This post appears as part of our Healthier 2021 series, in which we follow three WebMD team members as they strive to improve their health this year. You can follow their journeys here.
By Bill Kimm
Before I started this journey, I met with Dr. Bruni, WebMD’s Lead Medical Director, for tips on the most effective route to take. She recommended I buy a biometric scale so I could learn more about my body than just weight. That can be scary, especially for someone approaching 50 who knows he’s not in the best health. But I knew I needed the information, so I bought the scale in January and, except for my time in COVID quarantine, have been using it every day.
The scale has revealed some hard truths, but it’s also helped me. The information I get from it — and from my food logs — has opened my eyes to what’s working and where I need to work harder.
On the weight front, I’m pretty happy — I am down 14 pounds in 6 weeks! After losing 8 pounds the first week, I was hoping to be down a little more. But the reality is that I am losing 2.5 pounds a week, which is a safe, healthy level of weight loss. That’s great! My body fat is down from 33% to 32% (Dr. Bruni says I should be below 25%, so I have some work to do) and my BMI has dropped from 34 to 33 (the goal here is 24, so on par with my body weight numbers).
And then there is muscle mass. Seeing this bit of information from my biometric scale was a real eye-opener. Dr. Bruni said men my age typically have 75%-87% muscle mass. Mine is at 30.9%! Now let’s be real, strength training has never been my thing (I loathe lifting weights and avoid it as much as possible), but I had no idea my number was missing the mark by that much (I knew I was no Chris Hemsworth, but geez!). There is some good news. It’s gone up from 30.1% to 30.9%, so that’s progress. And I am finally working out more. Last week I logged six workouts and knocked out my first two runs post-COVID-19. The runs felt amazing — it was so good to be back on the pavement running again!
I’m going to keep up the running for my cardio, and that’s not a problem — running is my jam. I also need to make myself strength train at least 2-3 times a week — definitely not my jam. Weights and I do not have a good relationship. But seeing how little muscle I have, I am motivated to adjust and improve that.
On the food side, looking back at my food logs I’m fairly content with how I’m doing. I’ve been over my calorie goal just 11 times in the 42 days, but there are three things that leap off the page on those 11 days: Eating out, portion size, and dessert! I covered a lot of this in last week’s blog, but noticing how much my family dines out has me concerned. Having a freshman daughter who is a competitive cheerleader means we are constantly on the go, and that leads to a lot of drive-thru visits. If we can bypass the temptation of a quick meal and make the effort to cook at home, it would benefit all of us greatly!
All in all, things are going great. I’m happy with my progress, and I have a couple of new things to focus on. My Healthier 2021 blogging partner Laura just wrote about her journey into strength training and lifting weights, so I’m leaning heavily on her support and advice: “You are here for you! Get busy!”
Kettlebells, I will see you in the morning!
Bill is the Senior Manager of Funded Content Strategy for WebMD. He’s been trying to find balance with his weight, exercise, and overall wellness for 15-plus years. As Bill approaches 50, he understands how important it is to keep good healthy habits and take better care of himself. He has the support of his wife and two children (ages 22 and 15) and hopes this blog humanizes the difficulties of weight loss in middle age and offers hope to others who are experiencing the same. For more on his journey, follow him on Instagram @billkimm and on TikTok @billkimm3.