4

votes

Am I still fat?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created June 20, 2011 at 8:14 PM

I started out Paleo as a fat vegan: 42 years old, female, 5'5" and 152 with a body fat percentage on handheld meter at 33.4%. I am now 128 pounds with the same handheld meter reading 26.7%. While I realize that the machine is not entirely accurate, it doesn't seem like my body fat should still be so high at this weight. I have looked up "average" body fat percentages for women with little success. The range is all over the place depending on where the charts originate and what year they come from. It seems that they are becoming more generous with time and are likely unreliable.

So I am wondering, especially for the Paleo ladies, what is your body fat percentage? Am I still in the fat range for my height? I am currently doing VLC and cannot decide whether to be content with where I am (and add in some carbs) or whether I should try to lose more fat from my body. I know this can be a highly individual thing, but I would like to know where I'm at in relation to other Paleo types.

6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0

(3946)

on June 21, 2011
at 01:42 PM

Yes, I do need to start lifting weights and getting stronger. Thanks!

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on June 21, 2011
at 01:02 PM

amen. more women lifting heavy things and growing stronger can only be a good thing.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on June 21, 2011
at 01:01 PM

well there you go. pics and mirrors never lie. A scale may have told you x% body fat etc and you're all happy and then boom, phototime, and shit youre all bummed. The converse can be true, too! Forget weight and bodyfat, use a mirror and camera and you'll be able to really, truly gauge whats going on. No use putting our heads in the sand. Also, scales i believe lead, especially women, to just crash diet to see a reduction in THE NUMBER, but they are losing lean muscle mass!

B4e1fa6a8cf43d2b69d97a99dfca262c

(10255)

on June 21, 2011
at 12:42 PM

ya Annie, i wonder too. my goal is to lose abdominal fat and i have been trying for many years. i have been in excellent health aside from this one issue, so i too ponder the net value of VLC

Fe29f6658ce67c1ecc4a22e960be7498

(2997)

on June 21, 2011
at 06:02 AM

"wanting no jiggle at all"? Sheesh - I'm here to tell you - officially - that a fair amount of jiggle is a *very good* thing!

Fe29f6658ce67c1ecc4a22e960be7498

(2997)

on June 21, 2011
at 05:58 AM

I like the "edges" metaphor - so true!

7df8f3cc7f1475c3ecbbd4a4feb87d04

(514)

on June 21, 2011
at 05:02 AM

From everything I've ever heard and read, it's the abdominal fat that's a concern for health - the fat in the thighs might actually be a good thing, insurance for a worst-case scenario where you're badly injured and need to have docs working on you for 8+ hrs or whatever other emergency you can think of. In those types of horrible situations, it's good for the body to have some stored fat to burn...

C23ec4b85f3cbeb9ddf6bf78317d56e3

(300)

on June 21, 2011
at 03:49 AM

I don't think it's unrealistic... Not at all! I just think it takes a lot longer than we would really like... LOL

6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0

(3946)

on June 21, 2011
at 02:18 AM

Ben, I thought I was fine until I saw a picture of myself on vacation in a bathing suit. I almost died when I saw the size of my thighs.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18452)

on June 21, 2011
at 02:08 AM

lol. love that response annie. that's fantastic ;)

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on June 21, 2011
at 01:47 AM

CaveRat: Love, love, love it! Sooooooo on target. It takes time, but it comes. The self perception begins to realize and embrace the new body. Problem is, I think we can get into a real danger zone with measurements and hopes we pin on a projected imaginary self. It's a dicey deal...moving toward health and having good feelings that come with it is important, but there *are* unhealthy "edges" and places we can get diverted to in the process. +1 for great advice!

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on June 21, 2011
at 01:41 AM

Firstly no scale or monitor can tell you your fat percentage. Forget it, totally impossible. Forget the scale altogether. Use a mirror and camera. Much better. Especially if you workout and perhaps gain muscle; your weight could very well not decrease but the mirror will never lie.

6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0

(3946)

on June 21, 2011
at 01:10 AM

You are so right. I thought that I just needed to get to 132, then when I got there I still saw fat. At 128 I weigh less now than in my entire adult life and I still see fat. I do feel better, but I thought I would be satisfied by now.

6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0

(3946)

on June 21, 2011
at 01:06 AM

Thanks Jack. My fat is where it should be, that's a good thing I guess.

26b7615ef542394102785a67a2786867

(7967)

on June 21, 2011
at 01:06 AM

Annie, I'm in my mid-20s and still technically underweight by a couple pounds, and there is jiggle! I had butt-fat at BMI 15 - most of the weight I've gained since then is muscle. Embrace it, lots of women simple aren't meant to be leaner than the low 20s (especially in the hips). Men don't seem to consider that a drawback at all, and I refuse to.

