Knowledge is Power: My DEXA Scan
Getting a DEXA scan used to be part of the Nutrition Assessment curricula at UMSPH; however, many students weren't fond of their results and the testing was discontinued. In my Physical Activity and Nutrition class we were given the opportunity to voluntarily get a DEXA scan done, which I think is great! I don't think anyone should be forced to see their body fat percentage or check their bone density if they don't want to (and I'm sure even before opting out was an option, although peer pressure can be a powerful force).
I think Laura, the technician, was a little surprised at how happy I was to be wrapped in a warm (literally warmed up!) flannel sheet under this weird whirring machine. I couldn't wait to know my bone density, my body fat percentage, and anything else this test could tell me! Laura and I had some great chats after my head was scanned and I could talk -- we talked a bit about her career path, where I'm planning to go after grad school, and her kids. Ordinarily I avoid conversations with people (I am awkward) but, if I'm in a good mood, you can't get me to stop talking!
So what happened?! Well, I've put a picture below of the scan...
That's me! I'm currently at a slightly higher body fat % than average. But my bones are healthy, especially my spine. Laura encouraged me to keep up my yoga for maintaining my healthy bones (and other weight-bearing exercises). While I would prefer to have more lean mass, I accept where I'm at right now. Radical acceptance is the idea that you can have acceptance and change at the same time. So I love my body, it has curves and it's soft, but I also want to start running to build up my cardiovascular health. If my body shifts along the way, awesome! If not, cool. Everyday is a struggle with body acceptance for me, and today is a good day. That also means everyday is a new battle that I have the chance to win by loving who I am and keeping healthy. Laura told me about two girls who had come in before and had osteomalacia in their mid-20s! Had they not sought out the scan, it probably would've gone undiagnosed for another decade.
Overall, I am so glad I had this experience, because now I know right where I stand, and where I might be going. This is not helpful for everyone, but I advocate for taking charge of your health and loving yourself the whole way.