In 2008, when I started off on my journey of becoming lighter, fitter and healthier, I was 10 stone 7, or 147lbs, with a body fat % of just under 30% – 43 lbs of my weight was fat.
My numbers probably don’t matter to you, they’re individual, to me. What did matter was that I knew I was overweight, and I’m glad I took a track of my body fat % as well as my weight.
My body fat % was ‘normal’ for a woman of my age (between 18-33%), but I wanted to be at the bottom of that scale.
Here’s the graph of my weight since June 2008. At first the weight fell off, through increased activity and watching what I ate better, around 1lb every fortnight for 6 months. And my body fat reduced to about 25%. 33lbs of body fat.
My weight stayed the same for a few years, until I began marathon training at the tail end of 2010. My activity took care of it, and my weight dropped to around 124lbs and down to about 18% body fat. Around 23lbs body fat.
Then I got a new set of scales. Clever withings wifi scales, which automatically or magically wifi your stats to your phone / app and all other apps it’s synced to. Very clever. Only problem was, the body fat measure was a bit odd.
Leave it on normal and my body fat came out around 25%. Put it on ‘athlete mode’ and it came out about 15%. I decided 15% is closer to what I am (around 18-20% body fat) than 25% so I started going with the athlete mode setting.
Since Christmas 2014
It’s all relative. So I started this year with a body fat of just under 15% (19lbs fat). And in the last two months, with increased activity, although my weight hasn’t changed much, but I’ve reduced my body fat % by 2.5%.
I’ve lost 3lbs body fat and increased my lean body mass by 3lbs. Maybe my brain got bigger? 😉 ha ha. Maybe not.
I haven’t really focused to much on a strict food intake (Mars bars a plenty oops), but it seems my body is responding to the activity (running and strength training). Imagine what it’d be like if I ate really well?!
Anyway, the reason I’ve written all of this is that I don’t think the weight on the scale matters as much as body fat %. If you’re trying to lose weight, maybe you’d be better off aiming to lose body fat instead?
My scales are probably out a bit (old set vs new set) but in 7 years I’ve reduced my body fat from 43lbs (or almost a third of me) to 16lbs (around 12% of me). I’ve maybe lost around 27lbs / 2 stone / 12kg of fat. That’s like a small fat baby, or a small fat toddler, right? :-O
My lean body mass started off at around 103lbs and now it’s up to 113lbs. 10lbs of more lean body mass! Now, I wonder if I can get my body fat to 10.8% (resulting in a weight of 124lbs (again) by June?.)
I guess I don’t really have weight to lose any more, and if I’m honest, I’m not really trying, but it is interesting to see how little changes (more activity, and different eating habits) can change my body composition (and my weight) over time.
Maybe I should try? Try in March and April and May to really be fit and healthy and fuel my body with good stuff? See what happens? Quit the daily Mars bars and snickers?? Eeek!!
The scale and numbers just give me a clear story of what’s happening (and what’s working or not working). Weighing in once a day, my readings become simply an outcome of my actions. (It seems I can hardly the daily Mars bars if I exercise enough).
Now. Maybe the scale isn’t your friend? Maybe you dread standing on it. The numbers on it define your mood? And sometimes it depresses you. You can never seem to reach that low number?
Waist to height ratio?
Well then don’t stand on it. Use body measurements instead. Some people use their trousers getting looser, but that doesn’t give you a pretty graph.
Maybe waist to height ratio is a better measure? https://lornpearsontrains.co.uk/healthy-living/waist-to-height-ratio/
Simply measure your waist and divide by your height. Aim for 49% for ‘normal’. No scales, no %, just a tape measure, once a month. Easy peasy.
No matter what you use to measure your progress, I think it’s good to use something so that you know if the effort you’re putting in is working.
You might be being more careful with what you’re eating, only eating when you’re hungry, or making the effort to drink lots of water each day. Or you might be training each day.
Measurements give you feedback to let you know if you you’re doing is working (or not). And who cares if the measurements are higher than they used to be, or higher than someone else’s? They’re you’re measurements as you are now. A starting point for you to improve upon (wherever you start from)
You too could make a graph just like mine below (using weight, body fat or waist measurements):
Little changes, bit by bit can lead to big changes in the long run.