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  1. #1
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    Reducing Body Fat percentage?

    My Mum got a fancy electronic bathroom scale for her birthday (don't ask), and it has a body fat analiser. It turns out my body fat is like 47%, which I'm pretty sure is not good. I'm 20, I weigh about 240 and I'm 5 10, but I wouldn't describe myself as fat, just a bit 'rotund'

    What's the best way to go about reducing body fat? Is it as simple as eat less fat and do more exercise? What is a good percentage for my numbers?

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    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonny B
    My Mum got a fancy electronic bathroom scale for her birthday (don't ask), and it has a body fat analiser. It turns out my body fat is like 47%, which I'm pretty sure is not good. I'm 20, I weigh about 240 and I'm 5 10, but I wouldn't describe myself as fat, just a bit 'rotund'

    What's the best way to go about reducing body fat? Is it as simple as eat less fat and do more exercise? What is a good percentage for my numbers?
    If you have the same scales as we have, there should be a booklet that tells you the % Just in case Mum threw it away so she can carry on feeding you all that home baked stuff, High for a male at 40+ is 28% The ideal should be at around 22% but for an athlete should be below 20.

    See the thread about the Atkins Alternatives and do the excellent 250 diet
    Last edited by stapfam; 04-05-04 at 03:05 PM.

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    Climb on my trusty steed BeTheChange's Avatar
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    In america the average male is about 25% body fat (or is what I've read). Women are up more around 30% because they need that extra fat for having children. I think healthy is 20% or below for men, and I'm not sure for women, probably 25%. When you get down to about 4-6% body fat you have problems with not having enough stores of fat and you may burn muscle periodically durring workouts. Also women can mess up their menstral cycle by having an extremely low body fat %.

    As for loosing body fat, it's a simple equation. All you have to do is use more callories than you take in.

    A few tricks are to not drink any soft-drinks or juices. These have a lot of calories and usually don't have much nutritional value.

    Also drink lots of water. The reason being that when you are dehidrated and doing cardiovascular work your body can't access your fat stores very well (if you've ever mixed water and oil you realize they make layers, that is because fat and water hate each other and don't mix). So when you are dehydrated and depleated of your carbohydrate stores, your body brakes down your muscles to get the energy it needs. So the bottom line is DRINK LOTS OF WATER.

    There are plenty of good books out there. Fad diets aren't a good idea and usually are unhealthy in a long term basis.

    Keep ridin'

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    A follow up to his pop and sweets thing: DO NOT consume empty calories. This includes just about any snack food. Also, try to limit simple sugars, like white bread(eat whole wheat), pasta(unless you are going to use the carbs), definatly donuts, candy, bubble gum, potato chips, etc. If you do it right, like i feel that i did, you will get nasty stomach aches after eating these foods. I can no longer stomach pop, candy, grease, anything.

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    Thanks, that's really useful. Now all I have to do is not eat all those yummy foods I've grown up with, like chocolate. Oh, sweet, sweet chocolate

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    2-Cyl, 1/2 HP @ 90 RPM slvoid's Avatar
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    I'd worry more about being 'rotund' in shape, that just isn't normal.

    Hehe. Aside from that, try giving up obviously things that have a lot of saturated fats in them and also empty calories like sugar, too much carbs too. Sensible meals. Try eating one piece of fruit like an apple, peach, pear, banana, or orange or a small salad of greens with very light dressing before the main course and drink plenty of water.

    I find if you go out to eat, even home cooking, a lot of portions are sized 2-3x too big.

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    XtraSuperPlatinumMember spexy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonny B
    Thanks, that's really useful. Now all I have to do is not eat all those yummy foods I've grown up with, like chocolate. Oh, sweet, sweet chocolate
    Dear boy, you do not have to live without chocolate! It has good stuff in it (antioxidants or something scientific like that). Just try to wean yourself off the milk chocolate and eat the high quality dark or bittersweet kind. I eat a lump of 70% cacao Sharfenberger every other day and I'm in the best shape of my life.

    It's the milk fat in many chocolate bars and high sugar content that make them a no-no.

