A Nutrition and Fitness post.
How much fat and how much lean mass ?
Where am i at 7 months all-in ?
Numbers, part 1.
I thought today that i’d do a review of where i am at with my main effort this year which, started in January, has been my big push to get my weight under control and sort out a few health problems. This could turn out to be a bit of a long post in several sections but it’s a quiet day as iv’e got the house to myself and my only essential jobs today are to get out for a couple of hours walk and later on to cook for my partner when she comes in from her shift.
To kick off then : what i’m doing and where i’m at 7 months in from starting my radical experiment with LCHF/Keto and everything else that followed. Today for example i’m day 2 ( about 36 hrs) into a longer deliberate fast and this is my 4th week of 6 weeks doing the same thing. If that sounds a bit weird or extreme then all i can say is that the physiological science looks ok, the evidence for fasting good and the experience is surprisingly ‘smooth’.
For the last 3 weeks iv’e actually exercised while in a fasted state…when i say exercise i haven’t been training with weights at all but just doing a lot of walking : yesterday for example was a couple of hours with a moderate load. Today, the only side effects that i noted was waking up a but dry and groggy, a bit of a ‘thick’ head and definitely a ‘keto’ mouth….the dry somewhat metallic taste i get from ketones in my breath. The walking is fine by the way except that i seem to have a slightly slower top speed and that i can’t easily go into a hard push up a steep slope. I’m also not as fast as my partner but she’s a speedy walking machine !
Last week i finally got to me meet up with an old friend of ours who is a personal trainer and sports nutrition coach…one of the few professionally trained ones and who actually does clinical work in things like cardiac rehab and works with high level athletes. Last week when we met up Emily put me on her magic weighing scales that don’t just weigh but can also calculate the parameters of overall fat percentage, visceral fat and lean mass. I really wanted to get those numbers to give me a new baseline at this stage as iv’e been finding it harder to work out what’s going on with my own measurements….long periods now at the same weight but getting slowly leaner.
The numbers then….i’m down to 21 % overall fat and 11 % visceral fat, that’s almost down to what Emily would consider ‘healthy normal’ but obviously isn’t anywhere near athletic standard. One of the odd things about the magic machine is that it also gives an approximate ‘metabolic age’ , iv’e no idea how it does that or what it means but mine came out at 47…seems fine for a 62 year old !. Just to say that the kind of machine that she uses does have it’s limitations and isn’t as accurate as either doing lots of skin fold measurements and crunching the numbers or putting me through a DEXA scan or CAT/NMR scan….i can’t imagine the radiographers at the hospital agreeing to use precious scanner time for something non clinical so ‘magic machine’ it has to be. By the next time we meet up, we’re going to repeat the numbers in 3 months time she should also be able to do the more accurate skin fold measurements and then compare the results from that with the magic machine numbers.
My mistake(s) was definitely in not doing all of that just before i started down this route in January….in fact i was so alarmed and a bit embarrassed by my shape that i didn’t even do a normal weight until the end of the first week and by that stage i had already lost and was rapidly losing body water. What i also didn’t do was a body ‘selfie’ as a record, embarrassment and shame again although i was doing at least a twice weekly weight and weekly waist circumference. Of all the standard measurements it’s probably the overall weight/BMI and the hip to waist ratio that is a diagnostic predictor of likely chronic ill health. Remember that i already had 4 active signs of metabolic syndrome which is essentially the pre-diabetic state : for me that being a combination of obesity, hip to waist ratio at 1 : 1, hypertension and encroaching arthritic pain.
If i was adivising anyone else or discussing this kind of thing with members of my small keto diet group i’d definitely advise a whole set of numbers and measurements beforehand and that including an honest body photograph and if possible a consultation with an unbiased GP who would be prepared to do a set of bloods including a HbA1C and a full lipid profile….but that would mean having a GP who is prepared to work outside the standard guidelines . As it is i’m lucky to be with a very good and active practice but even i didn’t think to have a chat with my lovely GP first….having said that, when i did have to call her to discuss my blood pressure drop she did quite literally ‘squeal like a little girl’…she was that happy with what i’d done !
Anyway that’s stage 1 of today’s post. I’m going to take a quick break and then come back with what iv’e learned in my own experience of going down this route and how that compares with the broader picture from other people.