Body Fat %

As someone who has a love affair with my bathroom scales - and am now happy with my weight but my body fat is still up in the early 30's....any advice how to get this down??


  • Go vegan for a while! That shifts any trace of the fat that wont shift.
    If you do the Carol Vorderman Detox for life this is a very well rounded Vegan diet (with plenty of good recipes) and after the headaches of the first couple of days you will be able to carry on running. (I didnt run for the first 3 days as I wanted to *know* that was getting enough energy from the nuts and dried fruit)
  • No, don't go vegan and especially don't do celebrity fad diets. Eating disorders, both of them.

    If you're happy with your body weight, that's all that matters.

    Better still, ditch the body fat monitor. All you need is bathroom scales.
  • Being a vegan isnt an eating disorder. I believe it is called 'freedom of choice'
  • It is an eating disorder. So are celebrity fad diets.

    Yes, it is freedom of choice, in that you are entitled to choose for yourself. Nobody would deny that.

    But freedom of choice applies to everyone. If you choose to promote eating disorders, I can choose to warn people off.
  • I'm sure the vast majority of vegans are vegan for very sound reasons which I respect wholeheartedly - if I were to put my stomach where my sentiments about the welfare of farmed animals are, I'd become vegan rather than "ordinary" vegetarian because dairy farming is just as inhumane as meat farming (but this would bring a huge dilemma because arable farming involves the slaughter of millions of cute furry things and the destruction of habitats, so how far do you go?). However, it's also true that many people with eating disorders will at some time declare themselves vegan as a way of having a socially acceptable excuse to exclude huge swathes of food groups from their diets. Although spurious celebrity food allergies seem to have overtaken that trend. Of Carol Vorderman I have nothing good to say so I will say nothing at all.

    However, this topic is hijacking a thread which started with a very reasonable question. Let's get back to the point. Karen, what do you do in the way of exercise, what do you see when you look in the mirror, and how are you measuring your body fat?
  • Hello V-rap

    Thought you might turn up on this thread before long! You're right, I'll knock off the vegan-bashing and go and enjoy a bacon butty. Before I do, I'll say that I used to live with the type of person you describe and I think there is too much obsessing about body fat.

    I think that if Karen is happy with her weight, does some exercise and eats normally, she need not worry.

    Right, I'm off this thread. Bye!
  • Karen
    isn't there a contradiction in being happy with your weight and being in love with bzathroom scales?
    Personally I think scales cause more misery (almost) than religion, scales tell you very little about changes in your weight (in the short term) what they do show is relative changes to your hydration - of vital importance to benz and me but a big red herring to the rest of you.
  • Love affairs do cause misery, RK.

    And obsession.

  • What is wrong with wanting to reduce your percentage body fat?
  • try looking at the this uses a diet(or not) which is not a celeb fad diet. It has been used sussefully but many people inluding me and bodybuilders for the past 30 ys or so. If you follow the induction for two weeks you will lose body fat and still ahve plenty of energy to run. I started it at 15 1/2st and know weight 14 1/2 in 2.5 weeks feel fine. I ran swam and worked 12 h shifts. Try reading the scientific basis of the diet to give your self an understanding of what is happening to your body whilst using this method therfore you will appriciate the way you need to eat.
  • Oh no, not the Atkins Diet again.

    Do a search on the forum for Atkins Diet to find out what its really about. Even better, ask Jon ...

    This time, I really am off this thread.

  • Hi Karen,

    I'm in the same boat. I have come to accept my need to weigh my self and look at my fat %. There's no harm in either if you don't go mad trying to lose weight.

    The only thing I can suggest is that now you are slimmer every pound you lose will have a bigger effect on your fat percentage.

    Lose a little more weight by eating sensibly and keep running and it will reduce.

    If you get below 30% drop me a line.


    (34% and falling )
  • It doesn't matter what diet you choose to follow (and Atkins is as unbalanced as the rest of them - if that guy was a Brit the GMC would sort him out good and proper), if you lose weight and don't do the right sort of physical training you'll just go from being a fat lump to being a thin lump. Especially if you've a history of yo-yo dieting, in which case your brain thinks you encounter regular periods of famine and becomes very good at conserving fat and switching into energy-saving mode the minute you cut your food down. It's so easy to persuade you to stop all those little incidental fidgetty movements which contribute to your basal metabolic rate without you even noticing.

    Running and other aerobic exercise certainly helps to shift body fat. So does resistance training. A combination of regular running (or swimming, or cycling, or using the aerobic training machines in the gym) with a couple of sessions of weight training a week should reduce body fat very effectively. If it's really stubborn, weekly long runs are good fat-burners.

    All accessible devices for measuring body fat are quite inaccurate - Tanita scales can be out by 5-10% and the hand-held thingies are even worse. Especially when used by athletes!

    Remember, too, that a body fat of up to 35% is NORMAL for a woman, and below 20% is TOO LOW.

    Cheers, V-rap (23% body fat on hand-held monitor, omnivorous eating habits, 20-30 miles of running or "running equivalents", and two one-hour endurance weights sessions a week).
  • I ma with Muttley on the fad diets thing, however I don't think being on a vegan diet is faddy unless you are only on it to lose weight. Fad diets are unrealistic when it comes long term goals and are far too restrictive. Anyway, the best way to measure body fat is with calipers. However, I say, ditch the scales (we can become obsessed with them) and eat healthily alongside doing some form of CV exercise 3-5 times per week for a minimum of 30 minutes.
    I became obsessed by the scales and am much happier now that I've dumped them.
  • Karen - Hi. Just over 2 yrs ago, my body fat was 40% and I was 10.5 stone. A bit hefty for me at 5ft 3in. So, I increased my activity - initially swimming and gymming. That started to have an effect within a few months. Then a Personal Trainer got me into running, and I found that accelerated my weight loss, and more importantly, my fat loss. I also bought Patrick Holford's book 'The Fat Burning Diet', which I found a bit extreme, but never the less adopted the main principles ie. balanced diet, lots of fruit, veg, seeds, nuts, wholefoods, the right type of fats, not too much caffeine/alcohol. Now my body fat is 23%, and I'm 9 stone. I agree with others that it is difficult not to get obsessed about it, and I do try not to. I tend to try and go by how tight/loose my clothes are, but can't resist the scales every now and again. And I still hate that sinking feeling you get when you have put any weight on. I had an injury-induced lay off from running of about 2 months, and was distraught to have put on 4 lb. Silly isn't it? I just have to remind myself what I've achieved, and how much fitter I am, and how nice it is to be in size 8/10 trousers - sod the odd lb or two!! (besides, that might be muscle I've put on??) NB
  • My boyfriend bought a set of those body fat monitor scales on Saturday and we both weighed ourselves.

    He has to wet his feet otherwise he gets a strange reading or no reading at all. First time he stepped on it said 44%! But after moistening his feet it was 26%.

    Mine was 23% Saturday night and 25% Sunday morning. So that meal Saturday night was too fattening!
  • NB, just read your post and well done to you!

    I was 4 stone overweight five years ago. I went from 13st to 9st and I'm 5'5" in a year after adopting a healthy balanced diet and getting off my backside and exercising 3-4 times a week.

    I'd be curious to know what my fat % was back then!
  • hi, i also monitor my fat % but have found it very difficult to shift from its 31%. Magazines say women should be about 25% fat. I do find that running helps to bring it down, lowest was 28% but you really have to work at it.

    Im trying to go to the gym and use the cross trainer with my heart rate monitor and spend 30 mins in the fat burning zone. Ill let you know how I get on

    ps the best time to measure is in the afternoon before you eat your dinner, about 4ish..

    Im also with everyone re the atkins. apparantly gives you bad breath and headaches.. loverly.

    however I disagree about the vegan being a fat diet. I too have toyed with giving up dairy but find it hard enough to eat out as it is..

    Good luck karen, let me know if you have any good results

  • I'm a prescatarian (spelling?), so I don't eat meat, poultry or game, but I do eat fish and dairy.
  • Does anyone know the ranges for a man...on my scales I am 21%. This seems high to me..having trained for Dublin marathon I foiund my weight went up and my body fat stayed the same.
  • Ian, Depends a bit on your age, and I know that men should be lower than woman. My 'ideal' range as a 45 yr old is between 22 and 32. As far as I know, men should be a bit lower, I believe somewhere in the region 14 and 25 depending on whether you would class yourself as an 'athlete' or not!
    Sounds like you are ok to me! NB
  • ian you look great in your picture!
  • Mmmm, I had 26.19 miles below me at that point...the grimacing was just to look the part.
  • Male Body fat % guide

    Age 20 – 39
    Under = 0 to 8
    Good = 8 to 20
    Over = 20 to 25
    Obese = 25+

    Age 40 – 59
    Under = 0 to 11
    Good = 11 to 22
    Over = 22 to 28
    Obese = 28+

    Age 60+
    Under = 0 to 13
    Good = 13 to 25
    Over = 25 to 30
    Obese = 30+

    Based on NIH/WHO BMI Guidelines
  • well your looking better than me and you beat me by an hour but I would agree one might hope for a lower figure if one had put in the training.

    I'm 23.5 on the scales and am visibly carrying a few xs pounds.

    To get down to 21% I'd only have to loose 3kg but I still wouldnt be exactly sylph like.
  • I'd allow 10-25% for a man.
  • I seem to average anywhere from 19% up to 21% but would like to achive 17.5% before Ironman next year
  • Anything under 30% nicely in the middle of normal.
  • I saw those WHO guidelines too. Why does it go up as your age goes up? Is that just because people tend to lose muscle as they get older - in which case is that just a guide as to what is normal rather than an ideal. I mean is there any reason why a 50 year old man should have more fat than a 20 year old?

    I mean at the moment I could be smack in the middle of the good group at 13% but if I maintain the same level until I am 60 that wil suddenly be counted as being unhealthily lacking in fat.

  • All I can think of is lubrication :o)
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