As many of my fellow boxmates will be getting a body scan next week, I want to share my opinion and words of encouragement.
Most people I know, including myself, when they get their first body scan walk are surprised by the results. So I write this blog to not be a pessimist but to hopefully spare you from the mild trauma that many of us have experienced.
Getting a scan is much like getting an estimate on that pesky scratch on the driver’s side door of your car. You know it will cost money to fix and so you procrastinate. You finally bring it to a body shop for an estimate expecting it to be about $400 to fix. The quote you get is $800. That sticker shock is the same feeling you likely will get with the results of your scan. You think you know how much you weigh and roughly what your body fat to lean tissue ratio is. There’s a good chance your actual numbers will be off from what you are expecting. Do not freak out about this. It’s normal. More importantly, it is part of a process. Read on.
In my unsolicited opinion, there is no point in finding out what your numbers are just for the fun of it. Because quite honestly, it generally is not fun. People tend to be surprised by what they see the first time they do a scan (again this is based on my own experience and that of many, many people I have talked to who have also done it). To put this in perspective, what adjectives come to mind when you think about getting on a regular old fashioned scale? I do not think I am alone when the first word that comes to my mind is “traumatic”. So unless you are really thick skinned, much like what the scale tells you, be prepared for some possibly harsh numbers.
Having said that, it is key to remember that it is not about where you start; it is where you go. Do not focus on the total pounds you weigh or how much fat you have in your leg or your arm. Focus on using this data to spark some serious motivation to make a change. Come up with a plan and stay dedicated to working towards changing those numbers.
More good news! Unlike weighing yourself on a scale, you get a very detailed report from the scan that supports your numbers (because remember, you will find out not only your total body weight but the weight of your bones as well as your fat and lean tissue). You start to become more analytical about it and understand exactly what is behind those numbers. This is a good thing even if it pisses you off when you first see it. You can use this data to see specific areas of your body that you want to change.
When you schedule your first appointment, you should think about setting up your next one. Like I said, it is about where you go. To see a before and after will be far more rewarding that than the initial depression that may set in when seeing your first scan results.
I have gotten scanned 3 times in the last few years. Between the first two, I made changes to my diet and lost about 4% body fat and about 8 pounds of fat (those are big numbers when you are 5 foot tall). Between my 2nd and 3rd scans, I was motivated to go because I had noticed via the scale that my weight was increasing. I was panicked thinking I was gaining fat. In actuality I was gaining muscle. (This is good to know that as you lose fat and gain muscle, it is possible that your total weight will increase). I had introduced about 3 extra ab workouts per week during the 2nd and 3rd scans and lost 2 lbs of fat alone in my stomach area. Again, that’s a big number!
Ok so in case you haven’t figured this out for yourself, the moral of the story is (drum roll please…): Do not let your first scan deter you. Accept the numbers for what they are, and use them to fuel you to take your diet and training to the next level.