Fit not Fat on the New Year Cruise

salad bar

Fit not Fat on the New Year Cruise

It was only when I reached back to my academic roots in medical biochemistry and decided that a ketogenic nutritional program and lifestyle was the physiological way to reach optimal body weight and composition that I finally got to my target weight with BMI ( Body Mass Index) at the low end of the normal range. 

One of several tools that I use to keep me on track is the wireless Fitbit Aria Scale. This scale uses BIA (Bioelectrical impedance analysis) to measure % body fat. Each morning I step on the scale  and my weight, %fat and calculated BMI is sent to my FitBit app. I wondered how accurate the body fat measurement was.

At the gym on the ship I saw a notice of a seminar: Increase Your Metabolism - topics to include excess weight, high blood pressure and cholesterol, diabetes. From previous experience I know the objective of these seminars is to sell the high priced “detox” products promoted by the spa, so I didn’t give it another thought. But later back in my cabin the phone rang with an invitation for me to come to the seminar. I had been intrigued by the poster advertising the InBody Analysis - See What You're Made Of”. So of course I decided to go.

The trainer that was doing the presentation was engaging and quite entertaining and had obviously given this talk many times. Although on occasion I had to sit on my hands to stop myself from leaping up and shouting “objection” in response to some of the things he was saying, I made it through the talk without creating a ruckus. It turned out that one of the other goals of the seminar was to get people to do the InBody assessment. I wanted to find out how it worked so I signed up for an assessment the next day.

Like my Aria scale, the InBody uses bioelectrical impedance analysis to evaluate body composition in terms of intra cellular and extra cellular water content, body fat and lean body mass (basically muscles).

I was impressed that I had avoided the usual cruise ship fat gain when my weight registered identically to my weight on the day I left for the cruise. Which meant I had probably dropped a pound or so. Both the BMI and %body fat were also almost  identical which reassured me that  my Aria was doing alright. Intracellular water was fine but apparently I had more extracellular water than I should. This I was told meant I needed to detox. Hmmmmm. 

The test also reports on lean muscle in arms, legs and trunk to show how nutrition and exercise have affected right versus left side. I was fairly symmetrical. It calculated basal metabolism rate which gives the calories needed to sustain a body at rest. My visceral (organ) fat was low. That’s good.

So how this analysis was interpreted for me was that I need to gain 1.5 lbs of muscle and lose another 11.5 lbs of fat. In addition I need to do at least 3 months of “detox” for my liver, kidneys and colon using the seaweed based products . Used in that context, cleanse and detox are words that drive me crazy. It is the function of my liver, kidney and colon to detox the rest of me, they don’t need detoxing themselves. As far as I know the only time a colon needs cleansing is for a colonoscopy, not the pleasantest of experiences so you don't want to have to repeat it.

Real cellular detoxification actually does occur as part of our normal physiology through a process called autophagy that  removes break down products of cellular metabolism. The 2016 Nobel Prize in Physiology/Medicine honoured the discoverer of autophagic mechanisms. I know of only one product, developed through gene expression testing, that facilitates our innate ability for cellular  detoxification.

Needless to say I did not leave with a product to cleanse my liver, kidneys and colon. I was happy that I did not pack on the pounds though I may revise my target weight downwards by 5 lbs. One reason that I kept the pounds off despite the good food on board was that my lunch every day was from the awesome fresh salad bar. satisfying, low cal, low carb, with tuna, anchovies, blue cheese and a tasty dressing.  Hence the picture.