Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly (numbers)

Yesterday was our annual health assessment at work- a dreaded event. Staff may voluntarily make an appointment to take cholesterol levels, do a health assessment, body mass index, sleep scale and then get a general report on how you are doing with one of the wellness coaches.

The first year this was offered, I was very thankful. I was curious about some of these numbers - being young enough that no Dr. seemed to think they were important enough to investigate yet. Mostly, it was good news. Year two - I was mostly excited, after all - I had good results the first time. However, year two carried with it a comparison to last year. Overall, I was heading downhill in most regards.

So here comes year three - and obviously I'm not expecting a cheering crowd - since I'm participating in this weight loss blog. So the results are in. Last year, my goal was to drop 20 pounds. This year, it appears I was confused by my goal as I gained about 20 pounds. That's 20 pounds above what I thought was 20 pounds too high last year. OUCH. Now, this was not a shock to me - I've seen the numbers daily when I step on the scale. It just hurts to see it in print and to fess up to the failure / obvious lack of motivation for last years goal. Generally, in life - I don't try to suck at things that I've set as a goal. So we will consider this the ugly part of the report.

But, don't fear, I also had "good". My overall cholesterol went down. My good cholesterol went up AND my bad cholesterol went down like 20 points. Yeah me! I attribute this success to the eating of oatmeal cereals and cereal bars, an increase in high fiber items in my diet, and my heightened awareness of trying to avoid fried foods / high fat foods. Let me be clear, I am no saint - there have been french fries in my life from time to time. But generally, I've been more selective of my eating out choices (because it seems that those are always the loaded guns). If I don't LOVE the food - I've stopped eating it. After all, if it's bad for you and it's not really good enough to make your tummy do the happy dance - why do it? I have also tried to pump up the fruits and veggies - I think they always tell you to do better on that goal. Is it also possible that my choice replace most of my chocolate cravings with dark chocolate has also paid off? I'm going to believe in the power of dark chocolate.

And then there was the "bad". My stress levels were at an alarming level - uh, you think so? Life is crazy - so much is undone - death has greeted my family - and I have worries, you know? So this wasn't shocking - but I thought I was holding it together a bit better than my survey results suggested. And the whole body mass index thing - well, it's ugly and bad. I officially hit the "obese" category (by a fraction of a percentage - but still, it's there - right in my face). Apparently my body composition does not have enough water content - which is crazy to me because I drink 3 times as much as anyone else I know. And, they break down the number of pounds in your body that are fat and the number of pounds that are lean. I was pretty happy with the lean number - until I realized it wasn't a percentage. Then I was less pleased. And to see how many pounds of fat you are carrying around in print. Well, let's just say- if the average baby born weighs 6 lbs, then I could seriously give Kate a run for her money - b/c I'm carrying more than 8 - I'm closer to 10.5. If that was something to be proud of - I'd high five you in cyberspace. Sadly, it's not.

So to recap. What have we learned? 1. Don't set goals that involve numbers - just in case you get confused. (This years goal is to increase exercise. Yeah sticker chart.) 2. It appears that the small - though very good for me-exercise that I have been doing on my break time at work (in the free fitness center, I know, don't yell at me) has paid off in some regard - just not on the scale. 3. I'm carrying approximately 11 children worth of fat! (that will give me nightmares) 4. Little changes do matter and they inspire bigger changes. 5. Use the resources that you have and build on the things you are already doing well.

Next year, I plan on this post being titled "How I Rock - Officially with Data and Everything!" Until then...


Janet said...

I feel your pain. I'm officially obese too. It's an ugly word. And really, I think we look like most of the general population (who I suppose are also obese). Sadly, I think "average" in our country means seriously in poor health.

Next year will be better! Oh, and congrats on the cholesterol going down too!

Regina said...

I just saw a news blip that said the AVERAGE woman is a size 14 in America. How is it that in that case I'm UNDER the average and yet I'm flirting with the "o" word? Something is very wrong...