6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0

(3946)

on June 21, 2011
at 01:04 AM

Well it's not the weight so much as the fat percentage that bothers me. I was expecting to be in the low 20's at this weight. You are right, though about body composition.

26b7615ef542394102785a67a2786867

(7967)

on June 21, 2011
at 01:02 AM

I would have to agree, it's a very rare paleo-eating woman, no matter their body type, who is going to be at all overfat with those stats.

6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0

(3946)

on June 21, 2011
at 01:02 AM

You're right, the actual numbers don't matter. I am just wondering if I have another 7 percent to lose or whether that is unrealistic. I was expecting to have less fat percentage at this weight.

6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0

(3946)

on June 21, 2011
at 01:00 AM

Sage, I have regular body shape with more weight in the thighs than stomach. I do still have fat to lose, a little in the upper abdomen and some on the inside of my thighs. I just wonder if it's worth it (VLC). Will it improve my health substantially? Not sure.

6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0

(3946)

on June 21, 2011
at 12:58 AM

This made me laugh out loud. My jiggle factor is more than I would like, but not much. I wonder if I am being unrealistic by wanting no jiggle at all? Especially at my age (not 20 any more).

6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0

(3946)

on June 21, 2011
at 12:54 AM

Thank you, this is a good point. I should at least start with the facts before I freak out.

6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0

(3946)

on June 21, 2011
at 12:52 AM

Mike, you are right about trusting the measurement. I just figured it can't be more than a percent or two off. Maybe I'm wrong?

6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0

(3946)

on June 21, 2011
at 12:51 AM

Dr K, will recheck CRP, thanks for the reminder.

6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0

(3946)

on June 21, 2011
at 12:50 AM

Rose, I would not be embarrassed, thank you for pointing that out.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25477)

on June 20, 2011
at 10:57 PM

MRI is a good option if your HS CRP wont drop with lifestyle changes. But its not worth the cost/risk. HS CRP is far cheaper and is very sensitive at telling what is happening at a mitochondrial level. It is driven by fat below the rectus abdominus muscle and the periorganal adipose spaces.

510bdda8988ed0d4b0ec0b738b4edb73

(20898)

on June 20, 2011
at 10:53 PM

I don't trust those body fat measurements at all. The only good way to determine body fat is an MRI, everything else is just some type of correlation. But anyway, if we decide to trust the numbers you report that means you started out at 100lbs lean (+50 lbs fat) and now are 90lbs lean (+32 lbs fat). I doubt you lost 10 lbs of muscle. Unless you were starving yourself, that's not easy. I'd bet one or both of those numbers is off. I'll go with the good old Robb Wolf quote: "how do you look, feel, and perform", that's all that matters.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25477)

on June 20, 2011
at 08:45 PM

Id answer this with how you feel and you labs. How close to zero is your HS CRP? I only use DEXA yearly and BIA monthly to track my patients. Most women want to get around 15-20% body fat but I have quite a few going for 10 15% BF and that is awfully lean for a lady.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 20, 2011
at 08:27 PM

What do you *look* and *feel* like? When you look in the mirror, are you pudgy? This can be a hard thing for women to assess about themselves, I know (especially with ultra-lean women like Jillian Michaels as role models -- not that she's a bad one, just atypical). would you be embarrassed (over and above ordinary modesty) to be seen in your undies? (This is how I know I'm still not at an ideal body comp, btw, and I'm not trying to look like Jillian Michaels, lol. But I'd settle for an Ursula Andress look.)

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8 Answers

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2
26b7615ef542394102785a67a2786867

on June 20, 2011
at 08:26 PM

Those digital body comp calculators (hand-held, scales, whatever) are nearly 100% bullshit. Go get a DEXA scan, BodPod reading, or calipers administered by a professional to see what your body fat really is. Those are the only methods with good evidence of accuracy, and even they have a margin or error.

Until you know what your body fat percentage actually is, stop worrying about it if you feel good and look good. The mirror is your best guide.

6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0

(3946)

on June 21, 2011
at 12:54 AM

Thank you, this is a good point. I should at least start with the facts before I freak out.

4
Fe29f6658ce67c1ecc4a22e960be7498

(2997)

on June 20, 2011
at 11:46 PM

I've noticed a similar pattern, on a couple levels. First, those scales just seem way off. Maybe they only detect fat in certain places (and will only read change if you change there), or perhaps fat made of fewer Omega 3's so it's different electrically - all I know is that my fancy scale with electronic fat can't be right. I've been right at 20% fat since I started - and I've lost 30 lbs. I definitely haven't lost muscle nor much water. Don't trust them.

