The starting point for this adventure is the Wellness Evaluation—a comprehensive exam to determine my overall level of health.
Knowing I couldn’t have food or coffee before the exam, I scheduled it for first thing in the morning. I arrived at the Centre with my Venti Nonfat Latte from Starbucks in hand, but untouched.
I thought I was prepared for the morning, but the staff had a surprise for me. To my horror, they took my picture. With my messy hair, caffeine-starved eyes, army-green cargo pants and brown hoodie, I looked like a drug addict entering rehab. Oh well. The “before” picture is supposed to look bad, right?
After taking my blood pressure reading and being weighed and measured, the staff performed a Bioimpedance Analysis (BIA). The BIA calculates your body composition—the measurement of body fat in relation to lean body mass. The BIA was painless and quick, only a few seconds actually. It took longer to stick the electrodes on my hand and foot than it did to run the test. A few minutes later, a piece of paper resembling a grocery receipt printed from a little machine. Instead of calculating my total food bill, it summarized my total state of my health.
And what exactly is my level of health?
Well, even though I would prefer NOT to share this information, (the thought of everyone knowing how much I weigh makes me cringe), for the benefit of The Wellness Project, I feel I must.
Height: 5’ 4 ¾”
Weight: 133.5 lbs.
Phase Angle: 6.1
Intracellular Water: 52.4
Body Mass Index (BMI): 22.5
Fat Mass: 27.4%
Ok, I need a minute. I just told everyone I’m 27% fat. Did you know that standard ground beef is 30% fat? That means I am—literally—as fat as a cow. My fondness for milk has finally been explained.
As if my fat content wasn’t bad enough, looking at my measurements you can see that 100% of that fat is located between my navel and my knees. Can you say pear shape?
Resisting the urge to drown my sorrows in a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Cookie Dough ice cream, I decided to read the Therapeutic Lifestyle Change literature Dr. Lowry handed me. It turns out, my condition is actually fairly common and it even has a fancy medical term. It’s called sarcopenia obesity, which basically says I’ve got too much fat and not enough lean muscle. I am what is commonly referred to as a “skinny-fat.” A person that is theoretically in a healthy weight category, but has too much body fat.
Honestly my first reaction was, so what? I’m not really overweight so what does it matter?
That’s when Dr. Lowry started to discuss some other elements of my BIA, specifically, the phase angle and intracellular water numbers.
The phase angle and intracellular water numbers measure my health at a cellular level. It’s like determining how solid the foundation of a house is. Well, I’m happy to report I’m doing great for a 60-year-old. The problem is, I’m only 43. Crap.
So here I am, walking around every day with the cellular health of someone 20-years older than me. That impacts my ability to fight disease, to recover from injury, and for the vanity in me, the look of my skin and the texture of my hair. I’m not ashamed to say that I don’t like aging. And I’m certainly interested in looking younger. So, wellness and cellular health aside, if you’re telling me I’ll look younger if I change those numbers, then I’m in.
Vanity always trumps health. That’s why women wear high heels.