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One (Disappointed) Fat Rheumatologist

One (Disappointed) Fat Rheumatologist

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By Dr Irwin Lim, Rheumatologist

I've been itching to find out if I had lowered my body fat. It's been more than 6 months now, since I decided to get serious about my new year's resolution of getting a little fitter.

About 3 month's ago, my body composition scan showed an improvement in total body fat percentage, from 26% to 22.7%. I was a less fat rheumatologist and I was happy. It was validation that what I was doing was working and I was happy to share that with you all.

I've just come home from having the repeat scan.

Not so happy and a little disappointed. My body fat percentage has increased to 24%! Ouch.

I suppose I could put it down to a degree of measurement error. Every test has a degree of this so small changes may not be so relevant.

But, in truth, I know that the last 3 months has been more of a grind. A couple of overseas holidays, a busier period of work, an illness or two, and the much colder weather have played a part. I haven't exercised as much and I've been eating very well.

And yet, my weight has fallen. I weigh 67.6kg which gives me a BMI of 22.6. Perfectly acceptable.

So what's happening?

I've actually loss some lean muscle mass since the last scan and gained a little fat mass (muscle weighs more than fat). This isn't so good if the goal is fitness and a more healthy body composition.

I don't actually want to lose weight.

Well, I'm disappointed but the recent result is motivating. That's why we measure body composition at BJC Health. The results don't lie and can act very much as a motivation tool.

On the flip side, for those fixated and disappointed at a lack of weight loss as measured by their scales, the body composition scan may actually show that body fat is being lost while muscle is being made. A good and healthy situation.

I'm going to have a chat with Melissa, my exercise physiologist. I think I need to stop being so lazy and incorporate more weight training in my regime. I'll be visiting my bike a little more as well.

Dr Irwin Lim is a rheumatologist and a director of BJC Health.
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