Without going into the technical details, the system basically sends electrical pulses through your arms and legs and measures the impedance on the signal. It took about 5 minutes going through all of the prompts and taking the measurement. Dr. Sokalsky then walked me through the 8 pages of information that the system provides. There were a few key things to get out of all the information provided:
- Phase Angle
- Body Fat Percentage
Skeletal Muscle Mass
Resting Energy Expenditure
There was a lot more information in the packet but I’ll just go through my results for these sections.
Weight: 196.1 Pounds
This was immediately after breakfast but it was also my first measurement so I’m not too worried about getting an exact number. The SECA website does recommend not eating a huge meal right before but my breakfast was light os I’m not worried.
Using my height, the system also calculated my BMI which isn’t always accurate (especially for athletes which I am not). Either way, my BMI says I am 32.6 kg/m2, indicating Obese Class 1. I am not surprised by this considering I have let my weight and health get away from me the last few years.
Phase Angle: 5.3º
This is “a measure of the quantity and quality of the somatic cells”. Basically, it says how healthy your cells are. For women, it should be above a 5 so I’m good!
Body Fat Percentage: 45%
A healthy body fat percentage for women is 21%-33%. One can go lower than 21% if they are extremely athletic but that is not important today. The important thing to look at is that I have a ways to go but I have a starting point!
Skeletal Muscle Mass: 54.2 Pounds
This is the amount of muscle I am carrying around. We want to watch this number stay the same or move up. To make that happen, you have to burn fat (cardio) and lift weights. We all know how much I love lifting so I don’t think I will have a problem keeping my muscle mass up.
Resting Energy Expenditure: 1648 kilocalories per day
This is basically the amount of calories I burn per day when I don’t do much of anything. You might want to consider it like the Basal Metabolic Rate. What Dr. Sokalsky told me is that if I want to lose weight, I should be using this number. On active days, I should eat at or below this value, while on inactive days, I need to eat even less. (Public Service Announcement: Never go below 1200 calories consumed per day (for women; men stick to 1800), or your body’s metabolism will shut down).
While you can weigh yourself at home, get one of those hand held body fat analyzers, and figure out your BMR online, it is nice to have a more accurate measurement in addition to a being accountable to a professional. Dr. Sokalsky has a complete medically-guided weight loss program for which he uses the SECA system as a tool. This is a great way for both patient and doctor to measure progress.
Some people prefer to go by feel – how their clothes fit, how they look in the mirror, etc. But I am a numbers person, and I like hard, cold data.
My Weight May 2009-Today
Blue = Total Body Weight
Red = Lean Body Weight
Green = Body Fat Weight
See what I mean? Oh and hey look at that, I kept my lean mass very steady over the last few years! Now that I have a starting point I just have to implement a plan. From this chart, you see I know how to lose weight without losing muscle mass. I just have to make it happen again! I’ll post my plan of action another day since this post is getting long. Until then!
Do you prefer to have numbers or go by feel?
I know some people get upset over the numbers. To me, it is just data, reflecting my current state. I don’t let it affect my mood or mindset. Of course though, when your clothes are getting too big, that is an awesome feeling! But I like the numbers to go with it too