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Does anybody monitor their body fat percentage? If so, can you come and talk to me about it please?

(19 Posts)
CakeMeIAmYours Tue 25-Sep-12 18:40:26

I'm not overweight, but certainly have more body fat than I would like and feel 'jiggly' for want of a better word. I'm really serious about getting this down so bought a set of body fat monitor scales (ones with sensors in the base and also handles that you pull out and hold)

I was horrified to discover that my body fat is 32%! Can this be right? I'm 5"6', size 8-10, 136lbs and would probably be described as 'slim' from looking at me.

I'm hoping thinking that either the monitor is not working properly, or I'm taking the measurement incorrectly.

Could you please share your 'stats' so I can see if I am really the chubster that the machine thinks I am? I fear this may be wishful thinking though sad

amigababy Tue 25-Sep-12 19:20:17

Hi, I measure my BF with a little Tanita hand held machine I've had for years. I am 5'6", between 10 st 0, and 10st 7 (depends on if I've just been on holiday) and between 28 and 30% BF. I wear size 10's, and look slim, but if I'm naked I can definitely "pinch an inch" on my thighs and midriff. I'm a bit of a diet nut and am always trying to lose that last 10 pounds, which would get me down to about 23%. To reduce any more (for me) would involve weight training and starting to eat more of a body builders type diet which I'm not prepared to do at the moment. Do you feel toned and firm? tbh I know I'm not.
I think 23-35% is considered a healthy range for women age 41-60 (me), below this is athlete level and around 12% is a competitive body builder. there are lots of websites which list manual ways you can take body measurements, enter them into the site, and it will return an approximation of BF%, which might confirm the accuracy of your measurement.

This is from a World Health Organisation chart

Age Underfat Healthy Range Overweight Obese
20-40 yrs Under 21% 21-33% 33-39% Over 39%
41-60 yrs Under 23% 23-35% 35-40% Over 40%
61-79 yrs Under 24% 24-36% 36-42% Over 42%

hope this helps

Sleepwhenidie Tue 25-Sep-12 19:30:06

Hi, yes that is possible. Between dc1 and dc2 i lost about 2 stone and had a personal trainer, I wasnt particularly strict with diet but exercised a lot. I got down to 9st 5lbs (am 5"5), but iirc even at that weight and pretty fit my body fat remained about 27%, which was on the line between ideal and average for my age. I wasnt too bothered about getting it down from there because i knew i planned to get pg fairly soon.

Post dc3 I lost over 2st again and exercised lots again. Now i am about 9st, size 8 with body fat about 16-17%. i do quite a bit of weight training.

Take a look at the chart here and see where you are for your age, average i would guess. It is possible to be "skinny fat", where you have a healthy bmi and look slim, but the fat/muscle ratio is not ideal and you "jiggle" instead of being firm and toned.

CakeMeIAmYours Tue 25-Sep-12 20:51:23

Thanks so much for taking the time to reply, so it looks like the scales are right then <<sobs>>

I'm just really surprised that I'm well below average in terms of dress size, but on the verge of obese in terms of body fat percentage.

I don't really have any excuse either, no DCs and plenty of time to exercise - am fairly fit and do strength training as well as running. I do have quite good muscle tone, but it just seems to be covered by a duvet of flab at the moment. On the plus side, the scales also report that my muscle percentage is 31% which is not too bad, I guess I just need to step away from the cake.

This has really given me a kick up the arse though, I have a couple of important black tie functions and a lovely posh Christmas holiday coming up over the festive season. I'm going to treat myself to a really 'wow' gown and am determined to be skinny slim and toned before then.

Thanks again for your replies smile

cathyandclaire Wed 26-Sep-12 09:30:37

My body fat was also measured at 32%...nearly a third flab, I was mortified! I've been battling to try and drop it and have lost 9lb (now 8st7, 5ft 3 so BMI ok and size 8-10) but the machine still wobbles between 29 and 32 (32% yesterday SOB! )
The online measurer/calculators give me a much lower figure so I was praying/ kidding myself that the gym machine was wrong. I used to be 22% when I last weighed this amount...depressing!
I'm now joining the Bootcamp thread and increasing weights at the gym in the aim to get to 26% by Xmas but will need to up my muscle or my face will start to look like a haggard old prune if I just lose weight (I'm 45).

cathyandclaire Wed 26-Sep-12 09:35:52

I thought these pics were depressing interesting

Sleepwhenidie Thu 27-Sep-12 13:24:47

this is fascinating too. Illustrates the necessity of weight training perfectly.

fatlazymummy Thu 27-Sep-12 15:10:58

I just measured mine on the scales at Tesco. It came up at 30.6%, on the top end of ideal for my age range, 50-55.
[assuming these scales are accurate of course]
I'm absolutely delighted, all my hard work is really starting to pay off. I would like to lose about 7 more pounds [of fat hopefully], that will take my percentage lower.

