There are a lot of numbers that can be used to determine your overall state of health. Your weight is one such number, but it doesn’t tell the entire story. Another useful number is your body fat weight; in other words, what percentage of your weight is comprised of fat. Knowing that percentage will give you a better idea of how healthy your weight is, and how healthy you are overall.
Body fat weight can be measured in several ways, but they each have their pros and cons. A full immersion in a pool of water is the most accurate way to know how much of your body is pure fat, and how much isn’t. While it’s a very accurate test, it comes with a fair amount of expense and inconvenience. Calipers can be used to pinch the skin in various places, but they are open to human error, and aren’t as accurate as they could be. Then there’s the Body Mass Index, or BMI.
Your BMI is calculated using nothing more than your height and weight. This makes it an easy thing to calculate, but it also means that there can be flaws with those calculations for certain people. For example, of you are a bodybuilder and have a high percentage of muscle mass, then your BMI may be artificially inflated, and it won’t reflect the true nature of your overall health. However, most people will find that the Body Mass Index will give them a rough idea of how healthy their current weight is.
This leads to the question of how somebody who is in great shape physically can weigh more than somebody who has a high body fat weight. The reason for this is that the same volume of muscle weighs more than the same volume of fat. Muscle is denser than fat, and it that’s why a muscular person, who appears thinner and more fit, can weight more than someone who looks flabby and unhealthy. To put it another way, how much you weigh isn’t the only way to judge if you’re obese.
If you are doing a lot of exercise while trying to lose weight, then you may wonder why the scale isn’t reflecting how you feel. Understanding that fat and muscle each have a different density explains it. You may be working out a lot, and looking trim, but if you are adding a lot of muscle at the same time, then the scale may not budge. The main thing is to not let this fact discourage you. As long as you are continuing to exercise and getting healthy, you can pretty much ignore the scale.
Knowing your body fat weight percentage is really the key to knowing how healthy your weight is. All of those other methods for determining your weight have their place, but it’s your body fat that will give you the best possible number for determining what your “true weight” is.