The other thing is that I've noticed that how I perceive myself hasn't changed much. I still feel "fat" after a meal. I still see too much flab when I look in the mirror. All my self-perceptions and body-senses are telling me little has changed. Yet, I've lost that 30 lbs, am fitting into pants that I used to sigh in regret about, and have more energy and strength. So what's the reality?

So go with the data that's accurate (which is not your fat gauge) and remind yourself of the truth about your body - it's changing for the better. If you feel 'fat' - well that's just an old habit, it's not you.

6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0

(3946)

on June 21, 2011
at 01:10 AM

You are so right. I thought that I just needed to get to 132, then when I got there I still saw fat. At 128 I weigh less now than in my entire adult life and I still see fat. I do feel better, but I thought I would be satisfied by now.

Fe29f6658ce67c1ecc4a22e960be7498

(2997)

on June 21, 2011
at 05:58 AM

I like the "edges" metaphor - so true!

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on June 21, 2011
at 01:47 AM

CaveRat: Love, love, love it! Sooooooo on target. It takes time, but it comes. The self perception begins to realize and embrace the new body. Problem is, I think we can get into a real danger zone with measurements and hopes we pin on a projected imaginary self. It's a dicey deal...moving toward health and having good feelings that come with it is important, but there *are* unhealthy "edges" and places we can get diverted to in the process. +1 for great advice!

4
8634d4988ced45a68e2a79e69cc01835

(1617)

on June 20, 2011
at 08:47 PM

I've had my body fat measured on a very accurate machine (it was tested against a pro using calipers, and they got the same results) being a hair under 19% (18.8 or so). I'm 5'5" and 115lbs. I was 120lbs when I was tested. I'm 32 years old and just over a month into my Paleo journey. I don't look chubby or skinny. I've met women my weight who look slimmer than me, because of the way I'm built (long torso but muscular legs). It's a lot about your build in combination with your BF % and weight.

128lbs is a reasonable weight for your/our height, but it's really body composition that matters. 128lbs at 11% BF and 128lbs at 30% BF is very different. You can also be underweight but have a poor body fat to lean muscle ratio. I think for women a BF % of around 22% is considered The Norm.

What it really comes down to is taking an honest look in the mirror at your jiggle factor. Is there honestly too much jiggle going on there? If so, you might stand to cut your body fat % with some diet and training. I'd really get your BF % professionally tested if it concerns your unduly. Otherwise I'd put that out of my mind and keep with the diet, tweaking where needed, give it time, and work in some interval training.

26b7615ef542394102785a67a2786867

(7967)

on June 21, 2011
at 01:06 AM

Annie, I'm in my mid-20s and still technically underweight by a couple pounds, and there is jiggle! I had butt-fat at BMI 15 - most of the weight I've gained since then is muscle. Embrace it, lots of women simple aren't meant to be leaner than the low 20s (especially in the hips). Men don't seem to consider that a drawback at all, and I refuse to.

Fe29f6658ce67c1ecc4a22e960be7498

(2997)

on June 21, 2011
at 06:02 AM

"wanting no jiggle at all"? Sheesh - I'm here to tell you - officially - that a fair amount of jiggle is a *very good* thing!

6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0

(3946)

on June 21, 2011
at 12:58 AM

This made me laugh out loud. My jiggle factor is more than I would like, but not much. I wonder if I am being unrealistic by wanting no jiggle at all? Especially at my age (not 20 any more).

3
Fe535c4994ac6176f76e1ff6d29eb08a

on June 20, 2011
at 09:32 PM

This is why I dont weigh myself. Ive been doing this for 6-7 months now and have dropped a couple pants sizes, feel amazing on 20 different levels, and look totally different. People look at me and say "Wow! How much weight have you lost?" Who cares? I am not chasing some magic number, that does not take into account that I am adding muscle (heavy) and losing fat (not as heavy), and then freaking out if the scale jumps one way or the other one day. As stated earlier, how do you look, and how do you feel? Personally, I know that I look and feel like paleo works for me and will for a long time, and if I feel that I still look or feel 'fat' then I better be a little stricter on the diet on work a little harder on the exercise. And really, I've been abusing myself for years, I am not expecting a miracle in 6 weeks diet, I will be the perfect composition eventually, and I will get there at a healthy pace.

6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0

(3946)

on June 21, 2011
at 01:04 AM

Well it's not the weight so much as the fat percentage that bothers me. I was expecting to be in the low 20's at this weight. You are right, though about body composition.

