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  1. #1
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    How do you know what a good weight target is?

    For as long as I can remember I have been very overweight. When this process started, I was 260 pounds and 5 foot 9 inches.

    When asked, I would say I didn't know how much I needed to lose, but that I figured since I was changing my eating habits to a healthy well balanced diet, with just enough calories to lose between 1 and 2 pounds a week it would naturally stabilize at a good weight...

    At some point in the process I picked up one of those gadgets that measure body fat percentage (electrical contacts with the hands) and after a couple of weeks it seemed to indicate that I had a consistent lean body mass of 159 pounds. So I figured that I would "bottom" out at around 180-185 pounds, or about a 16% body fat... (I'm in my 40's)

    Well I had a doctors appointment earlier this week and towards the end I asked the doctor about this, telling him what I mentioned in the previous paragraph. He said, that 180 was probably still too high and that 170 was better...

    Assuming that the lean body mass stays constant, which I suspect it should since it has for a while (4 weeks +/-) and I have reached the amount of exercise that I can afford the time for each week (I ride about 6-7 hours per week), that would mean a body fat percentage of only 7%. From what I have read, that is pretty close to the percentage of a really athletic male (5%).

    What do you'll think? Is the doctor being reasonable in his estimate or just using a rule of thumb?

  2. #2
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Post a pic. That would help.

    6 ft 213 lbs.

    Do I need to lose more weight?

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  3. #3
    Senior Member retnav94's Avatar
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    I think your body will tell you . Everyone is different and I think the doc is most likely using a general rule based on his experience. The extra 10 lbs is not going to make a difference if your body works well and you are healthy.
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    Senior Member mustachiod's Avatar
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    i have no idea how to measure body fat. I think BMI is a good starting point, bit there are other factors to consider on an individual basis

    http://www.bmi-calculator.net/
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    Senior Member dbikingman's Avatar
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    I think we all pick a number we like the sound of below 200, what I weighed when ...., or some other goal. Some never reach their goal, but others find that they can go below their original goal. I'm not sure where your doctor comes up with 7% that seems low, but I'd like to be there. Hey, once you get to 180 you can decide if you want to go to 170 Have fun along the way.

  6. #6
    Watching and waiting. jethro56's Avatar
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    I've read that most people lose .3 lbs of lean muscle for each lb they lose. The same article said with exercise that could be reduced to .1 lbs. But hey it's the internet you can say whatever you like.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jethro56 View Post
    I've read that most people lose .3 lbs of lean muscle for each lb they lose. The same article said with exercise that could be reduced to .1 lbs. But hey it's the internet you can say whatever you like.
    I believe that is one of the reasons that doctors recommend that you limit your weight loss to 1-2 pounds per week. I believe if you do so, it is possible to not lose any muscle mass. That does seem to be confirmed by the body fat measuring device in my case, though that could be masked by the inherent inaccuracies in such a device.

    I have found that limiting my weight loss to 2 pounds a week has been pretty tough. If I simply eat enough to feel satisfied with my new food choices, I will lose between 3-5 pounds per week, something the doctor (and all the literature I've read) seems to think is pretty bad... I must admit it is really nice to never feel hunger or deprivation and still lose weight at a good clip...

    I fully intend (despite the doctors opinion) to let my body decide what the natural weight is for my current diet/lifestyle. Don't plan on trying to meet a goal, just because it is a goal. But I was surprised by the suggestion that equated to a 7% body fat, perhaps the doctor simply isn't good at doing math in his head...

  8. #8
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    I have looked at the BMI charts and gotten depressed. I'm 6' 3" and they want me to be @180. I am aiming for 205-210 range.

    My main goals are to keep my blood pressure in a healthy range without medication and my resting heart rate @60. Those numbers work for me. They say that I am keeping the C/V working.
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  9. #9
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    BMI is meant to help people who don't exercise get an idea of where they are and where they should be. Athletes can be close to 0% body fat and still post as obese on a BMI scale (which is BS).
    Your handheld body fat indicator should come in useful, but don't take the "lean body mass" figure to indicate how much muscle mass you have. That figure contains bone mineral mass, water mass, and other things as well. Take the fat percent measure and when it goes below 20%, you can be considered healthy. That may come when you weight 180lbs, 185, 200, or whatever. The total weight does not matter really because muscle mass plays a huge role in the total weight. So just use fat percentage as a measurement and you should be fine. And, as others have said, once you get there, you'll know.

  10. #10
    Starting over CraigB's Avatar
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    You didn't mention your gender, but I'll assume you're male because of the height and weight range you mentioned.

    Others are right that BMI is iffy, but it's still a good starting point, and possibly the only starting point available to most of us who don't have access to a bio-performance lab. The thing to understand with BMI is that it's always stated as a range, and you need to take your natural build into consideration when you're looking to find where in the range you should fall. You really don't need anything more technical than that at least for now.

    For example, in my case - I'm a 5'-10" male. The charts say my BMI should fall between 18.5 and 24.9. At my height, that's a range from 129 pounds to 174. My build is pretty broad - not the biggest, but definitely bigger than average, so I settled on 165 as my target weight. My doctor confirmed this as "probably" OK, as he agrees my build would put me toward the heavier end of the range (believe me, if I weighed 129, I'd look like I'd just been liberated from Buchenwald). As I get closer to that weight, I'll reserve the right to reconsider. I imagine I could find that the last 15 pounds might not want to come off without some extreme modifications in my lifestyle, in which case I may revise my goal. There's nothing wrong with that, as far as I'm concerned. My guess is that at 180, I will have gleaned well over 90% of the health benefits of getting to 165, and if I'm otherwise happy with where I am, I may go on maintenance at that point. We'll see. Some of that decision-making process will no doubt be affected by my activity level and what my muscle mass is at that point (or what I want it to be), and all of that will be taken into consideration. But right now, I don't need to concern myself with that level of detail.

    I guess my point is that starting out, the fact that BMI is a pretty broad range shouldn't be a deterrent to using it to help you select a goal weight. It's really as close as you need for now. But to use it effectively you need to have a bit of self-awareness when it comes to what kind of body you have hiding inside there. And if you don't have that self-awareness, your doctor should be able to help.
    Last edited by CraigB; 11-03-10 at 02:31 PM.
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  11. #11
    Senior Member EKW in DC's Avatar
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    I remember reading not too long ago on the Livestrong website that hip-to-waist ratio was a better measure than BMI. IIRC, the article claimed that the ratio seemed to have more correlation to actual health outcomes, etc., than BMI. Might be worth a Google search (I'd do it but don't have the time right now), especially since all it requires is a tape measure, and could therefore be measured outside a "bio-performance lab".

  12. #12
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by myrridin View Post

    At some point in the process I picked up one of those gadgets that measure body fat percentage (electrical contacts with the hands) and after a couple of weeks it seemed to indicate that I had a consistent lean body mass of 159 pounds. So I figured that I would "bottom" out at around 180-185 pounds, or about a 16% body fat... (I'm in my 40's)

    Well I had a doctors appointment earlier this week and towards the end I asked the doctor about this, telling him what I mentioned in the previous paragraph. He said, that 180 was probably still too high and that 170 was better...
    I'm with your doctor, and I mistrust your gadget. I'm 6'3" and when I was at my fittest I weighed 180-185. I don't know what my body fat percentage was at the time, but based on the degree of definition I had I'd estimate it at c. 15% - certainly nowhere near as low as 7%. At 5'9" a weight of 185 would give you a BMI of 27. Unless you're especially muscular it is unlikely that this would equate to a body fat percentage of 16.
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  13. #13
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    6'6"
    240 pounds
    17% bodyfat
    27.7 BMI
    Overweight, teetering towards Obese.


    Let's look at some "fat guys" in the pro ranks (where 7 bodyfat% is considered positively corpulent).

    Magnus Backstedt
    6'4"
    210 pounds
    25.6 BMI (overweight)


    Marc Cavendish (T-Mobile days)
    5'9"
    170-ish
    25.1 BMI (overweight)


    Thor Hushvold
    6' even
    180
    24.4 BMI (borderline overweight)
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  14. #14
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
    Do I need to lose more weight?
    Yeah, the cogset, looks to be about fitty pounds!

  15. #15
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    One thing I've never really seen discussed is that if you are consistently doing an exercise where the effort is related to your weight or size, then you should lose muscle as you lose fat- it's taking less muscle to tote the fat around. So I wouldn't bank on keeping all the muscle and losing the fat.

    I'm 6'-1-1/2", 224 lbs last time I checked. I don't know what my ideal weight is, but I haven't run out of blubbery places, either, so I figure I'm not there yet.
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  16. #16
    Rain, rain go away john423's Avatar
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    OK, here we go:

    BMI is by and large an insurance-company created joke. If you have any bit of muscle at all, your BMI will show you as obese when you're perfectly fine.
    The bodyfat percentage-measuring scales are a bigger joke. They don't work well. They're too dependent on hydration levels. You can get a ballpark figure of your bodyfat percentage with the same tape measure used to figure out your waist-to-hip ratio.

    Here's a pretty thorough tape measure bodyfat percentage calculator. Then you can figure out your target bodyweight.

    Let's say the calculator says you're at 22% bodyfat at 225. That means you've got 49.5 pounds of fat, 175.5 pounds of lean body mass.

    Let's say you wanna keep all that lean body mass but drop some fat. Let's say you wanna get down to 15 percent fat. Multiply LBM by 100, then divide that number by this number: 100- your goal bodyfat percentage.

    175.5*100=17550, divided by 100-15 percent =85. 17550/85= 206.5 pounds, your weight you have to hit to reach 15 percent bodyfat.

    Try figuring out your bodyfat with a tape measure. They're not the most accurate measurements in the world, but they do give you an idea.

  17. #17
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CliftonGK1 View Post
    6'6"
    240 pounds
    17% bodyfat
    27.7 BMI
    Overweight, teetering towards Obese.
    Not teetering towards obese, just about half-way up the overweight category

    Let's look at some "fat guys" in the pro ranks (where 7 bodyfat% is considered positively corpulent).
    I don't think that is true. The grand tours are too tough for most of the guys to risk going into them with very low body fat percentages, 7% would be regarded as about right.


    Marc Cavendish (T-Mobile days)
    5'9"
    170-ish
    25.1 BMI (overweight)
    Cavendish currently races at 150 lbs, not 170 lbs.

    BMI is not, as john423 has said, some sort of insurance company joke. Its shortcoming is that it started out as a population measure - in a given population, the prevalence of diabetes, heart disease, certain cancers will rise quite predictably as the number of people in the population with BMIs over 25 rises. (Actually, I believe that is true as the BMI moves from 20 to 25 too, but let that pass for a minute). So BMI is on average an excellent measurement for predicting public health problems. But the problem is, as always, that it is dangerous to extrapolate from the general to the particular. There are muscular individuals who are heavy, but not fat. So far, so good.

    In practice, however, these individuals are relatively uncommon. It is absolutely not true to say you cannot be muscular and have a low BMI. I've posted this picture before:



    The subject is 6'3" tall and at the time this picture was taken he weighed 175 lbs. His body fat percentage was probably in the region of 5%, admittedly, but he had a BMI of about 22. I don't think anyone could accuse him of being less than highly muscular.

    He was also, at the time, the World Champion at the 100 metres. I don't expect everyone to aspire to that level of fitness, but the way he looked, and the weight he was, illustrates that most of those who dismiss BMI on the grounds that it doesn't account for how muscular they are, are fooling themselves. They're just fatter than they want to admit. A surprising number of those who think of themselves as heavily built, or "bulky", are just carrying more fat than they realize. I've done that sort of thinking myself, it's understandable, but nobody is helped by encouraging self-deception.
    Last edited by chasm54; 11-04-10 at 02:43 AM.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    I don't expect everyone to aspire to that level of fitness, but the way he looked, and the weight he was, illustrates that most of those who dismiss BMI on the grounds that it doesn't account for how muscular they are, are fooling themselves. They're just fatter than they want to admit. A surprising number of those who think of themselves as heavily built, or "bulky", are just carrying more fat than they realize. I've done that sort of thinking myself, it's understandable, but nobody is helped by encouraging self-deception.
    I agree completely (myself included). I personally thus far in life have set my weight based on what i was focused on at that time. In college i played baseball at 205lbs (6'3") because it was the weight i had the best compromise between agility and strength. I also ate 900-1100 calories in the offseason to maintain this weight, and worked out 3 hours a day during training season. After college, i got involved in very competative slow pitch softball, where i was expected to be a bomber, so i put on mass (also changed how i lifted weights from high reps low weight to low reps, high weight), and went up to about 218

    Here is me at 218, i can spot where i carry my weight (hint: it's in the saddle bags)

    IMG_0010.JPG by adam_mac84, on Flickr

    IMG_0009.JPG by adam_mac84, on Flickr

    I am currently at 209 and falling. I know that i am losing muscle mass at the same time, but also realize that weighing less will require less strength to move me at a given pace/speed. I will probably get down to about 195 (hopefully), and see where i am at. I would bet that even though i may have lost some muscle mass, i will be faster than i was at 218.

    I also have based my weight on studies that show the lowest mortality rates for my size/build. Im selfish, i want to live long time


    Now i am on my way to <200, my family thinks i look too thin at this weight, but since i am getting involved in cycling and triathlons, i know this will benefit me more. Like so many people have said before, if you lose weight and get to a 'goal' it is still possible to see that you can lose more weight when you think you can't.

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    http://www.nutrim.net/central_adiposity.html

    This information is also quite informative, especially for us men. We tend to carry our weight in our abdomen, which is the more 'dangerous' type of fat to carry... it's sitting on internal organs, impairing respiration etc.

  20. #20
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    this thread should be stickied, it's excellent.

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