Thursday, March 20, 2008

Chewing the fat

Last weekend was our Body Composition lecture. Not exactly scary, but I was nervous. Body composition is basically a way of dividing the human body into Fat Mass and Fat Free Mass. Not an exact science but when your scores compared to the "norms", it puts you in percentile in relationship to everyone else in your age and gender groups.

In class, each person's skin (or fat) folds on different sites on the body were measured with skin fold calipers. Today in my Women in Weight Training class, body composition came up again. Before today, I hadn't even plugged my numbers into the equations to look at my "scores." I suddenly felt the need to know what my scores were because, and get this, I was feeling self conscious about not being able to swim this week.

I thought by knowing my scores, I would put this to rest...I'm not fat, in fact, I would have thought that I was in fairly good shape in relationship to the rest of America. I'm in the 50th percentile. That means I'm average. I'm in better shape than 50% of people in America.

What happened to the obesity epidemic? What happened to "oh, she's the athletic one...she doesn't have to worry about fat" ??? Yeah, even though it was never true that I never had to worry about fat, but 50th percentile? Average. Damn it, I 've always been average.

I don't even know why it bothers me. I have a feeling that I won't be suggesting this inexact and degrading science to any of my future clients. I thought that because I'm in fairly good shape, not exactly fat, I would have scored higher. Knowing my scores just makes me feel bad. I feel the need to lose weight...and not in a good way.

The ramifications of this are huge. I know what body weight I feel comfortable at, I know how hard it is to get to and maintain. I don't necessarily need to lose any significant amount of weight, and doing so may even be detrimental to my health. Imagine if I performed these equations on my low-self-esteem clients who don't have that background of knowing how to lose weight in a healthy, meaningful way. Bad news.

As much as I think I could be a motivational force and source of knowledge for my clients, everyone is ultimately going to do what they want. No matter how much knowledge I give them, everyone wants a quick fat loss cure. That, my friends, does not exist. Not longer term. Not healthy.

No comments: