…and I’m not doing nearly as badly as I thought I was!

The numbers, as you may have guessed, refers to the results of my most recent DXA body composition scan. I do these scans a few times per year in order to assess my progress (or regress, as the case may be ;)) towards my fat loss and muscle gain goals. Aside from fat mass and lean mass numbers, the scans also provide such valuable information as bone density, distribution of fat mass throughout the body, and imbalances in musculature between right and left sides.

The bathroom scale is a coarse tool, incapable of giving the complete picture. If I were relying on the scale alone, I would be thrilled to tell everyone that at less than five months post-partum, I am an unbelievable nine pounds lighter than I was before I became pregnant! But the DXA scan quickly reveals that my weight loss is in fact due to a loss of muscle (11.9 pounds, to be precise) — and that I now carry 3.3 pounds more body fat than I did then.

Prior to this most recent scan, I also had one done at two weeks post-partum. I have since lost 7.1 pounds of body fat (yay!) and 2.8 pounds of lean mass (boo!). This is actually not too bad, considering I haven’t had the opportunity to set foot in a gym since I was eight months pregnant.

I’ve carefully examined all of my scans since September 2007, and have used these to determine what I believe to be achievable body composition goals for this year.  By the end of the year, I am striving for:

– 30 pounds body fat (presently at 38.6 pounds)
– 115-120 pounds lean mass (presently at 104 pounds)
– 20 to 21 percent body fat overall (presently at 26.1 percent)
– overall weight to remain between 145 to 150 pounds (presently 147.9 pounds)

I am primarily concerned with regaining my lost muscle mass; I think the fat loss will happen organically as a byproduct of this effort. Unless I see a real stall in my fat loss, I don’t plan to do any calorie counting.

Just as I would not set my body composition goals without first undergoing a detailed assessment of my current status, I will not be setting my performance (fitness) goals for the year until I’ve had a few weeks in the gym to assess my present capabilities.

Following are some of the data from my most recent DXA scan, which was conducted at Bodycomp Imaging in Vancouver. Click on the images to view them in full size.

Summary of results, with a comparison between my current scan and the most recent one previous.

Top left: X-ray image showing bone (darkest), lean mass (medium) and fat (lightest). Bottom left: My bone density plotted on a chart. Right: Detailed breakdown of my bone density by region of the body.

Top left: The colours show the distribution of bone, lean and fat mass in much greater detail. Bottom and right: Representations of my body composition in relation to various standard indices.

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