Using DEXA for assessing body composition in bariatric clients has the added benefit of shifting the focus away from solely using scale weight as the primary metric of health and post-surgical progress. Here's how:
Comprehensive Understanding of Composition: Scale weight simply provides a total body weight without any distinction between muscle, fat, bone, and other tissues. DEXA divides this weight into distinct components, helping patients and clinicians understand the quality of weight lost or gained.
Highlighting Fat Loss vs. Muscle Loss: Rapid weight loss post-bariatric surgery can sometimes come at the expense of muscle mass. By utilizing DEXA, the emphasis is placed on losing fat rather than just losing weight. This helps in tailoring nutrition and exercise regimens to prioritize muscle preservation.
Reducing Scale Fixation: For many individuals, the scale can become an obsession. By introducing DEXA scans into the assessment mix, patients can start focusing on healthier body composition metrics, such as increasing bone density or maintaining lean mass, rather than just the number on the scale.
Promoting Health Over Aesthetics: Focusing on body composition can lead to a more holistic view of health. While scale weight can sometimes be associated with societal beauty standards, understanding and improving body composition is primarily about health, functionality, and overall well-being.
Setting More Informed Goals: With the detailed information from a DEXA scan, patients can set more specific and actionable goals. For instance, if a patient learns that their bone density is lower than ideal, they might prioritize resistance training and calcium intake.
Encouraging Patient Morale: It's not uncommon for patients to feel disheartened if the scale doesn't move as quickly as they'd like. By using DEXA, patients can see improvements in body composition even when scale weight remains unchanged. This can be a vital boost to morale and motivation.
In summary, while scale weight has its place in assessing health and progress, relying solely on it can provide a narrow and sometimes misleading picture. DEXA, by offering a detailed view of body composition, encourages a more comprehensive, health-focused perspective, thus allowing bariatric clients to focus on overall wellness rather than just a number on the scale.
We recommend a scan one week into the pre-op diet, and then 3, 6, and 12 months post surgery. If you do not want to know your starting point this is also ok! We can leave it on file and you can look at it when you are ready.