Wednesday, January 14, 2015

How I Measure Success

I'm not prone to profanity, but this just sums
up my mission.
Part 1: The Numbers

Now that I've told you that Scale and I have beef, and that you shouldn't allow her to control your life I guess I need to explain a bit more as to why.
As mentioned previously Scale, as I like to call her, is a numerical reflection of our relationship to gravity. That's It! The number is not an evaluation of who you are regardless of social and media pressure, which has placed so much significance on the number that we have forsaken individuality and uniqueness. Whew, but I won't get preachy here, lol, I'll save that for another day in How I Measure Success Part 2.

So am I suggesting that we forsake Scale, and throw her in the trash?  Absolutely not. When I first joined there was a group called EM2WL. Not sure if the group is still active, but their website is Oh My Goodness! I learned so much from these ladies. Everything from, as their name suggests, eating more to weigh less, how lifting heavy is beneficial to women, how muscle is neater than fat and much much more. I know, I know. All these topics warrant more explanation lol. Hopefully I can cover them as I continue to crank out these posts. It was also through these ladies that I was introduced to some of these tools we are about to discuss. Thank you ladies! So, no we don't throw Scale out, but Scale, combined with other tools are far better indicators of what is happening to your body than what Scale alone provide.

Here is a list of the tools that I use to get develop an analysis of my body composition and explanation: (it may get a bit boring but stick with me)

  1. Percent Body Fat or Body Fat % - Body fat provides a reservoir of energy for the body. In addition to storing energy, a minimum amount of body fat is needed to protect the organs from bruising and to avoid certain viruses and other infections. A high percent body fat significantly increases the risk of lifestyle diseases.
  2. Body Weight - (Scale, we all know what she does, lol) The weight of a person is an independent health risk according to the N. I.H. Framingham studies. Thus, considerable research has been performed on the relationship of a person's weight to life span, a number of aging diseases, and the quality of life. If a person has a significant excess weight combined with excess body fat, the risks are compounded.
  3. Body Mass Index (BMI) - BMI is calculated by dividing a person's weight by their height squared. It was invented in Belgium in the mid 1800, before there was any practical method of measuring percent body fat. Because of its simplicity, it is still commonly used by doctors even thought validity is poor for athletes, children, the elderly and other groups (Hang in there we are at the midpoint!)
  4. Lean Body Mass (LBM) - LBM has been described as an index that is superior to total body weight. Also, body fat is less relevant when considering metabolism. For prescribing proper levels of medication and for assessing metabolic disorders, LBM is the better indicator.
  5. Body Water or Hydration - Water is the largest component of the human body, and one of the most vital, as it helps the body flush out toxins and maintain proper organ function. The percentage of water in the human body is between 45-70 percent. Falling under this percentage will result in dehydration. Conversely, exceeding this level can result in intoxication.
  6. Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) - Basal Metabolic Rate is the amount of energy expended daily by humans and other animals at rest. Rest is defined as being awake, but totally relaxed and not performing any work. The release and use of energy in this state are sufficient only for function of vital organs; the heart, lungs, nervous system, kidneys, liver, intestine, sex organs, and muscles and skin.
  7. And lastly, not so technical but they work for me, - Measurements - keeping a record of inches lost week over week (or whatever your evaluation time period) is an effective way to tell that progress is happening.  Most popular measurement keep are breast, waist and hips, but I would recommend measuring all the areas that matter to you.  In addition to the others listed I keep records of my calf, forearms and neck.  
Done! We made it.
Here you can see my analysis from my Nutrition Coach.  I just started
today.  Before I had to run the numbers myself.
All of these indicators together with Scale, in my opinion, provide a far more comprehensive evaluation of what is happening with my body, specifically for the purposes of measuring my success in this journey to healthy living.

You can these calculators, all over the web. I started with Scooby's because that is what the great ladies at had recommended.
Does this mean I don’t get on Scale often?  No, it doesn't. I actually get on about two times per week. Sometimes I can go for weeks without her and other times, if I’m honest, I’m tempted to step on her after every intake, elimination (TMI), and workout looking for change as I have done in the past. For these reasons I keep Scale out of sight.

How do you measure success? Do you have any personal favorites? Is there one measurement that you rely on most and why?  I would love to hear from you.

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