Weight Loss Support - A few random questions about food and BMI vs body fat

05-12-2010, 09:23 PM
First question:

When buying a fresh spinach bunch from the store, am I suppose to cut the stems off and keep the leaves only? I've just been washing and eating them as is, stem and all lol

Second question:

BMI VS Fat Percentage. I'm currently 198lbs 5'3" and classified as Obese class 2 (only 1lbs away from Obese class one! wooohoo? lol) anyways...I can handle that, but after I figured out my Body-Fat Percentage, I'm classified as having an "acceptable" fat percentage. I don't get it. So what IS the difference between the two terms. I also know I have a medium-large frame if that makes any difference.

05-12-2010, 09:38 PM
I throw out very little when it comes to produce. If it tastes good to you that way by all means eat the stems. They have all the good stuff the leaves have and probably a little more fiber. I only get rid of the toughest ends of greens,never spinach.

I'll let someone else tackle the weight vs. body fat question.

05-12-2010, 09:41 PM
i gotta say these calculators are just not for me. i use the BMI as a very general guide. i think maybe we put too much stock into numbers. i know that isn't very helpful but id just focus on staying on plan, too many numbers get confusing!

you can eat the stems!

05-12-2010, 09:48 PM
How did you figure out your body fat percentage? If you used an online calculator, it probably isn't an accurate percentage.

BMI is a formula that is a general guide for weight. It only factors in your gender, weight and height. However, two women; same age, same height, same weight, can have very different body fat percentages. It basically means one has more muscle mass than the other.

I've been wanting to get my BF calculated but I don't have a gym membership.

05-12-2010, 10:24 PM
First, make sure you're not using the same ranges to compare BMI and body fat. Each has it's own ranges of normal. They're aren't quite the same. "Normal" body fat is a higher number than BMI. Off the top of my head, I think maybe 25-30% body fat is "acceptable" or something like that, whereas those numbers are "overweight" for BMI.

Second, online body fat calculators vary a lot. I've tried a few, and one may predict 10% less body fat than another. It depends on where you carry your fat, and where the calculator assumes you carry your fat.

Although body fat at a given height and weight varies a lot between individuals, it's unlikely that at 5'3" and 198 pounds you aren't obese. Personally I wouldn't worry too much about it until I were closer to goal, unless I had body fat actually measured. Otherwise, I'd pick one online body fat calculator, and use it not necessarily to give you an accurate body fat, but to track changes.

Blackberry Fields
05-13-2010, 06:36 AM
i gotta say these calculators are just not for me. i use the BMI as a very general guide.

Phew, I thought I was the only one who thinks it's limited but still uses it for a LOOSE estimate. It was pshychologically important for me to go below the BMI obesity threshold but now that I did it's not something I'm concerned with anymore. My head is huge and there's no fat there, I've got wide wrists and even wider feet etc. I'm not keeping a very strict BMI tally.

05-13-2010, 12:58 PM
Yeah, I'm not sure about the online BF calculators. I did one the other day and it said I was 37% body fat...I just have a hard time believing that. I really want to go to the doc for a physical and see if I can get a better number. BMI I don't trust because it doesn't take BF into consideration...right now I'm killing myself to lose another 20lbs when in reality I probably only need to lose another 10, maybe 15. I think the key is how you feel about yourself and your health, if you feel great and look great inside and out then the **** with those calculators. :)

05-13-2010, 01:07 PM
BMI has nothing to do with body fat. The body mass index (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Body_mass_index) (BMI) is a mathematical comparison of a person's height and weight, that is ALL that it is. While it can be roughly correlated to body fat percentage across a population of subjects, it's not necessarily predictive or indicative of the body fat percentage of an individual. This is why using BMI to predict the health status of an individual is so faulty; for example, a male bodybuilder with "athlete" levels of body fat can easily be in the "obese" category of BMI.

05-13-2010, 01:08 PM
The last time I got my body fat measured accurately I was just entering college. I was 5'8" and 135 pounds with a BMI of 20.5 (mid range of normal) and body fat on the border between 18-19% (considered to be low for a female). So, those two can vary from eachother. Overall, BMI is at best a goal to aim for, as it doesn't reflect differences in age, build, etc. Body fat is probably the best indication of health (as far as weight goes) but I would only trust an established method (calipers by a trained person, hydrostatic weighing, etc) or a medical grade body fat scale. Online calculators are notoriously off.

Petite Powerhouse
05-13-2010, 01:52 PM
Calipers are pretty good at measuring body fat, and water tests are the best. Nothing else is very accurate at all. Even body fat scales are subject to tremendous fluctuation based on hydration and other issues. And online tests are very untrustworthy as well.

05-13-2010, 03:41 PM
Thank you everyone for the comments!

Yes I was using an online calculator, the one where you put your body measurements, weight, height...and I used the same site's BMI. It was just so confusing to me, I think I want to get caliper. I would love to go to the doc but I don't have insurance at the moment. Maybe I can sneak into a gym and talk someone into helping me lmao.

WarMaiden - Yeah thats what I figured! As far as muscle weight on a BMI, it wouldn't know the difference and would consider you in a heavier category. I carry a lot of weight in my hips (pear shape) but I definitely don't look 198lbs (197 today!). I think I do have more muscle than fat though.

05-15-2010, 12:51 PM
I really want to go to the doc for a physical and see if I can get a better number.

I'd be surprised if your regular doctor has the means to give you better number. They probably have zero experience measuring with calipers, and insurance is very unlikely to pay for the underwater measurement.