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Monday, July 04, 2011

I'm not happy with myself or the scales at the moment. Summer is hard on my diet, I get more exercise but it's so much easier to eat too much of the wrong things when I am at the house all day. I try to keep healthy snacks around, but too many calories are too many calories not matter how healthy they are. Plus I end up making goodies too, I like to treat my family when I have the time to do it.

The problem really is that my weight has gone up quite a bit. My clothes still fit for the most part, some are tighter than I would like. What I wish I knew was exactly how much of this is muscle? I have no idea where I could get someone who has calipers to test for body fat and I would really like to know. Those who keep up with me know that I swim laps and do lots of other exercise in the summer and I feel I am in good shape. I also know that I have been eating too many calories and I am trying to get back to tracking EVERYTHING again as that seems to be the only way to really keep myself in line.

So why can't someone come up with a really good reliable way to test body fat at home? My scale is supposed to do that but it is not very accurate from what I have read, it basically only works for the lower half of your body, which is where most of my muscle is.

Besides, it's so hot here that I basically spend all afternoon reading & napping. I get up early and do stuff, then I do more stuff in the evening. But when it's 100+ it's just not worth doing much of anything that you don't have to do.

I did a 3 mile Walk Away the Pounds this morning and I think I'm going to do some more. It's already 7:00 pm so I better get it done before it gets too late.

I just wish I had a reliable way to know for sure that I am at a healthy weight. It's frustrating. Besides which, anytime I am not tracking, I'll start gaining again. I can't seem to ween myself off the tracker. Probably because it's too dang hard to stay under 1500 calories without knowing exactly when to stop. Sometimes I get really tired of having to think about it and consider every bite I put in my mouth, but that seems to be the way it works.
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PROVERBS31JULIA 8/14/2012 4:04PM

    Hi Barbara -
remember that fat takes up more volume (space) (pants sizes!!) but weighs less.
Muscle weighs a lot more and keeps burning metabolism more than fat cells do, but it takes up less space (pants sizes are smaller!).

I bought a cheap plastic skin-fold caliber set a few years ago - it's kind of weird how it works, so really pay attention to the instructions, (the curved scale in the middle where the lines have to be read - it's like a slide rule - but you have to start with it on the opposite side of what you think, because as you squeeze the handle, the little slide thing gets pushed against the skin fold (fat layer) and then "snaps" when it is done right. Then you read at that line. They recommend like 3 or 4 readings and average it. I got mine years ago from www.CollageVideo.com (sell all kinds of wonderful exercise DVD's, have reviews, sample videos on their website etc.) but I've noticed it's also available other places like Amazon.com etc. It's less than $10 bucks.

Later on, I bought electronic scales - I think it's Thinner brand? - where it measures electrical impedance. The numbers seem to be a bit random, but instructions say it will not be correct if one is not hydrated enough (but it's never clear to me how many glasses is "enough" and how long I'd need to wait from drinking water until it actually reflected the "accurate" body fat measure on the scale. Maybe 15-20 minutes (like so much of life!?). Anyway when I do get to that point, the numbers are fairly close to what the cheap plastic skinfold measuring calipers come up with. Other times, it's more like a random number generator!

Just hang in there and keep exercising!!

Julia

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PROVERBS31JULIA 8/14/2012 4:03PM

    Hi Barbara -
remember that fat takes up more volume (space) (pants sizes!!) but weighs less.
Muscle weighs a lot more and keeps burning metabolism more than fat cells do, but it takes up less space (pants sizes are smaller!).

I bought a cheap plastic skin-fold caliber set a few years ago - it's kind of weird how it works, so really pay attention to the instructions, (the curved scale in the middle where the lines have to be read - it's like a slide rule - but you have to start with it on the opposite side of what you think, because as you squeeze the handle, the little slide thing gets pushed against the skin fold (fat layer) and then "snaps" when it is done right. Then you read at that line. They recommend like 3 or 4 readings and average it. I got mine years ago from www.CollageVideo.com (sell all kinds of wonderful exercise DVD's, have reviews, sample videos on their website etc.) but I've noticed it's also available other places like Amazon.com etc. It's less than $10 bucks.

Later on, I bought electronic scales - I think it's Thinner brand? - where it measures electrical impedance. The numbers seem to be a bit random, but instructions say it will not be correct if one is not hydrated enough (but it's never clear to me how many glasses is "enough" and how long I'd need to wait from drinking water until it actually reflected the "accurate" body fat measure on the scale. Maybe 15-20 minutes (like so much of life!?). Anyway when I do get to that point, the numbers are fairly close to what the cheap plastic skinfold measuring calipers come up with. Other times, it's more like a random number generator!

Just hang in there and keep exercising!!

Julia

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WILLBOYWONDER 7/18/2011 9:10AM

    Reading this reminded me of one of the problems that I used to have. Whenever I was at home, I munched and snacked on all the wrong things. I know itís hard and over time it does get easier. But it definitely can be frustrating. Just keep at it and don't quit, even when you're feeling overwhelmed.

