What Is a Healthy Body Fat Percentage?

By on December 26, 2012

Healthy body fat percentageWhen you start on your weight loss journey, chances are that you focus in on the actual pounds lost. It’s an easy marker to look to, although it is one of the most aggravating forms. Your weight can fluctuate daily, and, depending on your body fat levels, you may or may not be making the kind of progress that you want.

Jeanie Lerche Davis of Medicine Net cautions against using even an accurately balanced bathroom scale to measure your weight loss. The best solution, instead, is to use tools which calculate your body fat percentage. The goal in weight loss is to lose fat, not muscle.

How to Measure Your Body Fat Percentage Levels

There are a variety of tools out there. Body fat measuring scales which use bioelectrical analysis send electrical currents through your body to determine the fat and muscle composition. Fat calipers that take measurements of the fat in certain key areas such as your triceps, neck, and hips are also more accurate than bathroom scales. Learning how to use these body fat percentage tools can be a challenge, however.

At this point though, going to a doctor is one of the most accurate methods for determining your actual body fat percentage. You can kill two birds with one stone so to speak by also getting checked out for additional health concerns. While the nutritional guidelines promoted here will work for all kinds of people with all manner of health issues, you may need to tweak the proportions of food you eat. For instance, if you struggle with diabetes, then you will want to increase consumption of vegetables that help regulate your blood sugar and reduce the risks such as kale and swiss chard. If you struggle with heart disease or high cholesterol, then you will want a higher proportion of food that cleanses the blood and the heart.

What Is Your Ideal Body Fat Percentage

The typical standard determining body fat percentage has been the BMI, the body mass index. This takes into account your height and weight and then gives you an approximation. Unfortunately, it does not take into account healthy muscle mass. Thus health professionals have started revamping the system to come up with other calculators that will give a closer approximation.

Because healthy body fat percentage is based on several factors, a specialized system is needed for accuracy. Calculators such as the one at Health Status take into account your gender, your measurements at various points, and your weight. Remember not to pull the measuring tape too tight. You won’t do yourself any favors if you cheat on it. The calculator will then show you how much your estimated body fat should be and the estimated body fat you should have based on your height and gender.

Monitoring Your Body Fat

It’s tempting to weigh yourself every day to monitor your weight gain or loss, and while this technique may have some benefits in terms of keeping yourself on track, it can also be discouraging since body weight fluctuates on a regular basis. Weight loss is not a constant stream of losing weight but rather an ongoing trend of weight loss. And while body fat percentages are more accurate, it is best to check once every two weeks or once a month.

Make sure to keep a journal or online record of your measurements and percentages. These will help you to see if the trend is continuing. If you must, you can do it once a week, but it’s best to do it on a monthly basis. Use the measuring techniques as a motivation to keep on track.

Continuing with healthy eating and a good physical fitness program is good. Particularly when you find one that actually targets fat loss rather than mere weight loss. Mike Geary’s Truth About Abs goes a long way in providing the tools and steps you need to make it. So get started carving off the fat and don’t worry so much about the pounds.


Janie Lerche Davis, “Bathroom Scales Don’t Tell the Whole Story,” Medicine Net, http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=56830 (2012).

“The Body Fat Calculator,” Health Status: How Is Your Health, http://www.healthstatus.com/calculate/body-fat-percentage-calculator (2012).

Mike Geary, Truth About Abs, http://www.truthaboutabs.com/testimonials.html (2012).

About JessicaBFry

Jessica B. Fry has had a passion for writing and health since she was a child. In college, she studied Writing and Pre-Law as a double major before she went on to Regent University to obtain her J.D. She now practices law and works as a freelance writer in rural Indiana where she enjoys being with beloved family, friends, and pets. In her spare time, she works on graphology, writes short stories, and practices knife throwing. She and her husband enjoy exploring Indiana and the surrounding states in their free time and hope to one day complete a trip through every single one.
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