Understanding Your Body Fat Percentage

scaleFat has had a terrible reputation. People want it out of their bodies and it’s often a derogatory term. In fact body fat is a survival mechanism from our distant ancestors that has allowed us to evolve. The unavailability of food in those primitive times required man to put on body fat so that he could have a ready store of energy.

Now in these times with food practically flowing from our pantries, body fat has become obsolete. The problem is that there is simply too much calories available to be consumed. You could jog for thirty minutes but a few seconds with a bag of cookies and that jogging would be useless.

The amount of body fat you carry makes a difference in your body shape and your general health. When you want to lose weight you are actually saying that you want to lose fat. What is body fat? This is the percentage of a person’s body mass that is not made up of either; bones, muscles, organs, or water.

For example, your body fat percentage is simply the percentage of fat your body contains. If you are 150 pounds and 10% fat, it means that your body consists of 15 pounds fat and 135 pounds lean body mass (bone, muscle, organ tissue, blood and everything else).

Knowing your body fat percentage can help you determine if your weight loss goals are realistic. Remember, weight loss doesn’t always mean fat loss.

Before you decide that you need to “lose weight”, remember to consider that weight consists of lean body mass and body fat. Try to keep your weight loss goals realistic, and remember, keep the calorie-burning muscle, and lose only the fat.

Why is Body Fat Measurement Important?

Body fat is an important element in successful weight control. Body fat requires fewer calories than muscle. So the less fat/more muscle we have, the more calories we can eat before gaining weight.

Body fat is often expressed as our “Body Fat Percentage” or “Body Fat Percent.” Body fat percentage is the amount of body-fat-tissue as a percentage of total body weight. If your total body weight is 160 pounds and you have 32 pounds of fat, your body fat percentage is 20 percent.

Body Fat and Health

The higher your percentage of fat above average levels, the higher your health risk for weight-related illness, like heart disease, high blood pressure, gallstones, type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, and certain cancers.

The higher your percentage of fat and the smaller your percentage of muscle the less calories you need to maintain your weight and therefore the easier it is to gain weight. This is because muscle is more metabolically active than fat tissue.

What is your Ideal Weight Loss?

An ideal weight loss regimen would result on loss of fat while still maintaining (or even building) more muscle. Muscle is metabolically active and burns calories just by sitting still