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physical assessment day

Friday, September 07, 2007

This week: -1.8 lbs (again!)
(Early weigh-in b/c out of town for weekend)

I've chosen to be part of a health experiment on campus, and on Wednesday I had the first physical assessment. ...And now I'm pretty much over myself (and this is a good thing, really).

Assessment criteria: height, weight, waist circumference, and my favorite: a 3 min test to get you to to the top of your heart rate to measure your maximum oxygen intake.

It's really, REALLY hard to be modest and embarrassed of your gut when you're holding up your tee shirt, waistband rolled down and two nutrition majors are marking your waistline with ink so they can measure you as accurately as possible. Yes, it was awkward for a couple seconds, but after that I got over it: being embarrassed of my body wasn't going to change how it looked in the three minutes I was being measured. (As an aside, I've been measuring my waist at the wrong point! I don't have a defined waist so it's kind of been anything goes I guess, ha.)

Because I anticipated all the other results, the step test was most interesting. I had to step up and down on a wooden box as high as my knees to the beat of a metronome at 88 bpm for three minutes. Trust me, it's more difficult than it sounds, especially when you're only 5'3". Again, any and all embarrassment at being observed faded away when I was focused so hard on just finishing. I was really huffing and puffing by the end, but that was the point, wasn't it? Anyways, my results for maximum oxygen intake were VERY GOOD, especially when taking my weight into account. In fact, it lowered my BMI by an entire point. I guess this goes to show that physical health doesn't have an exact correlation with weight, and those who look fit by virtue of being skinny and were really couch potatoes would have much worse results than I did.

To be honest, the only thing that was a little weird was having a months-long history of healthy lifestyle changes that the women measuring me did not know. Them seeing me as entirely unhealthy bothered me and made me uncomfortable, because they didn't see my baseline where I huffed and puffed after a flight of stairs in May!

Being part of this study is great on a few different levels:
- I get measurements of my health that I wouldn't know how/be able to take.
- It forces me to be further accountable for my weight and health, because there's a second assessment in December and a third in December 2008.
- I either get placed in the control group and continue on as I am, or the experimental and have to partake in short nutrition lessons online. A win-win situation if there ever was one!
- Did I mention that I get paid on top of all of that?? For going to all three assessments participants receive $75. For about 90 minutes of my time! Amazing, that is.

The only thing that boggled my mind was that after I finished the step test, the nutrition majors gave me a coupon to a free ice cream cone at the campus dairy store. Uh, what? They don't have sorbet or *any* healthy choices there! In the unhealthy days of yore I'd go and get vanilla ice cream with cake batter chunks and a frosting swirl! It's honestly on par with Coldstone, except worse because you're not in charge of what you put in your creation.

Between going to Ann Arbor this weekend and my favorite time of the month (and associated bizarro-land cravings) are coming up, so it's going to take extra care on the part of this vegetarian to not go overboard with the noodles and cheeses.

Total weight loss: 24 lbs
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