The Numbers Game

One of the biggest questions we ask ourselves before we begin a new fitness/diet regimen is “How much do I want to lose?” or we tell ourselves “I want to get down to XXX lbs.” But the first thing we should be asking ourselves is “What’s the right weight for me?”

One of the most useful things you can do is to determine your ideal weight and your body fat percentage. The most accurate way to find out your body fat at home is to use a calipers, like the Accumeasure, and do a 7-site body fat test.  You will need someone to help you with this, because the measurements include your shoulder blade and your lower back.

I can’t find my Accumeasure-I swear it was RIGHT there-so I used a fabric tape measure to take some measurements.  Generally, you need your height, weight, waist, and if you’re a woman, your hips.  I tested a few body fat claculators online and my results widely varied from 29% (yeah, right!) to 67% (eek!).  I decided to use the one from since it is closest to my Tanita scale results.  Healthy Forms gave me a lovely 46% body fat.

So now what?  I got these numbers already confirming what I already know-He-llo! I’m fat!  BUT-knowing my body fat percentage gives me a better idea of much weight loss is realistic.  Look at this chart from below:

Body Fat Percentage Categories
Classification Women (% fat) Men (% fat)
Essential Fat 10-12% 2-4%
Athletes 14-20% 6-13%
Fitness 21-24% 14-17%
Acceptable 25-31% 18-25%
Obese 32%+ 25%+

Using this chart, I can see which category I’d like to fit into-which is “Fitness”-or between 21%-24% Body Fat.  based on the information I posted above, I can surely say yeah, I want to lose 80 lbs.  But I don’t want to just lose 80 lbs of my total body weight-I want to lose 80 lbs of FAT.  And how do I do that? and how much do I need to eat? and how can I figure out what my Lean Body Mass is?So I found this:, which gave me:

BF calculation

Now, I know my Lean Body Mass is 120, and my goal weight should be about 150 at 20% Body Fat.

I’ve also found out estimates for my Basal Metabolic Rate, my total daily calorie burn, and how many calories I need to lose weight.    Like I said, these are estimates-everybody’s different.  I know that a 30 minute session of TurboFire torches about 700 calories for me.  It may be more for some people, or less.

Use these tools for basic information and as a starting point, not the be-all-end-all.  Weight loss is not a “One size fits all” kind of deal.