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Sunday progress report; Really put to the test at last night’s party.

Sunday, April 4, 2010 by  
Filed under Daily Blog

April
4
2010

Week #13 of my 2010 cut is in the books! As I always do on Sunday, I’ve taken a complete set of measurements, a body fat reading and my scale weight in order to evaluate my progress.

My scale weight this morning is 186.2 pounds. That’s a 2.4 pound drop over the past week, and a little on the high side – especially this late into my cut. I’ve now lost a total of 20.2 pounds since the start of my cut.

My body fat reading this morning is 9.6% (as measured by the Fat Track PRO Digital Body Fat Calipers). That’s a .5% drop from last week’s reading of 10.1%, and a 5.9% drop from my 2010 cut starting body fat percentage of 15.5%.

OK, I need to talk about this week’s body fat reading in a little more detail. First of all, caliper readings have a fairly wide margin of error – somewhere in the neighborhood of up to 4%. Lisa and I are very experienced with taking my skin fold measurements, so I would say our margin of error is less than 2%. That’s still non-trivial. For example, this morning we took 3 readings: 10.4%, 9% and 9.6%. I went with 9.6% for my “official” reading for this week. So, what’s my true body fat percentage? Only a very accurate body fat testing method like DEXA or hydrostatic weighing could answer that question. Even DEXA, which is widely considered to be the most accurate body fat testing method, has a ~2% margin of error. It might be interesting to go have one of those tests done just to see how our caliper readings compare. I’ll give that idea some thought, but for the time being I suspect that our caliper readings are actually a little on the low side. Why do I think that? Well, when my body fat levels are near or in the single-digit range my abdominal definition is pretty good barometer of where I’m at. Although my abs are showing some cuts right now, based on past experience I don’t believe that I’m below 10% body fat. I’ll just continue as I have, trying to be as accurate as possible. I just think it’s important that everyone understands the inherent inaccuracies of “at home” body fat testing methods.

So, according to the body fat test, over the past week I’ve lost 1.17 pounds of fat and 1.23 pounds of lean mass. You may recall that last week I actually had a lean mass increase of .73 pounds. Keep in mind that while lean mass includes muscle, it also includes everything in your body that is not fat. It could be that last week I was holding some water (which is considered lean mass) and that water weight is gone this week. The important thing is that my strength is up, so I do not believe that the lean mass loss is muscle loss. Of course the caliper margin of error I just discussed could be playing a roll here as well.

My total losses since the start of my cut now stand at 14.11 pounds of fat, and 6.09 pounds of lean mass.

My tape measurements (as measured by the MyoTape) show that over the past week I’ve lost a quarter-inch from my chest, a quarter-inch from my arms and a quarter-inch from my thighs. I also lost almost a quarter-inch from my hips and my waist, but I never round down so I could not count those. My 2010 cut total measurement changes are as follows: 3.5 inches off my waist, 2.75 inches from my hips, 2.25 inches from my thighs, .75 inches from my chest and .25 inches from my arms.

The quarter-inch losses for my chest and arms are not a concern. While I don’t carry a great deal of fat in those areas, I certainly carry some. I’ve noticed increased cuts in my arms and my chest, so I am confident that is just fat loss. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve also noticed that my face is leaning out considerably. I show water and fat gain in my face first and lose it almost last, so this is very encouraging.

Well, I survived last night’s party, but barely. Everyone was enjoying cheese, crackers and wine. I was certainly tempted, but not seriously. After a couple of hours my father-in-law said, “Hey, let’s all go get Mexican food, my treat!” Obviously everyone was like, “YEAH! LET’S GO!” I remember hanging my head down and thinking, “Damn it, I think I’m going to go.” But then I thought about how I’ve gone more than three months without breaking my diet. I thought about how close I was to my goal. I thought about the incredible momentum I’d built. I also thought about the example I try to set for the people who visit this site. I’ve always maintained that willpower is a developed skill, and not something you either have or don’t have. If you think saying “No, I can’t go” last night was easy for me then you’re crazy. Look, I know that if I’d gone it wouldn’t have been the end of the world. It was the principle. I told you all I was going to do this cut with no cheats, and I always try to live up to my word. There were a few half-hearted attempts from the others to get me to go, but I think they knew I was not going to change my mind. So they went ahead, and I stayed behind and cleaned up their dishes and wine glasses. It was hard to stay behind, but I know I made the right choice. Soon my cut will be over and then I can return to a more relaxed and balanced lifestyle.

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