When Good News Might be Bad News

Usually a smaller measurement is a good thing.  But not always.

Recently, while on my spa vacation, I had my body composition measured.  The good news is that I had less body fat and more lean mass than when I was tested last year.  The bad news is that some of the smaller measurements may actually be due to muscle loss in my upper body resulting from my injury and not being able to lift weights for so long.

The measurement is a pretty inexact science.  It is done with calipers pinching at four locations:  tricep, subscapular, abdomen, and calf.

So I am emotionally torn.  Should I be happy because I have a normal body fat percentage and a lower one than just a year ago?  Or should I be unhappy that the numbers may only have worked out that way because I am potentially actually less fit?  Oh wait… I forgot for just a moment that I am trying to keep viewing my glass as half full!  So I guess that means I will put a smile on my face and love my new numbers.

And I will keep that smile and optimism as I think about the fact that someday, hopefully sooner rather than later, I can start lifting weights again.  And I will keep that smile when I imagine lifting the tiniest possible weights they have at the gym, even smaller than when I started strength training over a decade ago.  Because, darn it, my glass is half full and I know that someday I will be back where I was with bicep curls and shoulder presses and the dreaded push ups.  And with any luck, that day will come soon enough that I can kick some weight lifting butt and build some muscle before the next time I get my body composition tested and then I will know if I am indeed a lean, mean dieting machine or a wimpy, muscle-atrophied featherweight.

Postscript:  I drafted this over a week ago.  Since then, my physical therapist has cleared me to take baby steps back into weight lifting and yoga.   Yesterday, at my weekly mother/daughter workout, I used some itty bitty weights for my upper body and while I felt some moves in my shoulder (mostly limited range of motion still), overall it just felt great to be making progress:)



Filed under body and/or body image, exercise

25 responses to “When Good News Might be Bad News

  1. Genie@dietof51

    No way! I’m not first today!

    You are so glass-half-full, I’m surprised that you’re a little torn over this. (Sorry, that might have been a bad choice of a word.)

    Less body fat and more lean mass is great! Go with it! You will get your upper body strength back in time because you are committed! It’s good news!

  2. I love your attitude and drive!! You are the real deal 🙂 Your enthusiasm to stay optimistic is contagious!!! Thanks!!!

  3. Yeah… I say focus on the lower body fat percentage. That’s always a plus! Plus you have increased lean mass and that’s a BIG deal…great job!

  4. I wish I had your problem. If I could only be so lucky.smile.

  5. Glad you got the okay to begin rebuilding…no pun intended! Sometimes we think too much and try to figure out the unfigurable. Way too go to decide to see the glass half full. Perception and attitude are everything. Thanks for your nice comments on my blog! I currently have no internet at home and so between being away and now not being able to do any computer stuff at home, I’m way behind on blog reading and commenting. Ah well, this too shall pass.

  6. That is great that you’ve been cleared to start lifting weights again!

  7. Remember too even if you hadn’t hurt yourself and had lost weight and so on, you still lose muscle when you lose weight. Of my 19 lbs lost I calculated with the calipers that 11 pounds was fat, the rest is made up of muscle, water, blood, plasma, cells, etc. The less you weight the less of these things your body needs- so you won’t ever only see a decrease in fat.

  8. Those numbers show how far you’ve come, Ms. Glass Half Full! Congrats on bringing the little weights back into your life. In due time, you’ll be kicking all of our butts!

  9. That darn question, “Should I ___” gets us in so much trouble and brings worry like a dark cloud over our heads. Great that you gave up on the answer and just decided to stick with who you are at the moment and do what you can do to move in the direction you want to go. Baby steps. Itty bitty weights! Bravo!!!!

    Because of you and Big Girl Bombshell, I’m going to write a post on this subject later today…

  10. “Should I be happy because I have a normal body fat percentage and a lower one than just a year ago? ”

    Don’t make me come up there. 🙂 The answer, of course, is YES! You can rebuild the muscle, and you’ll still have less fat.

    Also, filling up the other half of the glass, you’ve healed enough to tippy toe with weights! That’s wonderful!

  11. About a decade ago I worked on a project where we had to learn all about how height measurements were done & I learned that the same measurer on the same subject at the same session will often be signficiantly off. In clinical trials they have to record 3 heights (and other physical measures) and the “offical” number is the average of the 3 because there is so much human error.

    That said, I’d say celebrate your success!

    • Karen

      So maybe I am really taller than I think I am? Actually, I had thought about that. Since the last test was done by a different person. Both times the person measuring did each measurement twice. I wonder why they don’t go for the third time.

  12. Someone I met had a great quote yesterday: “I tend to think I’m a glass half full person, but now I’m just glad I have a glass.”

    I think this is a great attitude, and one you seem to have. Even if things aren’t perfect, they could be a lot worse!

  13. I think you are doing great! Be proud. So glad you can get back to weights. Have a great day!

  14. Happy happy happy! Hey, if you had not listened to the bod & had you did the weights too soon, you may never have been able to get back to them. So happy you are taking baby steps back & revel in your success!

    PS: What happened since I am newer here….

  15. That glass is half full! You go girl, you will be “buff” in no time!

  16. I really struggle to be a glass half full kind of girl. It’s so frustrating when our bodies don’t cooperate with what we would like to do. I walked with the hubby the other day in my neighborhood….the thin eat whatever he pleases hubby (grumble grumble) and I was so frustrated with my cardiovascular state. Excess weight makes my legs not move as quick as I’m trying to force them to go, while Mr. Thin is gliding like a flippin’ gazelle next to me. Oh…am I sounding glass half empty 😉

  17. Glad to hear that you are able to take small steps to get back to lifting and yoga. That must be frustrating to feel like you have stepped backward, but it’s all going to be going in the right direction from here on out.

  18. I wish I had that problem too! LOL But, I will one day!! (normal body fat percentage)

    I would focus on that. Sounds heart healthy. If you did lose a bit of muscle, you can remedy that ok.

    I say just keep on doing what you believe is the right thing and everything else will fall into place.

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