3
C23ec4b85f3cbeb9ddf6bf78317d56e3

on June 20, 2011
at 09:25 PM

I think a lot of this has to do with psychology. I started off as a skinny chick and ended up at around 30ish bodyfat %. I'm at 26% now and I still feel like a fat @r$e, because I'm used to being a 125 lb size 2, who could bench her body weight and do dead-hangs. A lot of bigger girls look at me and still think "skinny chick" because of where they are physically and mentally. There are women out there that would kill to be my size, or your size. It's difficult not to focus on numbers, but you'll be a lot happier when you stop. Who cares what some machine says? Make your goals health and strength oriented. If your diet and lifestyle is in line, eventually your body will adjust. When you focus too much on numbers, you get discouraged much easier.

C23ec4b85f3cbeb9ddf6bf78317d56e3

(300)

on June 21, 2011
at 03:49 AM

I don't think it's unrealistic... Not at all! I just think it takes a lot longer than we would really like... LOL

6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0

(3946)

on June 21, 2011
at 01:02 AM

You're right, the actual numbers don't matter. I am just wondering if I have another 7 percent to lose or whether that is unrealistic. I was expecting to have less fat percentage at this weight.

2
Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18452)

on June 20, 2011
at 09:36 PM

i really doubt that you appear 'fat' at 128 lbs in a 5 foot 5 inch frame. i am thinking of a female that i know who is 5 foot 2 inches and 127 pounds. very nice looking from head to toe.

if you are 3 inches taller and the same weight, there is no way you are 'overweight' as a woman.

the only slight possibility is if your womanly areas that most people refer to when they say 'curves in all the right places' (i.e. butt, breasts, thighs) are lacking and that weight is found elsewhere on your body like your stomach, arms, neck, face etc, then I can see a slight possibility at that you could lean up another 5 lbs or so, but surely it can't be much with you being 5'5.

to borrow what others here have already said, the weight to height ratio is very specific to each person's body structure.

6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0

(3946)

on June 21, 2011
at 01:06 AM

Thanks Jack. My fat is where it should be, that's a good thing I guess.

26b7615ef542394102785a67a2786867

(7967)

on June 21, 2011
at 01:02 AM

I would have to agree, it's a very rare paleo-eating woman, no matter their body type, who is going to be at all overfat with those stats.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18452)

on June 21, 2011
at 02:08 AM

lol. love that response annie. that's fantastic ;)

2
B4e1fa6a8cf43d2b69d97a99dfca262c

(10255)

on June 20, 2011
at 08:49 PM

we are identical height/weight and i still have fat to lose. i am an apple body type so i store excess body fat in the midsection.

i second what Rose said. if you are dissatified with your current body comp keep working it till you are happy with your reflection. that may come with more muscle- you may not need to weigh less, just trade some fat for muscle.

7df8f3cc7f1475c3ecbbd4a4feb87d04

(514)

on June 21, 2011
at 05:02 AM

From everything I've ever heard and read, it's the abdominal fat that's a concern for health - the fat in the thighs might actually be a good thing, insurance for a worst-case scenario where you're badly injured and need to have docs working on you for 8+ hrs or whatever other emergency you can think of. In those types of horrible situations, it's good for the body to have some stored fat to burn...

6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0

(3946)

on June 21, 2011
at 01:00 AM

Sage, I have regular body shape with more weight in the thighs than stomach. I do still have fat to lose, a little in the upper abdomen and some on the inside of my thighs. I just wonder if it's worth it (VLC). Will it improve my health substantially? Not sure.

B4e1fa6a8cf43d2b69d97a99dfca262c

(10255)

on June 21, 2011
at 12:42 PM

ya Annie, i wonder too. my goal is to lose abdominal fat and i have been trying for many years. i have been in excellent health aside from this one issue, so i too ponder the net value of VLC

1
B3e7d1ab5aeb329fe24cca1de1a0b09c

(5242)

on June 21, 2011
at 04:32 AM

Visceral (or abdominal) fat has strong correlation to obesity related diseases (CHD, diabetes, etc). From your post and comments it sounds as if you've pretty much trimmed that off, and thus it would probably be safe to say you're at a healthy weight.

I guess it is up to you if you're happy with your body composition though. If it's important to you it sounds as if you maybe able to lean out a little more and add a bit of muscle. But would you be healthier or just a little fitter and stronger? Hard to say.

That said though, it's damn good to feel strong!

What to do to get stronger? Lift heavy things 1 - 3 times a week, sprint maybe about once a week and eat plenty of animal :)

How long have you been VLC for?

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on June 21, 2011
at 01:02 PM

amen. more women lifting heavy things and growing stronger can only be a good thing.

6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0

(3946)

on June 21, 2011
at 01:42 PM

Yes, I do need to start lifting weights and getting stronger. Thanks!

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