Losing Weight vs. Losing Body Fat


I went to a health and wellness class this past Tuesday night and a 16-year-old boy stood up to share his experience on our system. I don’t remember his exact weight, but he said that when he started his nutritional program,┬áhe was at 16% body fat. Now, several months later, he is at 6% body fat, but has gained 20 pounds. How is that possible, you ask? It was 20 pounds of lean muscle tissue.

Many people who start a weight loss program step on the scale to determine their initial body weight. At the end of 30 days, they step on the scale again, disappointed to find that they’ve only lost a few pounds. But for some reason their clothes are falling off and they’ve noticed a considerable difference in their size, appearance-wise.

What’s the difference between body fat and body weight?

Your body’s weight is a sum of your fat content, water content, and lean tissue (muscle bone, etc.) If you lose 10 pounds of fat, but gain 10 pounds of lean tissue in a 30-day period, when you step on the scale, it will look as though you haven’t lost anything. But chances are, your clothes will be falling off and you will notice in loss of inches when you look at yourself in the mirror. That’s why it’s very important to measure your body fat percentage.

How do I measure my body fat loss?

A bioelectrical impedance machine is one of the most accurate ways to calculate body fat percentage. It’s also essential to measure your inches before and after beginning a weight loss program.If your clothes become loose, if you see a difference in your overall appearance and your skin and muscles begin to feel tighter, then you’ll know something is working.

What is the ideal body fat percentage for men and women?

This varies from person to person, but in general, acceptable ranges are 16 to 21% for non-athletic women, and 8 to 14% for non-athletic men. Athletic men who want to see a six-pack of abs will need to get below 10% and women who want to see a six-pack will need to get down to the 14 to 16% range.


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