  8. #8
    SSP
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    No offense, but at 5' 10", and 240 pounds, you are not "a bit rotund"...you are fat. Technically speaking, you are Obese...your Body Mass Index is 34.4, well above the cutoff for "Obese". At that weight, you are at increased risk for a variety of disorders (high blood pressure, stroke, cardiovascular disease, cancer, etc.).

    Based on US averages, for your height, gender, and age, you are in the 98th percentile for weight (meaning that you are heavier than 98% of 5' 10", 20 year old males).

    re:
    "Is it as simple as eat less fat and do more exercise?"

    Yes, more or less. Exercise can help lose weight, but eating less (especially fats and carbs) is the real key. Most people find it difficult to exercise enough to trigger significant weight loss and find that cutting back on food is the most efficient way.

    re: chocolate
    It sounds like this may be one of your "problem foods". I love chocolate too, and have a hard time living without it. But, it is a true "substance abuse issue" for me, so I carefully limit it. I reward myself with one small bit of chocolate on days when I've ridden my bike, and one bag of cookies per month. Taking control of "problem foods" without giving them up completely seems to have worked for me...YMMV.
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    Pat
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    Well 47% body fat is really high and dangerously so. Those scales use an electric current and their estimates are not good.

    For males 4% is about as low as can be achieved. Fit, lean atheletes are about 10%.

    The way to lose body fat is to get serious about your diet especially the fats you consume and do aerobic exercise.

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    Senior Member RacerX's Avatar
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    Well you can be fit and healthy with much higher fat % than 10%.

    In fact, when my body fat drops below 8% I find it very easy to get sick.

    As for chocolate, I eat true chocolate all the time (71% cacao or higher). There's nothing wrong with it and it is pretty decent for you. American chocolate (if you can even call it that) sucks and will kill you.

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    SSP, while technicaly I probably am obese, I don't 'look' fat (well, I don't think so anyway). OK I have a big gut, and I'm certainly not skinny, but I'm not fat like Preston Lacey is fat (the fat one from Jackass), or the guitarist from Bowling For Soup. I have a lot of muscle mass too.

    Anyway, I've been thinking about getting a turbotrainer, since the weather is so abominable at the moment.

  12. #12
    Senior Member digger's Avatar
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    My wife had started with Weight Watchers in June of 2003. So far she has lost 73 pounds! Great success! and she feels much better!

    SHe follows the weight watchers points program to a 'T'.

    But get this - she does VERY little exercise. Maybe 30 minutes once per week. Now I feel she should exercise more as losing the weight may mean alot of muscle mass too.

    Well, she tried exercise 4 times per week, and gained weight during the 2 weeks that she tried. She stopped exercise and the weight started to drop off. Ever since, she watches her diet, follows the plan but exercises very little.
    I still say she should exercise more, but she refuses as she now has a routine for her body and knows what her body is capable of.

    I have learned some surprising things about how the body works by watching my wife go through this. Exercising more may cause you to GAIN more weight IF you don't eat enough. If you don't have enough grub in ya, your body will start to shut down and store it, as your body will 'think' that its starving.

    So, if you exercise make sure you eat enough, but not too much.

    Plus, drink water, if my wife doesn't drink enough water in the week, she will gain.

    You also cannot starve yourself to loose weight. Oh sure, you WILL loose...for awhile, until your body adjusts and you start to gain again, so you cut back more....see the cycle? Bet you won't be happy and I bet you WILL be sick.

    Ya know, all of these weight loose plans you read about in magazines are just nonsense. It all comes back to eating right, MODERATE exercise = healthy lifestyle.

    Everyone is differant. Some people can eat more others have to eat less or they gain weight. You have to find out what works and for you alone.

    You don't need to exercise, as much as you may think, to LOOSE weight, you have to cut back on what your calorie intake is.

    Now, having said that once you loose weight, then you need to exercise to maintain it. Your body has to move, but it also needs food, and good food at that.

    I still firmly believe my wife needs to exercise more (she hates exercise) but for now we are concentrating getting her down to a weight that she feels better at (another 30 pounds) THEN we will get her into doing something like weights, walking more, etc.

