HOW HEALTHY ARE YOU REALLY? ARE YOU SKINNY FAT?
Most people focus on the scale exclusively without taking their body fat into consideration. There are many that are walking around that are skinny fat. They weigh what they should but their body fat is close to 30% of higher. I have had times where I worn a size 6, which many would consider small, but my body fat was around 30% which is unhealthy. To me it isnt about being thin, it is about being healthy.
High body fat is associated with diabetes, which can intern cause kidney issues, cancer, gall bladder issues, sexual dysfunction, blindness and heart disease. Also woman with high body fat have a higher incident of breast cancer and in men, colon cancer. High body fat for woman can lead to fertility issues, hormone imbalances and PCOS. High body fat leads to poor health.
SO WHAT IS A HEALTH BODY FAT?
Depending on your age, the average females under 40 should never go below 16-17%, and over 40 should never go below 17-18% and all ages should not be over 25%. For men, it is 6-12%. I know that there are people that go lower but this means cutting fat and carbs too low. Woman that go below 15% will loose their cycle, which is the bodies way of saying, you are stressing out the adrenal glands and you are not giving the body enough fat to make your hormones. I know that there are people that compete and their levels need to be lower. I am not a fan of competing because of all the damage I see, but if you choose to do that, try and keep it to 1 contest a year and be sure and bring your body fat into a healthy range after. I have found that many that compete all year soon end up with metabolic damage and this is not an easy fix and the road back is long.
WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO MEASURE BODY FAT?
There are different ways that you can measure body fat. The most accurate is Hydrostatic Weighing. This is where you are submerged in water and it is available at research labs, universities, or hospitals. Another one is called the Bod Pod. Another way is Skin Fold Caliper, but you want to make sure the same person is doing it and they are pinching in the same place and you want some one that is skilled at this. If you are more than 35 lbs. over weight this is not the most accurate. Bioelectric Impedance Analysis is another way you can test your body fat. Many have seen this with scales and hand held devices. It is important that when you do this that you do the same time each time, make sure you havent been exercising for 3 hrs and hydration levels can skew the results. When ever you are testing your body fat you always want to duplicate the same thing each time. As long as you are seeing the numbers go down, you know you are headed in the right direction.
BMI VS. BODY FAT%!
Body Mass Index (BMI) is a measure of weight in relation to height. It is a way to categorize someone as underweight, normal weight, overweight or obese. I think this is not the best way to measure people. I know people that carry a lot of muscle and based on BMI they are over weight, but have low body fat. I also know people that have a normal BMI but high body fat.
Body fat percentage is the weight of fat ONLY divided by total weight. They are 2 different things.
Maintaining a healthy body fat is important to your health and quality of life. Anytime your body fat is high you are at risk for some kind of health problem.