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Segmental Body Composition Analysis

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Today I took a segmental body composition analysis using a Tanita scale. Now I was not at all anxious about doing this analysis, after all I had a solid year of fitness and good nutrition behind me. Did you hear that? That popping was my bubble being burst!!! Not quite the results I anticipated in the body fat "percent" area. Before sharing them I have a few comments:

About the Tanita segmental body composition analysis scale: The instrument looks like a digital scale, after having you height and age entered, you step onto it with your shoes and socks off wait for the weight to be displayed then step off. The other information is then displayed. (You can get more info on the company website.) This model did not require me to hold anything.

I was told that the benefit of this analysis is that it is a more accurate indicator of your overall body composition because it not only looks at body fat but also takes into account your bone mass. I cannot definitively attest to its accuracy in relationship to other devices. I can say that my previous body fat readings were done with the Tanita handheld and that the difference between the reading today and my last reading in November was 5% increase. Whereas there was no difference in change between June and November.

My personal measure of health and what I had based my health goal by has been the BMI. After today, I realize this is just one tool and that I cannot use it as a sole indicator of my fat fitness level. I think this has lead to my overall disappointment today, the fact that I have worked so hard to reach a "healthy" range on the BMI scale only to take this test and find that the results don't quite match. If there is anyone else solely relying on BMI, I say find out your body fat % (it's not the same as your BMI.) and if you can get a detailed body composition analysis do it so that you have a true bench mark of your progress through your fitness/weightloss journey.

Finally, I do have to be truthful and admit that over the past three months I have not consistently worked out as I had been doing 15 months. And, while my overall eating has been good, I have indulged in a few more chocolate chip cookie desserts (literally) and other sweets during this same time frame.

I'm posting my results because I now have a new benchmark & goal. When I began my fitness challenge in 2009 I didn't know about SparkPeople, in fact I did not find r it until "after" I'd met my weight goal and finished my challenge. So now with a new challenge ahead of me I want to use SP to help me through it.

(Note I've added explanations where I could. Keep in mind these are my personal results based on my gender, weight, age, and height your results will vary. The analysis ratings are taken from Tanita's chart, I've only included the women's standards, sorry guys.)

Weight: My goal weight is 155 lbs, I have consistently maintained for more than a year. Today I weighed 159, which I expected due to clothes and extra water. What I did not expect was to be told that I could weigh up to between 160-170 lbs and still be healthy! And that as we go through my new routine that may occur. I am going to have to wrap my head round that. I do know that muscle weighs more but I need to mentally digest the "numbers" especially since I spent a year getting away from those numbers.)

Body Fat %: 35.3 Overfat!!! (This is what has me so bummed. June & November I was at 28.2 & 28.7% "Healthy")
Percent of body fat on my body. What this tells me is that while I've been stepping on the scale once a week to once every two weeks, although my weight is not changing my muscle/fat ratio has been!
(Women: Healthy 18-39=21-33% | 40-59 year old= 23-34% | 60-99=24-36%)

Body Water %: 45.4% Healthy
Percent of water in my body.
(Women Healthly %: 45-60%)

Muscle Mass: 97.8 lbs
Pounds of muscle on my body

Physique Rating: 2 overfat, pear shape
Nine shapes are represented 1-3=underfat, 4-6-Healthy, 7-9=Overfat/Obese. Both my body fat % and Muscle Mass were used to determine where I fell.

DCI/BMR: 1,400/1600/1900
1400=This base number of calories my body burns at rest and that I should consume to maintain my weight. 1600=An additional 250 calories I need to add when I workout and 1900=500 additional calorie increase needed over base needs for intense workout days. (Again, note this is my personal BMR and yours will vary.) It is also important to note that it was noted that the calories should be spread out over 5-6 meals versus 3. Something I do and know but it bears stressing. The smaller meals allows the body to efficiently use the fuel/calories you take in.

Metabolic Age: two years older than my actual age (UGH!)
Based on the analysis this thing tells you how old your body thinks it is! Now this is truly a rude awakening! The good news is linked to BF% so improving it will decrease this number.

Bone Mass 5.2 lbs (average bone mass)
This is the estimated weight of your bones if skin and muscle were removed. It the "small, average, or big" bone structure some analysis don't take into consideration.
(Women: Small less than 110 lbs, Average 110-165, Large 165 & up)

Visceral Fat: 6.0 (Healthy 1-12)
Visceral fat we collect around our organs. It is also considered the hardest fat to loose because it is deeper away from the skin surface. (It's important to note here that our bodies do need some amount of fat to function properly. Not having enough body fat can be as dangerous as having too much body fat.)

So what now?

My new goal is to be solidly in the healthy body fat % range. For my age that's between 27-32%. My trainer is looking at 20-24%. While I know the trend is toward thin, I have never thought I looked good model thin. At this point even visualizing myself more toned and trim I cannot see this 20-24% without seeing it as being model thin. I love the curves of my (face) cheeks and hips both of which are smaller than in years past yet.

So again, my goal is to be solidly "healthly" what "number " that ends up being will remain to be seen!

So now it's back to a consistent and simple routine that I can maintain. The carrot is to see "healthy."

I'm off...
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    You should find "4AHealthyBMI"'s blogs on bodyfat percentages and the inconsistencies in all the methods of measuring that. Most of these machines (and to my surprise) even the "gold standard" underwater weighing, can be way off. Some have a +/- of 10-12 %, so take your results with a grain of salt.

    You also may want to check out Leigh Peele (google her) she has a great blog about body fat and different ways to judge where you might be (even a series of photos of different people at different body fat %) I found all this info really helpful, as I was similarly distressed by some of my scale results. Now I just use those results as an interesting data point, but don't put too much weight on them. I think going by measurements and appearance in the mirror may actually be a better way of gauging results.

    It sounds like you are really dedicated to your plan, so kudos to you!
    2486 days ago
    It is great to have so much information.

    I did a hydrostatic body fat test a few months back (you get weighed underwater and it gives many of the same details you got). I was expecting a little more detail in the results, but all she told me was that my RMR is 1402 and that I should be eating 90-110g of protein a day to drop the body fat. All other calculations say my RMR should be at 1200 so I don't know what to believe. It is all so confusing to get just the right balance.

    Best of luck in getting to your goals.
    2486 days ago
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    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.