Weight Loss Support - Body fat % question

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03-09-2008, 12:06 PM
How fast do you expect to see that body fat% number move?

I started my lifestyle change in February. I have lost 10 lbs. From 198 to 188. I am 5'5". I thought that i would see the body fat drop more than about the 1% that it has. I started at about 43% and am usually around 42% sometimes 41%.

I have never really kept track of the body fat% before, so learning this system is new. Can anyone help with this?

03-09-2008, 12:20 PM
Body fat percentage is very slow to change, and it's really necessary to exercise in order to change it.

I have lost 45 pounds, and my body fat percentage went from 44% to 33%. That's something like a quarter of a percent per pound lost, but of course it's not a straight-line match up.

The fact that my body fat percentage dropped means that I truly lost more fat than I did lean body mass (muscle, skin, organs, bone, etc.). I think that body fat percentage is a more important number than pounds lost.

Many bathroom-type scales are able to estimate body fat % using electrical resistance. The best test is the immersion test. Also, the caliper test, done by a trained fitness coach or other professional, has better accuracy. But as I said, I'm more interested in the difference. I use my Tanita scale.


03-09-2008, 12:27 PM
What I have read, says you will probably see 1/4% - 1/2% per week if you are eating correctly. If you are eating very clean, this does not mean low fat. It means whole foods with the right carb combination and calorie combination for you, which is a trial and error thing. You may lose as much as 1/2% - 1% a week.

03-09-2008, 12:34 PM
Hi Daisy,
Both ladies are right. It doesn't change much per pound lost, but it does add up the more you lose and the longer you continue to exercise and eat right. Caliper tests can be inaccurate if the person who does them does not measure correctly. You can ask your local gym if they do Omron testing (it's a hand-held device that sends an electric current through your arms) or use a scale with a body fat calculator (it sends the current through your legs) to get an estimate. The immersion, according to dietitians I've spoken to, is the most accurate, but they also said the best evidence that you're losing overall body fat is to check how your clothing fits. If you're noticing a difference in your waist and thighs, then you know you're losing body fat. They also say that weight training 2-3 times a week helps to tone your body, so even if you do have more body fat than someone else, you don't look like you do. I know there's a few good articles on MSN Health that go into further detail.Hope this helps!

03-09-2008, 01:06 PM
I guess that's the frustration.. i work out 5 to 6 times a week and usually either 2 or 3 of those workouts are circuit training. I only have scales to measure... my home is a Tanita.. and then the gym also uses an electric scale to measure.

I guess i just need to be a little more patient!

I have been slowly changing to eating more clean foods... so maybe i will see more change then!

03-09-2008, 01:31 PM
There is also the chance that some of the pounds lost are made up of lean mass, too--so that could make the body fat % slower to change. Losing some lean mass is unfortunately usually a part of weight loss. Also, the bathroom scale method is an estimate and can vary depending on how hydrated you are.

When I went in for a bioimedence test at my gym (it's the same technology as the scale, but probably a little more accurate), they had all kinds of rules beforehand:

-- Nothing to eat or drink before the test
-- No alcohol 24 hours before the test
-- No caffeine 12 hours before the test

So just keep in mind that your scale's an estimate and that unless your biological circumstances are exactly the same every time, you're going to have some fluctuation.