Americans are fixated on body weight, and with good reason: 70 percent of U.S. adults are now classified as overweight. But our obsession with the bathroom scale is slightly misplaced. How much you weigh actually has very little to do with how healthy you are. It's your body composition—or body fat percentage—that really matters.
What Are You Made Of?
Doctors recently coined the term "Normal Weight Obese" to categorize men and women who fall within the normal body weight range but have more than 30 percent body fat. Studies have found that normal weight obese individuals have the same levels of circulating inflammation markers—a major risk factor for heart disease—as those who are technically obese.
So, instead of stepping on the bathroom scale to weigh yourself a couple of times every week, measure your body fat percentage instead. The most convenient way to estimate your body fat percentage is with a body fat scale. Nowadays, body fat scales—which use a technology called bioelectrical impedance to estimate body fat percentage—are available at pharmacies, department stores, and sporting goods stores. They cost about the same as a regular bathroom scale ($40-100) and they're just as easy to use. All you have to do is step on and read the numbers.
Skin fold calipers offer a more accurate estimate of body fat percentage, as long as they are used by someone who knows what he or she is doing. Use the handy calculator to get an accurate estimate of your body fat percentage using the skin fold caliper method.
Get Lean, Not Skinny
Instead of simply trying to "lose weight" through severe calorie restriction, aim to improve your body composition by shedding fat and building muscle. The ideal lifestyle for getting lean combines regular exercise and high levels of fruit and vegetable consumption to promote fat loss with strength training and a high level of protein consumption to promote muscle gain. A high-quality fat-burning supplement such as Learnergy can assist the process by increasing your metabolism.