How Do I Measure My Body Fat?
There are many methods used today in an attempt to determine if you are burning body fat from your weight loss program.
When looking to lose weight everyone wants to see "how much" have they lost.
Here are some of the more popular methods used to measure and track your weight loss progress:
1) Weight scale
2) Body fat calipers
3) Bio-Electrical impedance devices
4) Hydrostatic testing
5) Measuring tapes
Out of these 6 methods of testing your body fat and weight loss progress, hands down the most popular and used is the weight scale.
And, this is probably the most easiest to use, which is a reason why so many prefer using the weight scale.
Also, most simply want to see the numbers on the weight scale go down, so all they have to do is step on and wait to see what number pops up.
However, the weight scale is not an accurate way to test how much weight you have lost since the last time you measured yourself.
Here's the problem: a weight scale can only measure how much your body weighs...total.
Now, if your body weight was made up of just body fat, then we'd be okay in using the weight scale as a method of weight loss tracking.
However, that's not the case.
Your body weight is made up of many things, not just body fat.
Your body weight is made up by:
*other internal tissues
*any food in your stomach
*any wastes in your intestines
(...and this is assuming you are weighing yourself without clothes, because that will also throw off how much you really weigh)
So you may step on the weight scale and it tells you you weigh 160 pounds....but it's 160 pounds of what?
That really isn't telling you much about your body composition.
Sure, you may weigh 5 pounds less than the last time you weighed yourself, but did you lose 5 pounds of fat, or 5 pounds of water, or 5 pounds of muscle (which you never, ever want to lose muscle, since that is what gives your body its shape,
tone, and is what increases your natural metabolism)?
Do you see my point?
Who cares if you've lost 25 pounds in a few weeks if most of those 25 pounds aren't even body fat!
That's why you see tons of people lose a lot of overall body weight, yet they simply end up looking like a smaller version of themselves.
Even though they have experienced a ton of weight loss, they still aren't any more toned or defined, nor can you see their abs any clearer.
That's because a lot of that weight, especially when it comes off too quickly (like, unfortunately, most people try to do), is not body fat, but in fact water and muscle mass.
Whenever you have someone that loses any more than 3 pounds per week, guaranteed that at least half of that weight is muscle...not body fat.
The average human body cannot burn off more than 2-3 pounds of body fat per week!
Anything above and beyond that is not fat that's being burned off.
All of these individuals that continuously lose 5, 10, 12 pounds per week (as is the case in the first couple of weeks of any dreaded low carbohydrate diet, or on all of these rapid weight loss shows like The Biggest Loser and Celebrity Fit Club) are simply losing mostly water and muscle.
Here's a possibly sad but true fact:
It is much, much easier and faster to lose a lot of water and muscle from the body than it will ever be to lose body fat.
Actually, you can almost sneeze away muscle tissue (which is exactly what we don't want).
Body fat, on the other hand, has to be dieted and worked off like a mad man.
To drive the point home, you have to burn up 3500 calories to lose 1 pound of body fat.
That's a lot of calories and a lot of work to burn that many calories.
That means that you have to either eat 3500 calories less than what your body needs within that particular period or perform activity that's burn that amount, or a combination of both.
So, the weight scale is not telling the whole story.
I'll get into the other forms in my next article.
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