I have been quite happy with the Tanita BF680W Body Fat Monitor and weight scale I bought for myself for Christmas. I purchased the scale in the hope that it would give me a better idea if I’m having success in reducing my body fat. On the one hand it is quite obvious when I have lost or gained weight. The way my clothes fit is a daily reminder. However, as I have pointed out before body weight can shift rapidly with changes in water weight. (Water, Weight, and Women) So just tracking changes in total body weight and how my clothes fit doesn’t give me enough information. The Tanita scale provides more data.
My challenge is to lose a little more belly fat. I manage to get it down but if I put on even a pound or two, wham! There is goes right back to the lower belly. Ah yes, the joys of being post-menopausal. So I am actually more interested in reducing body fat than I am concerned about my total body weight.
Your struggle with body fat may or may not be the same as mine. Maybe you find the fat going to your hips or thighs. In the end result what matters is having a way to track body fat losses no matter where that body fat might be. It would be nice if we could spot reduce but it just doesn’t work that way. So to take off body fat from the part of the body you want to change you have to reduce total body fat.
What has become increasingly clear about using the Tanita scale is that weighing myself under similar circumstances each time is very important. Most of all I need to track my body fat when I have the SAME body water percentage. If this value is within a rather small range then the body fat percentage feature is revealing and helpful. As my body water percentage goes outside the range in either direction, the body fat percentage bounces around significantly making the information rather worthless.
My suggestion for you if you are using or thinking of purchasing a body fat scale is to figure out how you might come up with a routine for being as consistent as possible when weighing yourself. Choose a time of day when you have some control over maintaining a similar level of hydration. This may seem complicated but it isn’t rocket science.
First of all, I do my best to drink a similar amount of beverages each day to stay well hydrated. In my article Water Wisdom! I cover how you can tell if you are getting enough water each day. When I wake up each morning I’ve made it a habit to drink a couple of cups of water. It might be plain water or it might be tea. What matters is getting re-hydrated after having water loss through evaporation while sleeping. Then I weigh myself after breakfast but before I shower. (If you want to see the lowest body weight on the scale I recommend weighing yourself before eating breakfast.)
If my body water percentage is within the right range I then check to see if my body fat level is trending down. I’m able to achieve a similar body water percentage most days but not always. I’m pleased to say that I seem to have lost at least a pound and a half of fat since Christmas. That reinforces what I have noticed with the fit of my clothing and what I see in the mirror. I’m pleased!
A pound and a half may not sound like a lot BUT if you have any doubt that it is significant just take out 4 sticks of butter or margarine from your refrigerator. That’s about a pound. Each pound matters! I’m a small person so I don’t need or want to lose a lot of weight overall. I actually need to be mindful of protecting my bones.
NOTE: Should you think weight loss or maintenance is easy for me because I am small (5′ 2″) think again. I can just about guarantee you that it is equally as difficult and likely more difficult for me than it is for you. (Older and/or smaller women have a slower metabolic rate than younger and/or heavier women.) That’s why I pay close attention to eating low calorie nutritious foods!
Image via Wikipedia
I became much more committed to doing what’s necessary to reduce body fat after reading Tom Venuto’s book Burn the Fat Feed the Muscle . It’s a classic for fat loss. Even as a Nutritionist I learned a lot from that book and I’m NOT a body builder! I have no interest in that sort of thing. But having a flat belly is nice. I guess one never gets too old to care about that! Tom realizes that most people are not interested in becoming body builders. That’s why he writes in a way that is understandable and relevant to just about anyone. However, taking the information he shares and making it work for you does take commitment.
Tom is now working on updating the Burn the Fat book (it’s an ebook or digital book) and, I believe, owners of the original copy will get a new version when the update is complete! In the meantime I am now reading his newest print book The Body Fat Solution. I think it is a great compliment to his ebook because it addresses the challenge of commitment and choice. (Read a review: Tom Venuto’s New Book) It seems to have been very well received. Evidently, Tom’s fat loss information is even mentioned in the March issue of Oprah Winfrey’s O Magazine! (Have not had a chance to see it.)
Another book I’ve read quite a bit about recently is The Instinct Diet: Use Your Five Food Instincts to Lose Weight and Keep it Off . I can’t wait to read this book! It’s written by Dr. Susan B. Roberts, a woman who is not only a professor of nutrition but also a professor of psychiatry. What a great combination! Dr. Roberts shares the very latest in research findings to help you understand what makes you eat what you eat and what you can do to change if you eat too much. Most importantly, she explains why your food habits are shaped around shared human instincts that are perfectly normal! I hope to write a review of this book soon.
Till next time, good luck with your fat loss efforts and remember to eat nutritious and low calorie food!