As for testing body fat at home, you can purchase a body fat tester on the low end for about $5-$10 and on the high end for about $50-$60 dollars and there are plenty of good ones for about $20. Just Google body fat monitor. Amazon.com will save you a few dollars.

And I will say I agree with you about thinking about everything thing I eat. That is the only way I managed to lose my weight and keep it off. I think about beverages too. Itís almost like an obsession. Iím always looking at labels and counting fat grams and calories and sodium and tracking things like protein and fiber and B12 and all the essential vitamins. Even when I donít plug foods into a tracker, Iím still always thinking about it all the time before I eat and drink. I wish there were an easier way to do it. The thin people who seem to eat everything they want and seldom do any physical activity are fortunate.

Comment edited on: 7/18/2011 9:11:55 AM

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WRTRGURRL88 7/10/2011 4:15PM

    Ugh! I feel for you! I am in GREAT shape, athletic-wise, compared to where I was. Terrific heart rate recovery, I can run up and down hills, blah, blah, blah. But I'm still about 90 pounds overweight. Unfortunately for me, and apparently you too, I can't lost weight without tracking every morsel and staying away from sugar and simple carbs. As for tracking the fat content of your body, ask your doctor, local trainer, or health club if they have calipers or the hand-held "Omron" meter or whatever it's called. They might let you measure once a month or so for free. Search the internet, there are some math formulas out there to use. The important thing is to use the SAME method every time you measure. I prefer the tape measure. It doesn't measure fat content per se, but a weekly measure around the waist, bust, hips and thighs lets me know if I'm leaner than the scale tells me (or not). Are you a teacher? I work for the school system and I'm home more during the summer too. It's so easy to slip when the routine is gone! But, you just have to work at it. Some tricks I use: fresh veg is ALMOST as satisfying as salty chips/crackers and of course without dip, gum, especially minty or cinnamon gum allows you to postpone snacking, and human contact. Call somebody and talk instead of eating (or Spark). It's hard not to treat the family...heck, I'm about to stir up some homemade ice cream tonight! But, I have smaller dishes that I use for myself that helps keep my snacking within proper portion. Good luck and happy summer! You're doing great.

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TISHTOES 7/7/2011 5:15AM

    Keep on keeping on! Try not to get discouraged because that is when the downspiral begins and keeps going.... Just pick yourself up, each day is a new day. Keep exercising and track your food.

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 7/5/2011 8:45PM

    Yeah, unfortunately I have to agree that tracking food / dietary restraint & consistency seems to be really important, both from my own personal experience and from the scientific literature on maintaining.

As for measuring % body fat, yes that can be tricky. There is a synopsis of methods here:

http://www.sparkpeople
.com/mypage_public_journal_indi
vidual.asp?blog_id=4134115
<
BR>Upshot: Depending on your size, either a simple measuring tape or calipers is probably the way to go. Despite all the fancy high-tech methods out there...

Comment edited on: 7/5/2011 8:48:16 PM

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NORASPAT 7/4/2011 11:18PM

    I track as much as I can. I cannot say it is 100% but I will stay honest to the tracker. I have such a long list of favourites, groups and often put in Breakfast and night time snack since they affect my diabetes the mosT. I am glad there are others who plateau for years. Mine is at 9 months but i rarely gain I just cannot get to my goal of being overweight. I have had less than five pounds to be there since October last year.

Barbara I will say that my clothes went from size 20 to 16 but the scale is the same. I have had to buy all new underwear but the scale is the same so i do suspect that you are right. I know I can call our hospital and ask for a body fat analasys. It has been free of charge.
HUGS Pat in Cool Maine. HUGS emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SLENDERELLA61 7/4/2011 9:56PM

    I suspect I will always need to track. At one time my goal was "intuitive eating" but I've seen quite a few maintainers get in trouble that way. I think tracking is a small price to pay for living at a healthy weight.

My YMCA has one fellow well trained to do calipers. BodPod is another way to get more accurate body fat % feedback. Google on it and see if there is one near you.

Congrats on the swimming, WATP, and healthy activity. My best advice regarding the eating is to never, never give up. Just keep trying every day. Never throw in the towel. Do the best you can at all times and when you think it isn't good enough, don't criticize yourself, just figure out how to do it better the next time. If you keep at it, you will get it.

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MEADSBAY 7/4/2011 9:43PM

    I think I read somewhere you can get a pair of accurate but cheap plastic calipers online somewhere- maybe a diet site or something.
If you are within a few pounds of your goal weight (a happy place I've never even visited) can't you just go by how your clothes fit?
When they start feeling snug- eat less for a few days.
Who am I to give advice?
Although I did have a plateau that lasted a year and a half - sort of maintaining- wasn't I?


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CMRAND54 7/4/2011 9:26PM

    I can sympathize. I am still tracking faithfully every day, for more than a year and a half now. I don't see myself tracking every day for the rest of my life but I don't know when I can quit. I've been at my goal weight for more than 6 months now, but will that change if I quit tracking? I seem to want more food than I should. I've put on a lot of muscle, I think, through weight lifting, but I don't have any idea what my fat percentage is.

Just hang in there and try to stay healthy.

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