Since adopting a plant based diet, I noticed positive changes almost immediately. I felt lighter, had more energy, and overall felt happier since cutting out the animal products. However, I looked forward to seeing some proof that a plant based diet has been beneficial.
A dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scan is a common technique used to measure bone density. My basketball coaches have the players do the scan before the season starts in order to get an idea of what our body fat percentage is. We also get a DEXA scan done after the season as well.
The DEXA scan results showed that my body fat percentage is at 11.7%. My body fat percentage at the last scan was 15.6% back in April. That is about a 4% decrease in body fat in about four months. I was very happy to see that I lost close to four thousand grams of fat since my last scan.
My body weight last April at the time of the scan was 183 pounds. I stayed around that weight until I switched to a plant based diet in July. At the time of the most recent scan, my weight was 171 pounds. So I lost 12 pounds since the last scan. In reality, I lost most of those pounds in about one month.
The results page only shows about four scans I have gotten since I have been in college. At the time of my first scan during my freshmen year, I was at 16.7% body fat. I realized after that scan that I need to pay attention to what I am eating. I started counting calories and trying to eat well. The lowest body fat percentage I got to was 12.4%. Since switching to a plant based diet, I haven’t counted calories at all. I am also at the lowest body fat percentage I have ever been at. It is much simpler and less stressful not having to count calories, yet still feeling better than ever and being the lightest I have ever been.
Body fat percentage looks different on everyone. I naturally hold more body fat than others. Some of my teammates are as low as 6% body fat. But I am extremely satisfied with 11% body fat and I feel like I am the lightest and quickest I have ever been.
In my most recent scan I was at 66,032 grams of muscle. That is down about 300 grams from my last scan. However, considering I have lost 12 pounds since my last scan, only losing 300 grams of muscle is great. It is natural to lose some muscle when losing weight. Losing only 300 grams of muscle while losing 4000 grams of body fat essentially means I held on to all of my muscle mass.
We also tested our maximum lifts in the weight room recently. I actually went up in maximum weight on the two lifts we tested, bench press and deadlift. I lifted more than 100 pounds more than my previous max in the deadlift. This shows that I have actually gotten stronger since switching to a plant based diet.
I have felt amazing since switching to a plant based diet and the DEXA scan results do nothing but confirm that I have made a great decision. I hope that my results help encourage you in case you have doubts or worries that eating a plant based diet might not be suitable or achievable. Especially if you are an athlete, my results show that it is possible to be in great shape without eating animal products.