body fat percentage and my new scale

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created June 08, 2012 at 9:21 AM

So I was pretty shocked today when my scale arrived. I've been struggling with the last 5-10 pounds. I started Paleo at 145, dropped very quickly to 130, then settled back up to 135. The weight gain was distressing but I tried not to allow myself to get too upset as my clothes still fit well, so I figured it was muscle gain from consistent, but not overtraining.

My scale said 16.5% body fat, 58.7% total body water, 40.9 muscle mass and 5% bone mass. The bone mass number worries me but I have access to DEXA so I'll validate that medically.

So my question is this. At 16.5% body fat, I'm pretty sure I won't be losing any more "weight", right? That is unless I want to be a slave to the gym, which I don't want.

Any comments, feedback about these numbers?

BTW, I'm 100% Paleo except I do allow dairy in the form of greek yogurt 2-3/week, some alcohol (grrrr). I eat lots of good pastured animal fat, so I am proud to say that I am walking proof that fat does not make you fat.

Would love to hear where others are at.



on September 27, 2012
at 04:43 PM

Those scales are notoriously iffy. Take the %s with a big ole grain of salt. Mine says I'm 16% bodyfat too, but I'm probably more like 19% 20% using the good old fashioned mirror. Let us know what the DEXA says so we can compare and contrast.


on June 08, 2012
at 11:29 AM

There are simply too many variables, measure trends over time and don't stress over any one reading. That will determine accuracy even if precision of equipment is poor. Might be good to also take measurements with either BF calipers or tape-measure for comparison, of course you said you had access to DEXA, use that as a reference and the other measurements as well. What you see in the mirror and the way your clothes fit are also a guide.

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3 Answers


on June 08, 2012
at 10:06 AM

dont read anything into bioelectric scales. it is mostly based off calculations from the inputs you program into it, such as activity level, athlete etc.

i can make mine say all kinds of different things about my body fat and muscle mass by changing these inputs, by drinking a heap of water, by having dirty feet, or clean damp feet, using it after strenuous excercise etc.

Best not to use the readings for anything other than something you can record and track over time, as long as you keep all the variables the same.

also, depending on your age, your bones wont get any denser, but you can greatly reduce mineral loss with strength training, as you are doing.



on September 27, 2012
at 04:03 PM

My scale, this morning, said I had gained 0.5 pounds and lost 2% body fat, since yesterday.

I trust the weight measurement. I ignore the body fat numbers entirely.


on June 08, 2012
at 10:22 AM

I agree with Nibs. The exercise guy at my work measured my body fat with calipers and it was 12%. My scale at home (fairly consistently) tells me I am 28% fat and 50% water in the morning and then later that night I'll be 25% fat and 53% water. I do write it down and track it, but I know the #s are not accurate, just something to gauge my daily/weekly progress.

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