Most of these scans revealed only micro improvements to my weight. However, having this scheduled check-in booked, seems to curb the worst of my excesses and keeps me oscillating back to the straight and narrow. Historically if I take my eye off the ball, which typically means removing my daily or weekly weigh in, then my weight climbs. Easily half to one whole stone can slip onto my body over the year. So I had been happy at least to stop the inevitable climb.
Trouble is, at a weight drop of about 2 lbs per year I wasn’t going to reach my goal weight til my mid 60s. Not a very happy thought given my ever crumbling arthritic knees were/are becoming more and more restrictive as months pass.
Triggered by starvation viewing in Alone and then an Instagram post by big_silver_bird who now uses a nutritionist that I respect. I decided to start dabbling with Exante a VLCD or very low calorie diet.
I say dabbling because after a fortnight of strictly following the 800 cal plan I started to half arse it a bit. Adding back a G&T (or two) and having a more substantial dinner. My argument is that I still wanted to have energy for exercise and so was happy to sacrifice some of the very dramatic rates of loss that people experience on this diet.
I still lost about a stone in a month and then hit a plateau which I am now trying to dislodge with a month of Whole30.
For me, this bitting and bobbing approach works or at least I like to tell myself it does. It delays the desire to throw in the towel as I have something new and shiny to try but I am obviously sacrificing pace.
I had another scan last week to freeze the progress into another no-holds-barred view of my interior.
In the past 2 years I’ve lost 10kg (22lbs) with largest drop occurring in recent months as I started the VLCD.
Overall I lost 2 kg of lean mass in the two years since I’ve been accurately monitoring it. Most of that was lost in my legs and coincided with lockdown 1. I suspect this related to the loss of my daily cycle commute and increasingly painful knees. I was pretty surprised to note that the period that spanned my VLCD experience was not associated with losses in muscle mass – during this period it stayed constant while 5 kg of fat dropped off me instead.
Ever since that first scan was taken, the number that registered most with me was the VAT score or Visceral Adipose Tissue area. This is the fat that sits around your internal organs such as heart, liver and kidneys and does no one any good. Levels above 100 cm2 are associated with significantly poorer health outcomes and my initial reading was 142 cm2.
Heart attack city.
This latest reading was 106 cm2. That’s a 25% reduction and makes me feel good. Hopefully I can dip under the 100 mark by my next check in point.
I pay £180 for two progress scans per year. Personally I think that is well worth it for the accountability and empirical evidence. There are cheaper ways to achieve accountability though, like a tight fitting set of clothes. I actually think it offers a starker and possibly more motivating contrast than the side by side shots from the DexaScan.