CakeMeIAmYours Thu 27-Sep-12 15:38:18

sleepwhenidie your link isn't working for me sad. could you repost please? It sounds interesting.

Only problem with weight training rather than running is that me lifting weights doesn't constitute exercise for the dog.

Unless I work on training him to lift dumbells in his mouth - they are kind of bone shaped after all grin

fatlazymummy (time for a namechange methinks!) Well done on your achievement smile

Sleepwhenidie Thu 27-Sep-12 16:08:53

Sorry, try again, it works when i test it here

Full address is

cathyandclaire Thu 27-Sep-12 16:35:51

Well done fatlazymummyslimhealthymummy! I've looked at the links and have booked an assessment at the gym with calipers and the like (yikes blush)for next Tuesday to see if I am skinny fat or just plain fat! I'm hoping the results will inspire me rather than make me run and hide in a vat of chocolate and wine!

TellMeLater Thu 27-Sep-12 16:53:38

I think the working out of body fat is flawed. I've just calculated my body fat % from an online calculator and it says 25.5. I then reduced my weight and measurements by a ridiculous amount and the calculated amount doesn't change very much, think it changed to 24.8% when I set my BMI at 16.

I've tried online calculators which always give the answer of 32% regardless of what numbers I slot in and I've tried the scales in Boots and they reported a high percentage too despite me having a BMI of 20 and a fairly atheletic build, they even suggested that I should lose weight shock. I simply don't believe it is possible to accurately work out body fat using an online calculator and I'm not convinced by the home scales while it would be lovely to know what my body fat percentage is, I don't trust any of the domestic methods available, so I'll stick to measuring myself and weighing myself as a guide to my leanness.

TellMeLater Thu 27-Sep-12 17:02:37

Just did another one and they said 19.9 - mind you that was and they weren't trying to sell me diet products.

Sleepwhenidie Thu 27-Sep-12 17:06:52

Tellmelater, i think you are sort of right, the way to really find out is to get a trained person (dr or personal trainer) to measure you with callipers. Take any online calculation or Boots machine results with a pinch of salt. I used a Boots one and got a readout of 28% when callipers and scales at gym both said 16.5% shock. Telling you to lose weight when you have a bmi of 20 is clearly crazy.

CakeMeIAmYours Thu 27-Sep-12 17:14:25

Sorry if I'm being dim here, but how does an online calculator work out your body fat? confused

The body fat scales that you just stand on are very unreliable as they just send the charge up one leg and down the other. The ones with the handles are much more accurate because they measure the impedence along your arms and upper body too.

Apparently the only accurate way to measure it is to immerse yourself entirely in water and see how much you float (I kid you not). I'm interested to know, but not that interested!

TellMeLater Thu 27-Sep-12 17:18:39

sleep even calipers can give skewed results if they are not used properly and I have heard they are hard to use.

secondseverncrossing Thu 27-Sep-12 17:23:33


I'm 5 ft 6, 10 stone 3 and a size 12 (10 in some bottoms).

My body fat percentage comes out at about 20% on most of the handheld monitors and the scales at boots that measure it.

I'm not a skinny minny but I do go to the gym regularly and do a lot of cardio and regularly do weights. Before I joined the gym 18 months ago I was 2 stone heavier and my body fat % was 38% (shock) so it is infinitely possible to change.

TellMeLater Thu 27-Sep-12 17:27:10

I think the scales in boots gave me a skewed reading because I have big norks and the pulse goes across your chest.

CakeMeIAmYours Thu 27-Sep-12 17:32:42

I don't even have that excuse tellme - small of nork here (but flabby of bingo wing)


That's comforting to know second . I will be toned and lovely by Xmas!

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