Body Composition & BMI - 17 month VSG update

Aug 10, 2011

Earlier this week it was my 17 month surgerversary of my VSG and I'm maintaining between 160 and 164lbs which is great.  I still want to get to 159 - normal BMI - and 150 - which would be exactly half of me - but if I REALLY WANTED TO get to 159/155 - I would be there by now - so in a way these are 'head' rather than 'heart' numbers.  What do I mean by that ? - well - if you've read my blog before - you'll know that I have an internal debate with myself about what my goal weight should be as frankly I'm not a fan of BMI as it doesn't take into account body composition.

So here goes : I'm 5 foot 7 tall and started my weight loss journey at 299lbs

At the start of my weight loss journey I focussed on the loss of pounds and inches, but as I've got closer to the end of my journey I started focussing on the composition of my body as well as what the scales are saying.

I exercise a lot (pilates reformer, squash, running, gym, body combat, RPM) and have done since I had my sleeve and tracking composition helps to see what's going on and also to help with target weight loss.

I currently weigh 160 lbs which according to the BMI scale is 1lb away from the high end of normal BMI.  If you take a look at the BMI tables then the middle of the BMI range for my height is 141lbs.

So, ok - 159 seems doable, and 141 - wow lovely - I COULD be striving towards getting to 141 and working really hard to get there BUT and it's a big BUT - my body composition is as follows :

I have 131lbs of lean mass (muscles, bone, electrolytes and fluids) - assuming I maintain the lean mass (which is what I plan to do)

at 25% body fat (which is in the middle of the fat % range for a woman) - my idea weight is 131 + 33 = 163lbs,
at 30% (the higher end of the % fat range for a women ) my idea weight is 131 + 40 = 171lbs.
at 20% (the lower end of body fat for a women) then the weight is 131 +26 + 157lbs

Below 20% body fat you are starting to look at the kind of % body fat that athletes/body builders have.

It's unlikely that I'm ever going to get much below 157lbs (unless I seriously want to reduce body fat) as I have a significant amount of lean body mass.  If I maintain my lean mass then the middle of the BMI range of 141lbs - would mean that I would only have 10lbs of fat which is not healthy at all and I'm not sure would even be possible - the only way I could get there is to reduce my lean mass - muscles, bone, fluids or electrolytes - NO THANK YOU !

So I guess I'm saying that it's more than just the scales, particularly if you train a lot and are building muscle - hopefully the picture below helps to demonstrate this.

PS - a pound of fat and a pound of muscle weigh the same ! - but fat takes up 5x more space than muscle - hence how you can shape up and lose inches and not necessarily lose pounds !

I got my composition test done at a nutrition shop, I think in the US you also have the BodPod - or your personal trainer/gym should be able to help you work this out.