Wednesday, May 19

Did You Just Call Me Fat?

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.
Measurements: 33-29-40.5
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.


  1. Great review! So sorry about the heredity thing; it's our German ancestry. We have a tendency to sit on a good portion of our weight. I won't elaborate on the appropriate term.
    Love ya,

  2. So, THAT'S how much you weigh, huh? ;)

  3. Gee, I remember when I weighed 133, um, I think I was, yes, 43 (but probably really 60 in my age factoring in all that stuff they factor in on these tests). Now, I'm 62 and probably 82 and at least 15 pounds heavier, well actually if I'm going to be honest, ummmm, well, a little more. I'm a friend of Bernie's and she suggested your site. Jump on it at 43, so when you're 60, maybe you'll be 43 ;O) Your blog looks like it's going to be fun. Caroline

  4. Yowza! ...Emaciated muscle wrapped in a 27% fat... Sounds like discount bacon! I'm right there with ya'... probably in the severely sarcopenic category also known as pork rind. Hey, Is my phase angle 1 if I am wide with a flat rear? Or... am I a thousand year old potato chip like Tutankhamun....


  5. Dianna, I'll follow your progress. I'm on an eight week vacation. I'll need at least an eight week program when I get back.

  6. Bravely done! I expect a complete transformation 8 weeks

  7. My journey begins tomorrow with my assessment. I can't wait!!! My life and body can only get better at this point! Looking forward to sharing the journey with you.

  8. I was told, by a friend of your mom's- Kathy in Augusta, GA- to check out your blog...
    because I too write a blog, and we even use the same blogger template!
    No, that's not the real reason, at least I don't think it is.
    It might be because I am 44, have 6 kids and weight, well, let's say it's a bit more than you.
    But I AM 2 inches taller... okay, that won't work here, but I have some health issues and have been trying to be healthier and happier... which is working, just not in 8 weeks.

    So I will follow your progress, and hopefully, I will learn some new things, and be so motivated by jealousy at your wonderful progress that I will do just as well... okay, that I will keep doing what I need to do so I can live to be 60... or even 90!
    If I'm dreaming, I'm gonna dream big!

  9. You should really post that "before" photo...