eDiets Week 8 Day 3 - We're Moving On Up..(and not to the East Side)

Submitted by Richat35 Healthyat85 on Fri, 05/19/2006 - 12:37am.

I weighed in Monday after I wrote for the day and came out 1 pound higher than last week - now 175lbs.  This is understandable since I had pizza for dinner and was not overly active all weekend, but it is manageable. 

I mentioned last week that I plan on doing an underwater body fat test when I get down to 167 pounds, but I have not given any details behind why I want to use this method versus other body composition measurements.  Let me clarify that I am not a doctor or a scientist and that most of my opinion on this subject is from general research that I have come across over the years.  It's important to know that there are many methods for measuring body composition.  The most popular, standing on a scale, is good for a general guideline, but is really only half of the equation.  One person may look "fat" while another looks great at the same weight and height.  The "big boned" argument only has so much merit as bone does not very in weight that much from person to person.  People use "weight" because it is simply the easiest to measure. 

So what is the other half of the equation?  The answer is body fat composition.  There are many different views on which method of measuring this is best.  Many diet books and websites tout Body Mass Index or BMI as the be all and end all of composition.  Personally, I find the BMI to be rather vague and misleading as body style is too subjective on most of the tests.  Another method of measuring body fat is to use callipers (big prongs) to pinch skin and fat in certain "selected" areas of the body.  My high school health teacher back in the day told me that the margin for error with this method is 5%.  That is pretty significant to me.  If you told me I was 10% body fat, I would probably be pretty happy, but 15% would be a different story.  Most people can guess their general healthy weight size and get the same benefits as this not-so-accurate measuring technique. 

The most accurate (and difficult and expensive) is the under water body fat test.  The subject submerges himself/herself into a mini pool and lets all of their air out of their lungs temporarily (to prevent floating).  This allows the less dense fat cells to float and the muscle and bone to sink slightly and gives a more accurate reading of the body fat percentage.  I have never done this myself, but I am looking forward to finding out where I stand (at least when I am at 167 and feeling more confident). 

Tell me your story about your body composition tests and your opinions of them.