It is not unusual when someone is trying to lose weight to see that their weight on the scale is increasing and not decreasing as time goes on, despite the fact that they are eating properly, exercising, and doing all of the right things. What is often overlooked is that the weight on a scale consists of two items: (1) body fat (adipose tissue), and (2) fat-free weight (all of the body’s weight excluding fat – muscle, bones, blood, organs, etc.). Standard scales do not determine what one’s body fat percentage is – body fat percentage is the percentage of total body weight that is carried as fat.
In general, the body fat percentage of a fit individual should be the following: women (21%-24%) and men (14%-16%). Therefore, two men (or two women) could both weigh the same amount but have very different body fat percentages (muscle weighs more than fat).
A person’s body fat percentage can be tested quickly and easily using body fat calipers. These are the body fat calipers I use – they are inexpensive and easy to use. Your doctor or gym may be able to test your body fat percentage for you as well. Some scales do have a body fat percentage feature, but scales do not tend to be as accurate as using body fat calipers.
Some people use the Body Mass Index (BMI) as a way to measure their body fat; however, BMI is just a relationship between a person’s height and weight.