Yep, you read right. A whopping 39.5% of my body is fat (I rounded up the percentage for a more succinct headline).
How the **** did a previously petite, size 8 woman end up in this state? Seriously, before writing this I had to have a strong word with myself!
My 10-week personal training journey to fitness began when GPFIT London’s personal trainer, George, came to my house to talk and listen about my health and fitness goals. He also took some measurements.
You’ll know from reading my previous posts how nervous I was about this initial consultation. Nervous about how I’d look in my ‘gym’ gear; whether I’d be asked to do any exercise straight away, blah blah blah. So nervous that I didn’t think too much about what my fitness level and body measurements would be, or for that matter about their impact on my health.
On arrival George listened to me waffle on about this and that (I always talk too much when I’m nervous) and then told me not to be nervous. Ha, rumbled! He then put me at my ease and asked how I felt about myself, my fitness, about everything anything I wanted to share. I confided in him the same way I did with you in previous posts. I explained how I felt I’d gone ‘off track’ after having children. And how I was worried I’d never feel or look good in the future because I was ‘too far gone’!
Then with George’s help I made a list of my fitness goals. In the future, if ever I had a wobble and felt like giving up, I could refer to these to re-motivate. My personal goals are to:
- Spend more time being active with my children.
- Improve my fitness levels I’m less out of breath.
- Build my self-esteem so I feel better about myself and my appearance. (Yep, I may be fat but I am still interested in how I look. I think most of us are, if we’re honest!)
Then it was measurement time. If you feel uncomfortable, George gives you the option to opt out of this phase in the program. However, I’m a marketer by trade and I know the value of baseline data to help you evaluate success (or not) further down the line. Therefore, despite feeling mildly embarrassed about George knowing my vitals, I gave him the go-ahead. I needn’t have worried. There was no removing of clothes; no grabbing of fatty rolls. That shocking percentage body fat statistic was obtained using a piece of snazzy equipment called BodyMetrix, which felt similar to when you have a pregnancy scan, except it only touches a very small area of your skin at a time.The latest studies now show that it’s percentage body fat that has the closest correlation to predicting health. I should fall into the 13-24% range. At 39.5% obviously I was well outside of this (and to my horror therefore considered obese)!
My other vital statistics are:
- Blood pressure: Normal (at least I got something right, though I’m so surprised this is the case!)
- Weight: 75.8kg = overweight
- BMI: 28.9 = overweight
- BMR: 1631.1 kcal/day
Body Mass Index (BMI) is a common , mathematical formula in which a person’s body weight is divided by the square of his or her height. Individuals with a BMI of 25 to 29.9 are considered overweight, while individuals with a BMI of 30 or more are considered obese. However, like weight, BMI may not be the best measure of someone’s health because it measures you against standard norms that don’t take into consideration actual body composition. George is more interested in reducing my percentage body fat.
Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is the minimal caloric requirement, or the amount of energy your body would burn, if you remained lying down for 24 hours. Based on all my measurements it was concluded I should lose approx. 15.5 kg of body fat. Since a healthy rate of fat loss is generally considered to be no more than 0.9 kg per week, George calculated it’d take me 121 days to reach my target.
And so the #121toFitMum hashtag was born!
To achieve my ideal body weight and lose the fat I would need to decrease my daily caloric intake while maintaining my current activity level. If I increased my activity level I could consume more calories and still work towards my goal. Better still, if I exercised consistently, then my BMR and daily energy expenditure would improve and increase my body’s efficiency in burning calories. So, while it’s not all about losing weight (and at GPFIT London they don’t talk about you losing anything – it’s all about what you’re gaining!) it is important to eat, as well as train, well in order to keep an eye of levels of sugar, salt, sodium and cholesterol, as well as to torch that fat!
Check out myfitnesspal!
George recommended I download mobile app myfitnesspal to help me track my food intake as well as my weekly workouts. I have to say I’m already a bit addicted! It seems you can scan food items as well as manually inputting them, and I can see that it’s going to make my life so much easier!
Whether I’m obese or overweight, the long and the short of it is that I’ve seen in black and white that I’m badly out of shape.
And it’s not just about how I look. My high percentage of body fat significantly increases my risk of developing heart disease, stroke, diabetes, certain types of cancer and other chronic illnesses. And a lower life expectancy. Of course I also knew this; I used to work for both Macmillan Cancer Support and the Stroke Association. Seeing the graph of relative disease risks below really hit home how important it is for me to see this fitness programme through to the end and beyond:
As the 1.5hr consultation came to a close I couldn’t help but glance repeatedly at the disease risks section – and the word OBESE – on the laptop screen. But George kept me focused. He reiterated what my fitness goals were and, just a couple of hours after leaving, followed up with a supportive email:
“We spoke at length about a lot of important aspects of your life. Thank you for sharing these very personal things, I know it’s not always easy to talk to a complete stranger but I hope that you found it useful”.
“All your goals are achievable with proper focus and dedication. Whilst there will be blips, dips and small ‘flames’ as I called them this morning, if you stay mindful of the reasons you’re making the changes to your life you are far more likely to stay on track. Especially with my guidance and motivation until you are ready to go it alone. Just remember that by making small but significant modification to your life over time you will see big results long term. Ultimately a much happier you!”
I now feel determined to make a change for life. I really don’t think I would have started out on this journey without a nudge from GPFIT London. Previously I was all talk and no action because I didn’t know where to begin. GPFIT London has shown me I need to start at the beginning – acknowledge where I am currently, and visualise where I want to be in 10 weeks’ time.
And I need to put in some hard work. That starts Thursday – my first GPFIT London workout.
Follow my #121toFitMum blog to receive new post alerts. And , if you want to join me, visit GPFIT London’s website for more information on their customised fitness programmes.
Until next week!
PPS. To read the previous #121toFitMum blog post click here.