we are constantly barraged with (mis)information about weight loss programs,pills, other sensationalisms that hope to trigger a fear based reaction to get you to purchase products. The days of the professional carnival weight guessers are far behind us and in my own opinion unless you are competing in an event that requires you to “weigh in” at a certain weight it is a fruitless and disappointing chase to be a “perfect weight”. Size on the other i’ve had clients who have shrunk down there waist size but have not lost as mush weight as they thought they would have to to be healthy and that really is the main idea behind “fitness”. Being happy and healthy Feeling good about yourself and comfortable in your own skin.
What is body composition? Body composition is the body’s relative amount of fat to fat free-free mass. Those with optimal body composition are typically healthier, move more easily and efficiently, and in general, feel better than those with less-than-ideal body composition. Achieving a more optimal body composition goes a long way toward improving your quality of life and overall wellness.
Educated fitness professionals all agree that excess body fat is a serious health issue and tends to come along with hypertension, cardiovascular disease, adds excess load to the joints and musculo-skeletal system. Extra fat around the abdomen and waist is associated with a higher risk of diabetes, and heart disease.
People tend be preoccupied with how much they weight and mistakenly associate body weight with over all health when in fact this is not an optimal measurement of an individuals over all health. A person can actually weigh less and be in a far worse state of health. I recently took part in an 8 weeks dietary , behavioral , and exercise challenge that when i started i was measuring 19.4 body fat % and by the end of it i was at 15.3% with only a 10lb weight difference but a 4 size difference in my waist size.
one of the reasons for the mass media using the measurement of weight is that it’s easier to step onto a scale then it is to get proper body fat measurements done and they use the scale to terrorize people into purchasing all sorts of “quick fix” pills and products. My first piece of advice for this is to calm down. If you’ve found yourself in a state of health that you don’t find to be what you want do not panic. Let’s equate it to getting lost in the woods, the last thing you want to do is panic and start failing around running into trees and off cliffs and such. remain calm, and learn your location. where are you?? really?? what are your measurements and what percentage of your composition is fat/adipose tissue and what percentage is good useful fat burning muscle. having an understanding of this will help you to map a strategy for getting yourself closer to where you want to be. Keep in mind also that this is not an overnight thing and it will require time and effort to attain certain goals. You didn’t get this point overnight o there really is no “sensible” way that you can change it like that.
having an understanding of how much skeletal muscle you have will give you a better idea also of how strategize a reasonable diet plan and what is required to fuel the useful muscle so that it can burn the “excess” fat. keep in mind that muscle is denser that fat and equal size measurement s of muscle will weigh more than fat. I use the term “excess” to point out that we all need to carry a certain percentage of body fat just to survive. No one does well for extended periods of time at a to low of a body fat percentage. many of the bodies functions require fat, joints,eyes, and oh yeah……YOUR BRAIN!!! Fat is not an enemy, it is very useful but carrying an excess amount can lead to any number of health issues.
also beware of the “state farm” body index scale that shows what your “optimal” body weight is an accordance with your height. by this scale many professional athletes who are consistently in the 12% to 9% range rank as “morbidly obese”. i would find this laughable if it didn’t unnecessarily scare the hell out of so many people. The measurement was designed by the state farm insurance company back in the 40s and is so off based that if some one tries to apply it to you don’t be surprised if they also think that leaches are the best way to rid evil spirits from young children.
ways to measure body composition
bio-impedance meter- a commonly used method for estimating body composition, and in particular body fat. Since the advent of the first commercially available devices in the mid-1980s the method has become popular owing to its ease of use, portability of the equipment and its relatively low cost compared to some of the other methods of body composition analysis. It is familiar in the consumer market as a simple instrument for estimating body fat. BIA actually determines the electrical impedance, or opposition to the flow of an electric current through body tissues which can then be used to calculate an estimate of total body water (TBW). TBW can be used to estimate fat-free body mass and, by difference with body weight.
Accuracy-Many of the early research studies showed that BIA was quite variable and it was not regarded by many as providing an accurate measure of body composition.
body fat caliper-The skinfold estimation methods are based on a skinfold test, also known as a pinch test, whereby a pinch of skin is precisely measured by calipers at several standardized points on the body to determine the subcutaneous fat layer thickness.These measurements are converted to an estimated body fat percentage by an equation. Some formulas require as few as three measurements, others as many as seven. The accuracy of these estimates is more dependent on a person’s unique body fat distribution than on the number of sites measured.
DEXA-scan-Dual energy X-ray absorptiometry, or DXA (formerly DEXA), is a newer method for estimating body fat percentage, and determining body composition and bone mineral density.
X-rays of two different energies are used to scan the body, one of which is absorbed more strongly by fat than the other. A computer can subtract one image from the other, and the difference indicates the amount of fat relative to other tissues at each point. A sum over the entire image enables calculation of the overall body composition.
h2O dip test- Estimation of body fat percentage from underwater weighing (or hydrostatic weighing) has long been considered to be the best method available, especially in consideration of the cost and simplicity of the equipment. Most other ways to estimate body fatness, such as by skin folds, body girths, body impedance, air displacement volume and body scanners are based on equations which predict body density, and are inaccurate. In contrast, underwater weighing gives an actual measurement of body density rather than a prediction.