A few months ago I wrote about figuring out your ideal weight or healthy weight and why BMI (Body Mass Index) is a totally useless metric or calculation.
I’ll show you a Full Body Composition (my own), and the factors that go into determining YOUR healthy weight.
I mentioned in that Ideal Weight post that I got a Body Fat Scale, or body composition analyzer. After much research, I got the Easy@Home Bluetooth Body Fat Digital Scale.
Here’s what it looks like:
Losing weight alone is great, but as I’ve continued to lose weight… I’m not at all happy with what was under all those pounds that are now gone. 😛 This encouraged me to start exercising regularly – to tone up my body, and also to get healthier.
At my age (40’s) I also began looking at bone health, and ways to improve bone density. I’m no longer on a mission to lose weight. I’m on a mission to improve my overall health, and ultimately my quality of life during this “second half”.
With any real goal, you need a metric and benchmark to assess where you are, and to measure your success as you move toward your goal. Which is why I got the Easy@Home Bluetooth Body Fat Digital Scale to start using before I got into a serious exercise routine – and continued losing the rest of my (extra) weight.
I want to share a few things with you. I think you’re going to find this interesting, maybe even enlightening, and possibly encouraging. 🙂
Normal / Healthy Body Fat Percentage
According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE) 25-31% body fat is a healthy range for women (18-24% for men) –source. The numbers vary a bit by source.
I’m more concerned with my own Body Fat, and more specifically: reducing it. 🙂
It’s not just about losing weight, which is NOT a true metric to go by or even a smart goal – but rather: reducing body fat and increasing muscle mass.
On that note, check out these pictures of women of varying body fat percentages from Body Fat Percentage Pictures Of Men & Women:
Your body TYPE plays a big part in your body fat.
Especially for women, for obvious (.)(.) reasons. 🙂
Your own personal “ideal body type” plays a big part in your goals as well. I have no desire to be stick skinny OR a body builder. Looking at the photo collage above, I like the 25-31% body fat range. I would love to be the 30% body in the very middle. There’s two things at play: your body type/shape, and your personal preferences.
My own Body Fat is currently 34.8%, but I’m short.
Obviously a lot shorter than “middle girl” up there, because I look more like somewhere between “Ms 35” and “Ms 40”. LOL. Would 5% really make THAT big a difference?! Height and muscle tone definitely play a big part…
How To Calculate Your Body Fat Percentage
There are a few different options. The two most accurate ways to calculate Body Fat are Hydrostatic Weighing and a DEXA Scan. Both are totally impractical and expensive of course. That leaves us (normal folks) with:
- Calipers (not ideal for 35+ pounds overweight & what about extra skin?)
- Body Tape Measure (doesn’t actually calculate or measure body fat)
- Online Body Fat Calculator (fairly accurate, but not a full picture)
- A Digital Body Fat Scale (analyzes your complete body composition)
I use a Fit & Fresh Body Tape Measure to track my body measurements, which is a great little tool! But I’m never 100% sure if I’m measuring with the exact same tightness or looseness as the last time I measured – or if I’m pulling the tape around my body in the exact same place. It’s a “close guess” at least.
I probably need to tattoo on “markers” if I’m going to get it right – LOL.
How A Body Fat Scale Works
I was pretty impressed when I started researching the digital body fat scales that are available right now – specifically with how they work, compared to a regular scale.
Your usual scale only measures your overall weight of course. The body fat scales measure SO MUCH more. They measure your: body weight, body fat, body water, muscle mass, BMI, BMR, bone mass and visceral fat – and they give you all that data in a nice neat little app! Click here to learn more…
You use a body fat scale barefoot, because it uses a technology called bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) to send a small, harmless electrical current through your body tissues to gather the various stats.
Full Body Composition: There’s More Than Just Body Fat!
Just calculating BMI (Body Mass Index) alone is a completely inaccurate view of your body. See Your Ideal Weight. In addition to your weight and your body fat, there are other things that make up the full composition of your body: water, muscle and bone.
The goal: LOSE fat, GAIN muscle!
My Current Body Composition / Body Fat
Back in May, my BMI was 27.06 (according to my doctor). As of August 18th, my BMI is 25.3. Again, a useless metric. What I notice most about my results with the Easy@Home Digital Scale is the little slider at the bottom. Which basically says “YOU’RE FAT”. I’m surprised the app doesn’t actually say that to me out loud. 😛
What you see there (er, besides my adorable great dane! lol) is my total body composition. Not just my weight, but the overall state of my body.
Quite an interesting “picture” or analysis, don’t you agree? Neat!
THIS gives me some real metrics and goals to work with! 🙂
- Body Fat: the fat directly under your skin
- Visceral Fat: abdominal or “belly fat” / fat packed between internal organs
- Body Water: water content of your body (in tissue, blood, bones, etc)
- Bone Density: the quality of your bone health, strength & density
- BMI: Body Mass Index (your weight-to-height ratio)
- BMR – the rate at which your body uses energy when you are resting
- Muscle Mass: the weight of muscular tissue in your body
I’ve been tracking this for awhile, and looking at my stats from today versus a month ago, the only real difference is a .2 pound gain in muscle mass. Bingo!
That’s something I can actually get excited about, when the “body weight” number on the scale doesn’t necessarily blow my skirt up. 😛
Looking back at the same stats at a slightly higher weight (only around 4 pounds heavier), the main difference was my water weight – and my Visceral Fat was quite a bit higher. Visceral Fat is the most dangerous kind, by the way 😯 so that was quite eye opening. Only a few extra pounds added a lot more of a health risk!
Muscle Does NOT Weigh More Than Fat!
A pound is a pound is a pound. Fat is just more fluffy. Muscle is more lean, and a pound of muscle takes up less space in your body than a pound of fat.
You can easily add muscle weight but look thinner, which is why a traditional “weight only” scale is not accurate if you’re eating healthy and also exercising.
Taking body measurements will help you better track your progress, but a Body Fat Scale – or a full body composition analysis – will give you the TRUE picture.
I’ve been exercising a bit here and there on top of getting out for “real exercise” (water skiing, for example) but I’ve just started a SERIOUS workout routine and fitness goal. I’m currently doing the T25 Fast Track plus using the Ab Carver.
I’ll be tracking my total body composition as I go, so stay tuned to see how that “looks” – both on paper, and on the body. 🙂 *cheers*
If you’re frustrated with your “weight” – and you’re ready to throw your scales out the window! – considering getting a REAL scale, and setting REAL health goals.
Easy@Home Bluetooth Body Fat Digital Scale (Smart Scale) with FREE App for iPhone, iPad, iPod and Android smart phones and tablets. Measures 8 Parameters: Body Weight, Body Fat, Body Water, Muscle Mass, BMI, BMR(KCAL), Bone Mass and Visceral Fat. 4.3″ backlit LCD display – High Sensitivity ITO Top, CF351BT