Finding your healthy weight is extremely important. Each woman is different. Relying on a bathroom scale and the Body Mass Index chart could lead to problems if you’re trying to lose weight. Knowing how much fat weight verses body weight you have is very important if you believe or are told by your doctor that you need to lose weight.
I’m not suggesting that you should stop weighing yourself on your bathroom scale. I’m a firm believer in daily or weekly weighing. I’ve found that knowing what you weigh helps you get a handle on your weight.
Your body comes with a set healthy weight. That set weight depends on how much your body weighs. Some women’s bodies are heavier than other women’s due to larger bones, more muscle mass, and other factors. Trying to go under your set weight is asking for problems.
Having a normal amount of body fat is the goal here. Your body has essential fat and non- essential fat. Essential fat is needed. Most women need 10 to 13% of essential fat to support the normal functioning of their bodies. Essential fat is incorporated in to the nerves, brain, heart, liver, lungs and mammary glands. You have to have it to be healthy.The ideal amount of body fat women need is around 14 to 24%. Having up to 31% is acceptable and more than that is a problem.
There are mathematical procedures used to determine your ideal amount of body fat once you determine your body weight. There are many ways to determine your body weight.
I’m going to share some “big word terms” with you so you can ask for these services from your medical doctor or fitness professional.
Anthropometric measurements are the easiest and least expensive way to determine your body composition. Anthropometric measurements include circumference and skin-fold measurement.
Circumference measurements measure 4-body sites to determine body composition: The abdomen (at your belly button), the hips (at the widest part), the iliac (the top of your hip bones), and the waist (the narrowest part of your torso). Those areas are measured and a mathematical process determines your body composition. Your doctor or a qualified fitness professional can do this test for you.
Skin fold measurements are taken with calipers specifically designed for this purpose. You need to go to a professional to get an accurate reading. The theory is that 50% of total body fat lies under your skin. Various key areas of your body are pinched and measured with the calipers to determine how much fat you’re carrying.
Some methods that require more technology are:
Bioelectrical Impedance. This uses a device that measures your body’s resistance to electrical flow. The theory here is that lean mass conducts electricity better than fatty tissue so they can differentiate lean mass from your fat and give you a good idea of how much fat you need to lose using this method.
Hydrostatic Weighing ( underwater weighing) is a good way to find out what your body mass is. It involves sitting in a chair attached to a scale while you’re under water. Water displacement determines your body mass.
There are other more advanced methods available such as:
Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry is a very accurate test. It involves a specific type of scanner reading your bone and soft tissue mass.
Air Displacement Plethysmography uses air displacement instead of water displacement to determine your body mass.
Near Infrared Interactance uses infrared light to determine your body mass.
These methods may be new to you and some of the terms are a mouth full but it’s very valuable information. It’s worth the time and expense to have one of the tests done so you can have a realistic healthy weight goal.
Relying on generic charts and scales are not the best way to go. You have a unique body. The more you can find out about it the healthier you will be.
Your fitness expert