Weight Loss
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Weight going down, but body fat% going up. What gives?


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I eat 1800-2000 cals/day, 60min moderate stationary bike a day, full body weight training every other day.  Weight's going in the right direction, but fat % isn't.  What am I doing wrong?  Or do I just need to be more patient?


      16-May    17-May    18-May    19-May    20-May    21-May    22-May    23-May
lbs.  185.2       185.6      185.4       185.2       184.2      183.4      182.8       182.8
fat%  35.8         35.6        35.5         35.4         36.6        37.4        36.4        37.2

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Body-fat measurements are notoriously inaccurate and can't be taken entirely seriously.  Hydration levels go up and down all the time and can throw the readings.  One week is far too short a time to judge whether diet or exercise are making any difference whatsoever.

#2  
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Are you getting that nuimber off of a scale at home? Because they are worthless. Instead, I pay the $20 every 3 or so months to have it done at a gym. So then it is accurate, and you have enough space in between readings to really see a difference.

the home body-fat scales aren't completely useless; you just have to know how to interpret them.  a flutuation of 2-3% is probably just water content: if you're dehydrated, your body fat will read higher.  because it measures conductivity from one foot to the other, anything in your belly can also affect the reading.  so the difference between 35.6% and 37.2% is really zero.

BUT it can still be an effective way to monitor your progress over time.  when you start seeing a difference of 4 or 5%, you're getting there.  just assume that you're setting a baseline in this first week; calculate your average, if you want.  and try to keep variables to a minimum: if you're exercising regularly, weigh/measure before exercise, at the same time of day.

tribbeal, caliper tests are far from perfect.  the skill and motives of the people performing them, especially, are suspect.

It probably is hydration levels.  In the first week or so of eating better, we tend to lose a lot of water weight (since our diet now includes less salt and refined sugar) along with a little fat.  Since %bodyfat is just fat mass divided by total mass, if you lower the total mass a lot but the fat mass stayed the same, the bodfat percent would go up.  Even if the fat mass goes down a bit, if the total mass goes down more, the bodyfat percent still goes up.

If you continue to weigh daily, you'll probably see that, on days when your weight fluctuates up, the bodyfat percent goes down (since you're retaining more water those days) and on days when your weight fluctuates down, the bodyfat percent goes up (less water).  As pgeorgian noted, only longterm trends have any real meaning in the bodyfat percent readings.

#5  
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This is awesome guys!  thanks so much for the info.  I'll just keep an eye on the long term trend and not worry too much about the day to day. thanks again!

1: Don't trust a bodyfat scale. Bodyfat is not an innaccurate measurement; it needs to be measured by someone who knows what they're doing though. Those scales give rough approximations, and the best measurement for home use without buying calipers is the navy (military?) tape test (google it).

2: As was stated, this is not something you measure day to day. Losing .5% bodyfat in a week would be good progress for you. If measured accurately, it should be very consistent day-to-day. However, the only super-accurate method of measurement involves being upside down in a pool with a bunch of gear.

It is possible to gain bodyfat while losing weight, and has been demonstrated as such when an all-fructose diet was consumed, but it's pretty unlikely if you have your diet in check. Get your protein and healthy fats, be moderate with the carbs and make them mostly whole grains and veggies or fruits; you should be smooth sailing until you start getting closer to your GW.

yaza
May 25 2009 20:22
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#7  
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Original Post by madpampees:

I eat 1800-2000 cals/day, 60min moderate stationary bike a day, full body weight training every other day.  Weight's going in the right direction, but fat % isn't.  What am I doing wrong?  Or do I just need to be more patient?


      16-May    17-May    18-May    19-May    20-May    21-May    22-May    23-May
lbs.  185.2       185.6      185.4       185.2       184.2      183.4      182.8       182.8
fat%  35.8         35.6        35.5         35.4         36.6        37.4        36.4        37.2

an even better explanation would be that you are losing muscle at a fast rate, hence why your body fat is increasing. try upping cals or reducing the amount of cardio, then see body fat from there. another problem would be your scale and hydration levels. ps eat more protein, up your cals, and for your weight you should be eating more, 182x15= 2730, - 500 which is 2200 approx, is how many cals u should be eating.

 

#8  
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How much protein should I be eating? i get approx 100g/day now.  2200cal/day???  no way!  I can eat that much??  And ride the bike less?!?  No problem!  Sitting on that uncomfortable seat for an hour makes my butt sore anyway!  :)

yaza
May 25 2009 20:49
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#9  
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Original Post by madpampees:

How much protein should I be eating? i get approx 100g/day now.  2200cal/day???  no way!  I can eat that much??  And ride the bike less?!?  No problem!  Sitting on that uncomfortable seat for an hour makes my butt sore anyway!  :)

 well im into bodybuilding, and  in  general its 1gram per pound of your body weight , but for you i believe 150 grams will be fine to preserve muscle, but 100grams is ok i guess. too much cardio btw is counter productive and catabolic- it burns muscle, so i would focus on doing less cardio seriously, and what do you mean by 2200 cal -'no way', add a peanut butter sandwich or milk. 2100 calories a day seriously, and your sorted. 60 mins cardio per day- wow, never done that before , i prob would end up like a skeleton. have u ever heard of 'HIIT' , search it up, its quite effective and ive done it , very good results. i would lose 1 or two days on the cardio, do something else, running for 30 minutes,and when you lift weights lift heavy, your not going to get 'big'.

you're probably on the right track. weight fluxuates according to when you eat and drink, but if it's going down that's probably a good sign as long as you're still drinking enough. body fat calculations, in my opinion, are pretty bogus - a much better indicator is clothing size or measuring around your thighs/waist/arms/etc to really tell how much smaller you're getting.

when do you weigh yourself on your body fat scale?  my trainer has a super fancy one of these that reminds me of the wii.  you step on and hold these little things in your hand and it tells you your body fat and how much fat and muscle is in each arm, leg and your trunk as well as overall.  if you eat within an hour of stepping on it it traces the fat in your food, so dont do it within an hour or two of eating.  You can easily do 100g of protien a day.  i am on a 1050-1250 calorie a day and i am supposed to eat 110g of protein a day.  After a workout i take a protein shake that has 22 g of protein.  Nuts, grilled chicken, tuna, salmon, eggs, turkey are all loaded with protein. if you can eat 3 meals a day and 2 snacks and fit protein into each one, you'll have no problem!

dont get discouraged, you'll get there!

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