I Got Dunked!

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imageToday, I got dunked! As bad as it sounds, it was in the continuance of good health.

Once a month, the owner of Elect Wellness, Tom,  and their nutritionist, Kelsey, obtain detailed measurements of my body to evaluate my progress. An important measurement is BMI which measures the body’s muscle/fat ratio. This is a simple test…for anyone with a grip. LOL!

BMI is typically read by holding a radio-looking device with handles, on either side, out in front of you for a short period of time. The palms of your hand must touch the sensors on the handles as your fingers grip the bars. We’ve tried every imaginable way possible for me to hold the darn machine and still get a reading, but to no avail. It was now time for plan B!

Plan B was Underwater Weighing, or as I call it, The Dunk Tank. In reality, it’s not a tank, but a BMI scale attached to the side of an Olympic size pool. At water’s level floats a chair made of PVC pipes. This chair is hooked to the BMI scale and provides a place for the person being measured to sit underwater. The person sitting in the chair must look at the ceiling as they are being lowered into the water. Once the water outlines a person’s face, the chair is stopped, leaving only their eyes, nose, and mouth above water. When ready, a large breath is taken, and the person submerges their head underwater. While below the surface, every last breath of air must be blown out. And, once there is no  more air to exhale, the person turns their head sideways to release oxygen trapped in their mouth. As the body expels the air, it should sink since muscle and fat are the only things left to weigh. Muscle sinks since it is heavier and fat floats because it is lighter. A greater number on the scale suggests more muscle on the body. This dunk test is repeated at least 4 times until they can get a accurate BMI reading. Once it’s ensured  that the same amount of air is being expelled out of the lungs consistently, the test is considered valid.

It sounds easy enough…right? I am a water  lover and I swim 2-3times a week , especially during the summer. As a kid, I would spend hours in the pool, and half of that time would be below the depths of the surface. My sister and I would have underwater handstand competitions, or see who could hold their breath the longest under the liquid waves. With eyes wide open, I would retrieve glistening pennies from the depths of the pool, or just see how long I could levitate on the cement bottom. As a kid, such mermaid adventures were fun! I loved spending time underwater!

This is not how I feel now. Actually, it’s not that I mind going underwater. It’s the removal of oxygen from my lungs under diress of cold temperatures that bothers me. And, I am bothered that I am bothered. This test should be no big deal.  Yet, I dread it. I seem to be more uncomfortable now, than I was the 1st time I did it 8 months ago. Probably because I know what to expect. Every part of the test is uncomfortable either physically or mentally. Just getting into this pool is a challenge since it has no steps for me to securely sit on. Instead, Tom and Kelsey slide into the pool as they carefully and precariously guide me down into the 84 degree water. My body is well aware of this “frigid” temperature since it only performs well in water temps between 87 and 90 degrees. Confidently, yet cautiously, I sat in the chair made of piping and said a prayer as I awaited my dunking. Staring at the ceiling, I felt the water surround my face as I was lowered. After one large breath, I submerged my head under water, and started  blowing air out with all my might. Countless seconds ticked by… Airless, I popped my head above the surface gasping for breath. I felt I had done great. My testers weren’t quite as impressed. Everyone around me was giving advice for better results. All I could really think about was the seemingly colder water temperature. The 2nd dunk had almost identical results. My temperature was dropping, but I went under 2 more times. My body was starting to shiver and my lungs were tightening up.  I could feel my lung capacity being compromised, making it more difficult to expel  air. Teeth chattering, the test was finally over! I had done my best. Anxious to warm up, Tom nd Kelsey got me safely out of the pool and back in my wheelchair. I was optimistic that the results of the test had improved from the previous time. After all that, I was praying that the conclusions were at least minutely close to my expectations.

As the results were being reviewed and discussed with Tom and the testing team, I was reminded that I had gained 8 pounds since my last weigh in 8 months ago. I was proud of this! I could see and feel the strength gain. With my strict diet and consistent exercise routine, I was certain that  I had increased muscle with very little fat gain. Surprisingly, this test had a different opinion. I did have fat gain…urgh! But, then the testers went on to say that my body does not fit all the variables of an average woman my size. This fact could possibly alter the test’s outcomes. So, after all that effort, there were no definite results regarding the big dunk! How frustrating!

These  inconclusive results still caused Tom and Kelsy to make a few nutritional tweeks. A small diet change, consisting of simple carbs, but few complex carbs, means saying farewell to my beloved, morning Coco Rice Puffs and daily sweet potato. So sad! Even worse, it was unanimously agreed that I must consistently practice blowing out air underwater so I’ll be more prepared next time. “Who said anything about next time?” I thought .