Body Weight Vs Body Fat

How much you weigh on the scales is directly correlated to your body fat correct?

No, you’re right it’s definitely not. We all know that when we jump on the scales we are weighing our whole body - our skeleton/ bones, organs, gut contents and body fluid just to name a few. These factors can be influenced daily and for a multitude of reasons - “time of the month” if you’re female, bowl motions in a day or even how much you’ve sweat compared to how much fluid you’ve consumed.

Scales are an all inclusive body weight representation, and fluctuations can be anywhere from a few grams to a couple of kilo’s throughout a 24hr period. Most of us will be lighter in the morning after excreting and heavier last thing at night. Depending on where you live globally will influence your scale weight - if you are closer the to equator you will be lighter, where as if you live at the poles you’ll weigh more - gravity right.

Body fat specifically refers to adipose tissue, the thing that our bodies turn excess, un-utilised energy into for survival and safety. It is an extremely intelligent way for our bodies to store energy, with 1 gram of fat containing 37kJ/ 9cals (compared to protein and carbohydrates that yield only 17kJ/ 4cals). The density of fat is a lot less then muscle - which is why you can see dramatic changes in people who have lost small amounts of ‘scale weight.’

Thus, as such, the term ‘weight loss’ is actually inaccurate for what most people are wanting to achieve. Anyone can lose 10kg easily simply by removing a leg, but most of us would agree that’s not realllllly optimal. Instead better terminology and one that we should utilise more often is: ‘Optimising Body Composition.’ Meaning, decreasing fat mass, while maintaining muscles mass and other important body parts.

When you are looking to optimise you body composition there are other measurements that you can use that will better reflect your specific goal of fat loss.

  1. Circumferences. Using an old school tape measure circumferences provide a great area specific metric to track fat loss. Usually measuring the bust, waist and hips is the most common.

  2. Your pant/ bra waist bands. A similar metric to the above, pant/ bra waist bands are really easy every day circumferences where you will feel a difference as you lose fat mass.

  3. Skin Folds. If you are going to a gym where there is a qualified anthropometrist (A person who is literally qualified to pinch you with giant tweezers - but in all seriousness - it makes a difference when some is qualified in terms of correct readings) they will be able to take measurements from specific reference points on your body and track those points as you progress through your journey. The important thing here is to focus on the measurements of the individual data sites as these are the most accurate.

  4. Bod Pod. One of few legitimate body composition tools, mostly used in sporting facilities or research, where you sit in a literal ‘pod’ and have your composition measure using air displacement plethysmograph.

  5. DEXA scan. Considered the gold standard of body composition, uses dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry to assess fat mass, fat free mass (muscle) and bone mineral density.

I have been lucky enough to have experienced all of these composition metrics, and while the Bod Pod and Dexa are really exciting and provide your with loads of awesome data (which I LOVE data), the best measurements are the ones that you can assess yourself. I can honestly say tracking with just circumferences either pant bands or tape can provide you with enough insight on your journey.

Joel Grech