As I get closer to my goal, I am finding myself more and more interested in knowing my actual body fat percentage. Initially, I was all for the weight loss being measure by the numbers on the scale. Then, I because interested in the inches lost around my hips, waist, thighs, biceps, etc. Now, I kind of want to know if I am really lowering the fat, while keeping most of my muscle.
So, how do I find that out, I wondered?
Well, the first of my goals was to get my weight down into a healthy weight range as indicated by the BMI (Body Mass Index) chart below.
GREEN is Healthy Weight. YELLOW is Overweight. RED is Obese.
I am 5’1″ and I am 132.5 pounds…ALMOST to 130, which will put me in the healthy weight range! (Actually 132 will get me there, but either way…the medical community will soon consider me to be at a healthy weight.) I started my weight loss quest at 164 pounds…I was actually considered to be obese then…that boggles my mind.
What is the History of the BMI chart?
Well, about 10 years ago, NIH (National Institutes of Health) released its new healthy weight guidelines. The purpose was to find a uniform method that the medical community, insurance companies and the general public could use to measure body fat and healthy weight. One interesting thing that happened back then is that they actually lowered the overweight threshold from a score of 27.5 to 25. That meant that quite a few people who were once considered to be at a healthy weight range were suddenly overweight. There are quite a few BMI calculators and charts online to help determine your BMI score quickly and easily.
How accurate is it?
The chart is best used as a screening tool – not as a definitive calculation of your body fat percentage or your overall health. One of the reasons for this is that it does not account for a person’s age, gender or the amount of muscle mass they have. Football players, for instance, might score high on the BMI chart when really their fat percentage is low. It’s the weight of their muscle that skews the results for them.
So, the BMI chart may be a starting point for a person or a medical provider in trying to determine a person’s health weight and body mass, but there are better ways to test for actual body fat. For me, once I get myself into the healthy zone, I am going to look into getting tested for my actual body fat percentage (probably via a skin-fold measurement test.) They sell calipers online and if used properly, I should be able to get a very accurate idea of my fat loss success.