg
Fat Mass = 10.9kg
Lean Body Mass = 40.6kg

This Body Composition is when I feel I reached a more healthy and consistent place for me - I had gained both muscle and fat since the original 2007 scan.  Could I get back here?  As you will see following this I put on more muscle mass so in terms of getting back to 53.9kg?  Maybe not as I would have to either lose muscle (which I don't plan on doing ) or lose more body fat so getting back to the 20.2% body fat or thereabouts regardless of the actual body weight would be more my goal.

Scan 4 - September 2008 (Body Beyond Baby journey round 1, scan 1)
8 weeks after giving birth to Marley

Body Fat % = 27.2%
Total Body Weight = 58.6kg
Fat Mass = 15.9kg
Lean Body Mass = 40.6kg

So this is the scan that relates as closely as possible to where I am now in terms of being post baby.  Unfortunately the first time around I waited 8 weeks before getting it done whereas this time only 2.  You will see a significant difference this time (in that I am carrying more fat % and weight).  I didn't weigh myself in either pregnancy just before or just after the birth so I can't really compare the two experiences as yet.  The next scan at 8 weeks and just before I head into the core phase if this journey will be the one to compare to this one - a lot can happen to the body in 6 weeks.

Scan 5 - October 2008 (Body Beyond Baby journey round 1, scan 2)
Scans were performed at four week intervals over 12 weeks

Body Fat % = 26.4%
Total Body Weight = 57.7kg
Fat Mass = 15.2kg
Lean Body Mass = 40.4kg

Steadily (but slowly at first) dropping body fat and maintaining muscle mass - perfect

Scan 6 - November 2008 (Body Beyond Baby journey round 1, scan 3)

Body Fat % = 23.5%
Total Body Weight = 57.2kg
Fat Mass = 13.4kg
Lean Body Mass = 41.4kg

Here I am starting to gain momentum - you can see that my total body weight has stayed quite similar to the previous scan but I have exchanged a kilo of fat for about a kilo of muscle.

Scan 7 - December 2009 (Body Beyond Baby journey round 1, scan 4)
Final scan just before my holiday to Perth

Body Fat % = 22.5%
Total Body Weight = 55.3kg
Fat Mass = 12.4kg
Lean Body Mass = 40.6kg

After my 12 week Body Beyond Baby journey this is where I got to.  You can see that I did lose some muscle at this point which is not ideal but I do go to put this back on whilst still losing fat mass.  Sometimes this does happen and Body Composition gives you the tool that you need to adjust what you are doing to achieve the results you want - kind of like getting an insiders view that you can't get on the scales.

Scan 8 - June 2009 (the last scan I have before falling pregnant with India)

Body Fat % = 21.3%
Total Body Weight = 55.5kg
Fat Mass = 11.8kg
Lean Body Mass = 41.3kg

Scan 9 - August 2010 (NOW - the scary 2 weeks post baby scan)

Body Fat % = 30.5% Total Body Weight = 64.1kg
Fat Mass = 19.5kg
Lean Body Mass = 42.1kg

Wow!  Now that for me is scary - it is the first time I have cracked the 30% body fat mark (I may have been there after Marley but am happy in the ignorance of not knowing) and I am carrying DOUBLE the fat % that I was in 2007.  BUT scary or not this is my benchmark and this is what I am working away from.  It can only get better from here and it will be interesting to see what my body does over the next 4-6 weeks where I plan on letting my body recover, easing into the cardio, ensuring my diet is healthy and on track but whilst not lifting many weights.  I will see how I feel at the 4 week mark and may go back to the gym to lift some lighter weights and slowly get back into it ramping up for the hard work that I know is to come.

This time around I feel my energy levels already are lower (comes with a toddler and a business) and I also feel more emotional than I did after Marley's birth therefore I need to not put too much pressure on myself in these early weeks and just take each day as it comes and get ready to get back there.

Phew - I hope you stayed with me and have enjoyed my Body Composition so far journey - I am looking forward to you joining me for the rest of the trip!
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