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Measuring Your Success

Measuring Your Success

The best way to know if you are accomplishing your goals is to start with a baseline and measure. As part of both our wellness program and the patients in my personalized health program with MDVIP, we measure weight, body composition and metabolic rate. Blood work is another way to measure your success if you are using your diet to treat diseases like blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes. Let’s review some common ways you can assess your improvement.
First is the scale, which is a great tool over to use over time but can be terribly inaccurate when used on a day to day basis. In the past, I have personally had weight swings as much as 5-6 pounds in 2-3 days, based on what I ate, when I measured and the time of day. However, weekly measurements over months can be helpful to gauge progress.
Although I have people joke with me that their clothes fit looser, this is not a bad way to gauge success either. In fact, studies show that waist circumference is better at predicting weight induced health problems than body mass index (BMI).
In our office we can measure body composition with a DEXA scanner, which measures fat and muscle mass and where it’s distributed. Using this tool, we can tell if you are losing fat in the right place and adding or maintaining your muscle along with weight loss. These changes occur slowly over time, so we do not check more frequently than every 3 months, but usually every 6 months.
We can also retest your metabolic rate. Weight loss is often associated with a change in metabolism, and we will recheck this the same time we do your body composition to we are making positive changes to your metabolism.
Lastly, if we are using your nutrition to treat a disease, we will recheck your blood work at different intervals. Studies have shown a reduction in cholesterol, improvement in good to bad cholesterol ratios, and lowering of blood sugars and hemoglobin A1c with a reduction in weight. In the past, studies have also shown regression of plaques within the walls of arteries, reversal of fatty liver disease and reduction of pain from arthritis with improvements in diet.

By Dr. Ross Osborn