As weight cuts are often met with questions of how healthy is that? I thought it would be good to schedule myself in for one of the free health assessments offered at my work by Nuffield Health in the final week of my weight cut. As I thought if my diet is going to give me bad results, when I’m on the most extreme end is when it’s most likely to happen. Just to remind you, while I believe and I think these results show my weight cut was VERY healthy, it did involve me loosing just over 6kg (a stone) in just over 3 weeks.
Here are the results:
BMI – given this measure records a lot of elite rugby players, including Jonny Wilkinson in his prime and Brad Pitt at the time of filming Fight club to be overweight to morbidly obese, it’s not one I ever follow. However it was part of the report so I have included it and mine came in as 21.41 putting me within the ‘normal’ category for my height (166cm) and weight (59kg).
Body fat – mine was recorded to be 16.3% and within the recommended range for females of my age which is less than or equal to 33%. However I found this table which for my age range put my body fat as being low (which I would expect considering I was cutting):
Waist circumference – they said the amount of weight you carry around the middle part of your body may indicate an increased risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes. Mine was recorded to be 75cm, making it within the normal category for a female of my age. According to the system the optimal waist size was 80cm so I wasn’t far below that and thinking how low my body fat % was, I don’t think it would take much for me to go over it. We all know different people store fat in different places so I’m not too sure what I think about this measure. As I think it would be a lot tougher on ‘apple” body shapes compared to ‘pear’ shapes. Making me wonder the reliability of it.
Hydration level – this was 60%, which was within the recommended level for females of my age. Considering I was drinking 4 litres of water every day, along with extra cups of tea and a lot of fruit, which has a high water content. It is quite worrying considering some people only have a few cups of water or maybe even none!! I’ve found this hydration calculator online which you might find the results of very interesting! For me it said I need 3.3litres of water a day to be hydrated: http://www.h4hinitiative.com/tools/hydration-calculator. It asks how many glasses of water you have per day and I think it means an 8 ounce glasses of which one is equal to just under ¼ of a litre.
Aerobic fitness – this was measured using a Polar VO2Max that measures the volume of oxygen I can consume when exercising at my maximum capacity expressed in ml/kg/min. Below is a standardised table for a woman of my age and my result came out to be 57 ml/kg/min putting me in the excellent category (would bloody hope so with all my training!)
Blood pressure – this was 104/62mmHg placing me into the recommended ranges. Blood pressure UK recommend an ideal blood pressure is below 120/80mmHg.
Glucose – I was interested in this one as lots of people are anti fruit as they think it has too much sugar. Well I live off fruit and the result of my finger prick blood glucose was 3.8mmol/L putting me within the recommended range for fasted blood glucose and indicates normal regulation of my blood sugars and slightly below the normal blood glucose level of 4mmol/L. So think nicely proves my point that fruit does not equal bad sugar!
Cholesterol – there are two types of cholesterol: good cholesterol composed of high density lipoproteins (HDL) and bad cholesterol composed of low density lipoproteins (LDL) and triglycerides. This test only took a measure of my total cholesterol which was recorded to be 4.21 mmol/L and again within the recommended range indicating I’m at a reduced risk of cardiovascular based diseases. There is a great video here of Dr Ellsworth Wareham, a 100 year old vegan heart surgeon who retired aged 95, who explains that with a vegan diet and exercise, cardiovascular diseases shouldn’t exist: http://www.collective-evolution.com/2015/05/04/100-year-old-vegan-heart-surgeon-retired-at-95-heres-why-hes-been-a-vegan-for-50-years/. A big cause of cardiovascular diseases is a lack of exercise and too much saturated fat. Animal products, in particular meat contain a lot of saturated fat so might not be as healthy as you think they are. “Studies are confirming the health benefits of meat-free eating. Nowadays, plant-based eating is recognised as not only nutritionally sufficient but also as a way to reduce the risk for many chronic illnesses.” – Harvard Medical School (source).
Nutritional food analysis – this is the only bit of my report where I didn’t score excellently:
Now this is something I have a real issue with. The health assessor has said all my results are amazing and better than anyone else she has seen, but still the systems say I should be eating fish and meat! She didn’t tell me in my face to face assessment to change my diet as I think it was pretty clear how much I knew about nutrition and knew I was definitely getting enough macro and micro nutrients on my gluten free vegan diet. And it is this diet that has given me the excellent results! So I completely disagree and am very disappointed and actually upset and angry the systems we have in place to assess health are still telling us we need animal products, especially given the research showing this is not true. By suggesting to put more meat into my diet the systems are actually telling me to put my cholesterol levels at risk! This is why we have to question everything we have been taught and do our own research as the ‘standard/government’ recommendations are not always the best/even correct.
Sleep – this is vital for your body to recover and repair so you need to get enough good sleep. BUPA recommend 7-8hours of sleep, which is roughly what I usually get. My answers to the questionnaire indicated a ‘green’ result and I know from the analysis of my sleep by my Microsoft band that I get a good amount of restful sleep each night.
Smoking – I have never smoked in my life so this was all green.
Alcohol – I very rarely drink so again all green
Exercise – I was worried this might be red saying I do too much but it came out as very good. The American College of Sports Medicine guidelines recommend 30 minutes of moderate-intensity daily physical activity five days a week. Guidelines call for a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate physical activity a week, an amount most reasonable on five days a week at a duration of 30 minutes. So my two/three sessions a day with one rest day per week are well over that, and while maybe not considered ‘normal’ by the majority are very ‘normal’ for an athlete and a lot less than athletes that are able to train full time.
So overall I think this test showed my weight cut was very healthy, however I didn’t exactly do it in a ‘normal’ way (as not sure many people call high raw vegan’s normal). So maybe a general reconsideration of what ‘normal’ is, is needed for us to all be healthy! Hope you found that interesting and maybe a few of the links useful.