Get Healthy

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Your Weight, Your Fat, and Your Health

Wait!!!  What's the big deal with weight???  We get so hung up on the number on the scale, when it doesn't even reveal the true picture to us.  Your bathroom scale can only measure your body mass in pounds (or kilograms), but is completely indifferent to your body composition.  A scale can make someone seem overweight...even if they are not over fat, and vice-versa.  You see, a scale can not possibly tell you what you body's fat mass (or lean mass) is.  It is important to point out that anyone trying to lose "weight" is really trying to lose fat...not necessarily weight.

Let's take a closer look at body composition, which is the number that you should be looking at to determine if you "fall within a healthy range", determine if you need to lose fat, or to see if the "weight" you've recently lost is fat or lean mass.  This is especially important because "dieting" often leads to a loss of fat-free weight and water, and this is why dieting alone is not conducive to creating the lean, toned looking body that most people seek.  In order to lose fat, you MUST combine a healthy diet WITH exercise (especially strength training).

Let's also take a close look as to why during a weight loss program (combining diet and exercise), there are times when weight loss slows, stops, or even reverses.  Now read this carefully...despite the fact that your weight loss may have slowed, stopped, or that you may have gained a few pounds, you still can be loosing fat and gaining lean body mass. 

Click on the following photo as a reference to see more detail on fat loss.

The magic number that we need to look at here is your body fat percentage.  A healthcare professional, or Personal Trainer should be able to give you a fairly accurate, quick assessment of what your body fat is.  Once we know that number, we can determine how much body fat you need to lose to be within a healthy range, and ultimately deduce approximately what your weight should be.  Let's do the math so you can see what I'm talking about:

Tom is a 49 year old man who weighs 212 lbs, and has an estimated BF% (body fat) of 21.3%.  His goal is to reach a BF% of 17% (which is in the "healthy" range for him).

     STEP 1 -  100% - BF% = Lean Mass %
                      100% - 21.3% = 78.7%

     STEP 2 -  Body weight x Lean Mass % = Lean Mass
                       212 lbx x .787 = 167 lbs Lean Mass

     STEP 3 -  100% - Desired BF% = Desired Lean Mass %
                       100% - 17% = 83%

     STEP 4 -  Lean Body Mass/Desired Lean Body Mass % = Desired Body Weight
                       167 lbs / .83 = 201 lbs

So you can see that the weight corresponding to the desired BF% of 17% is equal to 201 lbs for Tom.  With regular aerobic activity, resistance training, and dietary management, he would need to lose approximately 11 lbs of fat weight to reach his goal of 17% BF.

I know this was technical, and I hope I explained it thoroughly enough so that it helps you see why the number on the scale isn't the only number that you need to look at.  Find someone who can give you an estimation of what your BF% is, and then you can do the math for yourself to see where your "healthy" weight is.  You should also know that for women, a BF% between 15-31% is considered acceptable...anything over 31% is considered obese.  For men, a BF% between 12-24% is considered acceptable...anything over 25% is considered obese.

If you need help with your body composition assessments, losing fat weight, and getting on a consistent exercise and nutritionally sound eating plan, contact me.  You can also check out my Online Personal Trainer at  For less than $20 a week you have access to me, as your very own Personal Trainer and Health Coach.  Reclaim your health and get your sexy back!