Whitney Holmes VFS Sponsored Athlete shares us her experience with DEXA Scans.

So here we go I haven’t wanted to post a blog about this but I thought you would all be greatly interested in it.

Being in this industry with the competitions that I continuously enter there’s a large amount of effort spent on reaching that “optimum” stage body fat percentage. I have always mentally struggled with this during my comp phases and probably will every single competition that I enter into. Every time I have done a BIA scan on my body it has always showed a higher reading which didn’t “match” what my body looked like and it always threw me into a stage of mental despair and negative body image.

Coming into comps this year my coach thought I should get a DEXA scan to understand where my body fat percentage lay. After doing my cardio, rushing off to the scan I was eagerly waiting on the bed as the machine scanned over my entire body. I knew I was looking much better my clothes were a lot bigger on me and I could see my body slowly leaning out, I was excited to see what my scan was! When the lady sat me down and went over this with me she showed me that my body fat was 23%! Are you serious I was only 4 weeks out from my competition there was no way I was going to be able to drop that body fat percentage – instantly every positive thought I had went completely out the window.

I became so negative on myself – as soon as she took my money I sat in the car crying my eyes out. Called my partner Josh and sat on the phone crying to him for a good 20 minutes while he tried to console me and emphasize how amazing and healthy I was looking but still nothing could shake this feeling of not being “good enough” or ready for the stage. I was competing against girls who boast about 12% body fat which by this scan I was nowhere near.  

I sent my coach a message telling her I wasn’t going to compete anymore and sent her through my scan results. She instantly called me and we spoke about where we go from here and she believed that my body did not represent this figure I had received from the scan.

After crying for days about my scan and wallowing in loads of self doubt I decided to research the accuracy of these scans and why on earth mine were always so high compared to other girls. I found many scholarly articles on why these scans were inaccurate; the basis of these scans are set through averages on trials.

Reports state that the scan does work well looking at averages however; the error rates hover around 5% for an individual (with some results showing error rates of around 10%).  Although these made me feel a lot better seeing this that maybe I was among that error statistic; I still couldn’t bring that confidence back that was ripped from me.

The package I brought to stage wasn’t exactly what I wanted to bring and I can’t say I was 100% happy with it, but what I can say is I am so happy with how I managed to transform my body in as little as 4 weeks.

I didn’t deprive myself and we regularly monitored my movements. From this transformation I was able to increase my confidence and I realized that a number doesn’t define me and it doesn’t depict how hard I worked to be up there with all those other girls.  

After my DEXA scan not once did I jump onto the scales and measure my achievements through a number, we didn’t take measurements this competition and we just measured my body through the changes my body was making visually.

I am so happy that we did it this way as I was so vulnerable to a number; I was so fragile this season and my coach and I knew it was best if we didn’t monitor me through measurements and scales.

Today’s blog is a reminder that not all your progress has to be measured through your scales and your measurements. Sometimes the progress needs to be measured mentally as opposed to physically – don’t be so hard on yourself, look how far you’ve come! Small progress is STILL progress!

Whitney Holmes