Saturday, December 20, 2008

Lean body mass

It wasn't even a good trip; I had a doctor appointment to check up on me after the first three months of my health program, and it was something that probably could have been effectively done over email anyway since mostly all he did was give me printouts of my lab test results. (Shocking news: constant exercise and eating healthy has improved my health.)

According to the tests, my lean body mass is right around 200 pounds. The numbers I've gotten from all three body composition tests I've taken so far have been within a few pounds, so I assume they're reasonably accurate. This is roughly what I would weigh if I had 0% body fat. This gives me a little better perspective on what I might look like at various weights. Since I weigh about 240 right now, it means I have about 40 pounds of fat. If I lose another 20 pounds, I'll have lost half of my remaining fat, and "half" is a heck of a lot easier to comprehend and visualize than "20 pounds." At "half" I'd actually look pretty good, I think.

It also gives a little supporting evidence to why I keep hearing and reading that body mass index (BMI) isn't really that useful for people my height. At 240 pounds I cross the threshold from "obese" to "overweight." At 200 pounds I move from "overweight" to "normal" BMI. Based on my measured lean body mass, at 200 pounds I would be a lot thinner than "normal"—that would be right around 0% body fat, and 2-5% is the essential minimum for men. If this is all accurate, that means that my minimum weight is about 210 pounds (ignoring any muscle gain between now and then), or 30 less than where I am now.

Of course, reaching my body's minimum fat level is not my goal. I don't have a goal, but if I did, that would not be it. It is, however, both interesting and useful to have some more perspective than I did before. I'll see where this all goes. It's getting harder and harder to lose weight, which is a little disheartening, but in another light it's also a bit encouraging, because it means I have made progress. I started this all without really knowing where it was all going, and slowly I find myself getting a better picture of what my body is like.

Currently listening: Kanye West—Robocop

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