    Digger
    Originally posted by Bones_McBones: Wow Digger, wow! You've earned my respect.... I know ashoposo got werked up. You are the gutter pig of Trollheim.

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    digger, first off congrats to your wife for loosing so much. My Mum is on WW too, she's doing pretty well (I really should try and stick to it too).

    Granted your comments on not exercising are probably true, but I don't want to loose weight as such, but loose body fat. I also want to get fitter, so I can ride more than ten miles without dying. I realise by exercising more I will gain muscle mass, and maybe weight, but that's ok. I'm ok with my weight, it's the fat that bothers me

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    eat good healthy foods, and ride as often as you can. Recover well, and push yourself.
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    Senior Member digger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonny B
    digger, first off congrats to your wife for loosing so much. My Mum is on WW too, she's doing pretty well (I really should try and stick to it too).

    Granted your comments on not exercising are probably true, but I don't want to loose weight as such, but loose body fat. I also want to get fitter, so I can ride more than ten miles without dying. I realise by exercising more I will gain muscle mass, and maybe weight, but that's ok. I'm ok with my weight, it's the fat that bothers me

    Well yeah of course yer right. By weight i mean fat, sure. Exercise will replace fat with muscle, but she is focusing on the numbers on the scale.
    Originally posted by Bones_McBones: Wow Digger, wow! You've earned my respect.... I know ashoposo got werked up. You are the gutter pig of Trollheim.

  16. #16
    Life is good RonH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonny B
    My Mum got a fancy electronic bathroom scale for her birthday (don't ask), and it has a body fat analiser. It turns out my body fat is like 47%, which I'm pretty sure is not good. I'm 20, I weigh about 240 and I'm 5 10, but I wouldn't describe myself as fat, just a bit 'rotund'
    Most electronic scales are programmed for gender and height.
    On my scale on "my setting" (male, 6'-0") it indicates 19% body fat.
    If I use my wife's setting (female, 5'-2") it indicates 43% body fat.

    Did you program the scale for your gender and weight?

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    Senior Member JasBike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SSP
    No offense, but at 5' 10", and 240 pounds, you are not "a bit rotund"...you are fat. Technically speaking, you are Obese...your Body Mass Index is 34.4, well above the cutoff for "Obese". At that weight, you are at increased risk for a variety of disorders (high blood pressure, stroke, cardiovascular disease, cancer, etc.).


    Just thought I'd make a quick interjection:


    You have to take in how much muscle is on a person. Those BMI things are based on averages.

    For example. I'm 5'6". I weigh about 205 pounds. According to BMI, I'm in the 30s I think.

    However, I only have about 13% body fat. Obese? no.


    So he may not be very "fat." Just keep that in consideration.

  18. #18
    cycle-powered nathank's Avatar
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    i think the fat scales are not all that accurate, so your reading of 47% may only be 35% or whatever, but for only 20 years old, that's not good...

    i've always been on the opposite side of the spectrum - i was underweight in a big way until age 20 (graduated high school at 6'0 and 135lbs)... i'm 33 now and a semi-pro cyclist and during competion i'm about 6% body fat at 165lbs and 6'1". in winter about 9-10% (but i weight train and cycle on average 6 days a week, year round)

    it's good that you recognize a problem and want to do something about it, but just be careful there are so many diets and "sure plans" and whatnot... sure maybe some of these can help for motivation of helping you get started (to me the Atkins seems like a bad idea), but basically it all boils down to just a few things:
    1) exercise - at least 30 minutes 3 times a week
    2) take in fewer calories than you burn
    3) from the calories you eat, get as many vitamins and good stuff as possible and as few "empty calories" as possible (like candy or cake or donuts or cola or mcdonalds) -- learn to think about what you're eating and learn to eat healthy. after a while your body will "learn" and there will always be a few exceptions like say chocolate but the majority of the "unhealthy" foods you will no longer crave -- my diet used to consist almost entirely of fast food and soda and now have to be in the right "mood" or i almost feel sick if i eat fast food or a juicy steak or lots of sweets...
    4) in addition to aerobic exercise, also consider doing weight training as the more muscle you have the more calories you burn (all the time, even when sleeping) from an increased base metabolic rate, so the more you can eat.
    5) don't just do these things for a specific time but for a LIFETIME -- incorporate exercise and eating healthy into your daily lifestyle - otherwise some day you will quite the diet or get busy and stressed at work/school and stop exercising and start eating crappy...

    there are many people who just love to eat and these people have 3 choices:
    1) be fat
    2) give up there passion and eat almost nothing - this usually results in relapses
    3) do exercise and raise metabolism so they burn all the calories they love to eat

    i think option 3 makes the most sense, but you have to learn to love working out and make it a lifestyle...

    but at 20 you can change your life a LOT more easily than if you continue and then need to change at 35 or 40 b/c of health problems. good luck and try cycling - it is great exercise, very healthy AND so much fun!
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  19. #19
    Weebles wobble...
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    Here's a link to a calculator that provides an alternative method of measuring body fat:

    http://www.he.net/%7Ezone/prothd2.html

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    Climb on my trusty steed BeTheChange's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by digger
    My wife had started with Weight Watchers in June of 2003. So far she has lost 73 pounds! Great success! and she feels much better!

    Well, she tried exercise 4 times per week, and gained weight during the 2 weeks that she tried. She stopped exercise and the weight started to drop off. Ever since, she watches her diet, follows the plan but exercises very little.
    I still say she should exercise more, but she refuses as she now has a routine for her body and knows what her body is capable of.

    I have learned some surprising things about how the body works by watching my wife go through this. Exercising more may cause you to GAIN more weight IF you don't eat enough. If you don't have enough grub in ya, your body will start to shut down and store it, as your body will 'think' that its starving.

    Digger
    What happens when your wife is gaining weight when she starts working out happens to most women. It happens to men also, but by a much smaller amount. Pretty much your wife is putting on muscle which will burn up more fat, so she will weigh more, but be in better shape and healthier. Just a heads up. Take it easy.
    "You must be the change you want to see in the world."
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by RacerX
    As for chocolate, I eat true chocolate all the time (71% cacao or higher). There's nothing wrong with it and it is pretty decent for you. American chocolate (if you can even call it that) sucks and will kill you.
    As it is for Tubulars it is for Chocolate, NEVER BUY CHEAP CHOCOLATE.
    most US chocolate sucks. Milk chocolate almost sucks.
    I like Scharfenberger 72%,
    Higher than 80% is a bit too bitter for my tastes.

    Marty
    Last edited by lotek; 04-09-04 at 09:19 AM. Reason: edited for spelling
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  22. #22
    cycle-powered nathank's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by digger
    My wife had started with Weight Watchers in June of 2003. So far she has lost 73 pounds! Great success! and she feels much better!

    Well, she tried exercise 4 times per week, and gained weight during the 2 weeks that she tried. She stopped exercise and the weight started to drop off. Ever since, she watches her diet, follows the plan but exercises very little.
    I still say she should exercise more, but she refuses as she now has a routine for her body and knows what her body is capable of.

    I have learned some surprising things about how the body works by watching my wife go through this. Exercising more may cause you to GAIN more weight IF you don't eat enough. If you don't have enough grub in ya, your body will start to shut down and store it, as your body will 'think' that its starving.

    Digger
    i pretty much agree with AgreeTheChange.

    while it is possible the body will react and go into "panic" mode and start storing extra fat because it fears a shortage, i think this happens more frequently from simply eating way too little than to exercising. obviously you shouldn't be literally starving yourself if you are exercising. you need to make sure to get the minimum vitamins and nutrients your body needs.

