Losing It! Finding my body fat percentage leads to surprises

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 16 2012 4:07 p.m. MDT

I know I'm overweight. Nothing new. Unfortunately, I've been on the chunkier side for most of my life, dating back to my elementary days when I wore J.C. Penney husky-sized jeans and called myself the "Incredible Bulk" when I'd wear my green shirt covered with cartoon drawings of Bruce Banner's angry alter ego.

Recently, I decided to find out exactly how unpleasantly plump I've become.

I've been losing weight (usually) and getting into shape (or trying) since Memorial Day, so I was curious to see how much fat my body lugs around. I figured knowing my true body fat percentage would help me set a realistic long-term goal — not to mention clue me into when I should start applying for swimsuit modeling jobs.

To get the most accurate result, I went to the University of Utah for something called a BodPod body composition test.

They used to dunk you in a pool to find out your body fat percentage, but now they have a funky, high-tech contraption that looks like the egg Robin Williams traveled through space in to get to Earth on that old sitcom "Mork & Mindy." The BodPod uses air displacement plethysmography (thanks, Google) to somehow show what you're made of.

Before entering the airtight chamber for a quick test, I had to get my weight and height measured.

The weight part was no surprise. After all, I do hop off and on a scale about 10 times a day. It's good exercise.

But the height part?

That was another story.

While I took off my shoes, the friendly technician mused about how often people grumble and disagree with the tale his tape tells. Seems a lot of people aren't quite as tall as their driver's licenses purport them to be.

I assured him I wouldn't give him grief. Heck, I know I'm short, so it's no big deal.

Seconds later, I was backed up against the wall, felt the measuring device on my head and gasped as he told me my height.

I must have lost weight off of the bottom of my feet!

He revealed that I was a full inch shorter than I expected him to say — and 1.5 inches shorter than the height I claim to be (a fool-your-opponent trick I learned while covering the NBA).

Turns out, I am a 5-foot-6.5-inch dude, not the gigantic 5-8 guy that police officers and the DMV think I am or the 5-7.5 man I've always thought I was. (I later measured myself in the morning and rediscovered a half-inch of height, phew!)

Making matters worse, the BodPod calculated my body-fat percentage to be 9 percent higher than the handheld Omron device I use at home too-kindly tells me I am.

I would've put up an argument about being informed I'm shorter and fatter than assumed, but the U. is a Pac-12 research institution, and I'm just a silly sports writer. Who am I to argue?

For the record, my body-fat percentage is a whopping 43.5 percent, making me wonder what ghastly number I would've seen had I been measured in May when I was about 40 pounds heavier or years ago when I tipped the scales at 371 pounds.

My goal is to get that body-fat percentage under 20 percent and hopefully down in the 13 percent range. The further I am away from those J.C. Penney husky sizes, the better for my health and happiness.

Now that the Utah Jazz are back at it and my bosses are forcing me to work for my paycheck again (imagine that!), I'm finding it to be quite the challenge to stay as focused on eating well and exercising faithfully.

Like Tyrone Corbin, I have my work cut out for me this season.

Another thing I have to keep in mind?

Stay away from the BodPod place. I'm shorter and fatter there.

EMAIL: jody@desnews.com TWITTER: DJJazzyJody

Get The Deseret News Everywhere

Subscribe

Mobile

RSS