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Commit to Fit | Week 10

Author | Commit to Fit 2013 Winner, Judith Zissman

Well, I’ve done it. I’ve hit my goal weight of 120 pounds.

You’re surprised, right? It’s only been a couple of weeks since I started the Commit to Fit program! How is this possible?

Let me back up a bit. I have no idea what bits of pop culture, women’s magazines and other misinformation shaped the number in my head, but I’ve always thought of that number - 120 pounds - as “what a woman should weigh”. I mean, sure, people have different builds, so let’s say maybe 115-125. But that’s it, really. 130? That’s enormous!

I haven’t been anywhere near 130 since high school, of course, but I always had that in my head as the weight I’d probably be, someday, if I ever lost weight.

Imagine my surprise, then, when as part of my initial intake appointment at MV Nutrition, Sarah ran a BIA test and calculated my fat free mass (that is, the weight of my bones, muscles, connective tissues, organs, blood - basically everything except fat) at 120.8 pounds.

See? I’ve hit my goal! Except for one important detail: you can’t have 0% body fat, especially if you’re a woman.

If we consider that women need to have at least 10% body fat for essential body function (according to the American Council on Exercise), then I’m looking at 133 pounds - that’s right, three more than “enormous” - to be alive.

Let’s do some more math. This is the ACE guideline for women, multiplied out from my current fat free mass.

Percent Body Fat Norms

 

Women

My fat free mass plus this % body fat would be:

Essential Fat

10-13%

133-137

Athletes

14-20%

138-145

Fitness

21-24%

146-150

Acceptable

25-31%

151-158

Obesity

>32%

159+

This was really shocking to me. I’d assumed if I lost all the weight I wanted to lose, I’d be crossing that 130 pound threshold at some point, but it seems that would be actually very very dangerous. It’s easy to see how these misconceptions drive really disordered thinking about weight in our society!

At this point in my Commit to Fit work, I’ve lost just under 15 pounds, and all of that has been fat - my fat free mass remains constant at 120 pounds, which is great. This means that the strength training I’ve done has been building and strengthening my muscles as I restrict and burn calories (more on why this is important). Billy reminds me that as I lose more weight, my fat free mass will likely decrease as well, as I won’t need all of this muscle to carry around a smaller body. That said, I will probably never weigh 120 pounds.

And what is more surprising is this: the goal weight Sarah and I have set for the end of this program is actually in the overweight or obese range depending on what chart you’re reading. That seemed strange to me until I read this terrific blog post today called “I Am Overweight” from Go Kaleo, who made profound changes in her body and looks amazing.

Ultimately, I find that I need to keep in mind that the number on the scale and the body fat percentage are useful numbers to track progress, and that’s it. My goals aren’t about numbers - they’re about enjoying my life. And I have to say that even though we’re just getting going with Commit to Fit, I’m already starting to see results in that area too.

 

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