    and AgreeTheChange is exactly correct about the weight/muscle. it is VERY common to not loose weight or actually gain weight when starting to exercise, particularly weight-lifting. BUT this is usually a GOOD and HEALTHY change as the body is simply replacing fat with muscle, so the person is a) healthier with less fat and more muscle and b) LOOKS better as muscle has form and c) has a raised base metabolism so can eat more calories in the future w/o gaining more weight. even though most women are afraid of "bulking-up" this is very difficult or virtually impossible for most women even with major training and toned muscles be it legs or stomach or arms simply look better with more form. for the most part the genetics determine -- e.g. if the person has stick-legs (either skinny legs or skinny legs with lots of fat) or more sizable legs (either muscular shapely legs or simply very fat legs)...

    using the scale as your only guide to "loosing weight" to improve health/appaearance is a bad idea. if you really have to have a measurement to go by, use your stomach width or better yet have your body-fat percentage measured in a fitness studio every few weeks.
    why drive when you can ride?
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  23. #23
    Senior Member RacerX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JasBike
    For example. I'm 5'6". I weigh about 205 pounds. According to BMI, I'm in the 30s I think.
    5'6" tall or wide? Daaamn you're fat!

  24. #24
    Senior Member digger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nathank
    i pretty much agree with AgreeTheChange.

    while it is possible the body will react and go into "panic" mode and start storing extra fat because it fears a shortage, i think this happens more frequently from simply eating way too little than to exercising. obviously you shouldn't be literally starving yourself if you are exercising. you need to make sure to get the minimum vitamins and nutrients your body needs.
    .
    Well, that's it. Me missus was trying to accelerate the process by exercising and eating her base requirement of points. Weight Watchers (WW) states that you must eat within 4 points of what you burn off each day. For example, if you exercise enough to earn 10 points then you have to eat at least 6 of those points. If not, you body may actually start to put on fat.

    She wasn't doing that. But she learned (sorta) from her mistake as did I. So. she had stopped exercising, other than some light walking and working around the house outside, etc and ate only her allotment of points each day. It was working for her.

    She was loosing an avergae of 2.5 pounds per week! But now that has slowed down somewhat.

    So, now that it has slowed down, she is thinking that moderate exercise and weight lifting will help burn some fat and start to slowly shape hr body more. Just 3 weeks ago she started coming to the gym with me and lifting weights. She does about 20 minutes walking on the treadmill then about 1 hour of weights. She does not like cardo tho, but she is enjoying the weights....somewhat. The tranier has her doing high reps and low weight for fat burn.

    Now that she is doing that, she likes the idea of earning points so she can have more food. The weight loss has slowed down to an average of about 1 to 1.5 pounds per week, she's a little discouraged at that but I tell her it is coming off and that is best because it will be less likely to lose and her body can adjust.

    She is slowly coming around to the fact that if you exercise you CAN eat more food.

    She is paying attention to the scales but ALSO she is watching how her waistline is shrinking. Please keep in mind the poor girl was about 110 pounds overweight. So watching the scales for the first part of the weight loss gives her a sense of accomplishment as the weight was coming off her everywhere and there was little change in the wasitline.

    Now that she has about 30 pounds to go the 'weight loss' is less but she can notice more waistline shrinking than less numbers on the scales. This is evident in the fact that a new pair of jeans she bought 3 weeks ago is now a little bit too loose on her.

    So it is working, she just needs to accept exercise more. It''ll take time.


    Digger
    Originally posted by Bones_McBones: Wow Digger, wow! You've earned my respect.... I know ashoposo got werked up. You are the gutter pig of Trollheim.

  25. #25
    cycle-powered nathank's Avatar
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    hey digger,

    sounds like you guys are doing great... lifting and doing cardio and working on HEALTHY diet... plus not being a slave to the scale... just remember to MAKE IT A LIFESTYLE!!! if you go back to the old ways and quit going to the gym... 6-12 months later you could loose (gain) a lot.

    P.S. as relating to the Aktins diet i saw a study that showed that the majority of the weight lost in the first 1-3 weeks is WATER as the body reduces water in reaction to the high-protein diet. this of course really motivates the "weight-loss-wannabees" especially since they often don't have to reduce what they eat a whole lot (the Atkins seems like an unhealthy money-making hoax to me)
    why drive when you can ride?
    now a fully certified German MTB Guide! (DAV)

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