Stop me if you've heard this one before: I lost 20 pounds and now I've gained it all back... Yep, that's me. Can I blame my weight gain on the pandemic? Perhaps, but that is simply an excuse. We're at the start of a new year, so I'm energized to start moving the needle back in the right direction! However, here is the needle I'm focusing on in 2021: Body Fat Percentage. Yes, tracking weight is useful, but I'm realizing tracking body fat percentage is even more useful. Do you know your current body fat percentage? Read on as I explain these 2 charts below from my FitBit app over the past 4 years and share 7 tips about why knowing your body fat percentage is so important.
1. The chart on the left is a graph of my weight from January 2017 through January 2021. I wrote a blog post with 10 tips on how I lost 20 pounds in 2017 at this link. I definitely need to "eat my own cooking" and re-read and re-implement the 10 solid tips I wrote about on that blog post to lose weight!
2. The chart on the right is my body fat graphed over the past 4 years. It is encouraging to see that my body fat dropped dramatically in 2017 and hasn't risen as much as my weight has gone up. Why? Because I've built up muscle mass over the past 4 years, which is a very good thing. I wrote a blog post on this topic titled 9 Tips for Elevating your Heart Rate! Rowing + Home Gym + Strength Training.
3. Body fat percentage is an important indicator of your overall health. A higher percentage of body fat puts you at risk of obesity-related diseases such as heart disease, a stroke, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. Your body fat percentage is calculated as the percentage of your weight that is made up of fat. Over 30% body fat indicates obesity, so you really want to be under 30% body fat and ideally under 20%. Check out this link for detailed charts of body fat percentages for both women and men.
4. You can easily track your body fat daily with a digital scale. I have been tracking my body fat over the past 4 years using FitBit's Auria scale. It is so simple to use! You just step on it and it tracks your weight and body fat percentage to your FitBit App. You don't even need to own/wear a FitBit tracker to use this scale. A helpful list of several digital scale options is at this link. (Thanks to this link, I actually just bought the Body Cardio digital scale from Withings... I'll let you know if I like it better than the Auria! It looks like it tracks so many more useful metrics.)
5. Getting a good night's sleep actually helps you lose body fat. Does this sound strange to you? It's true! Check out this blog post I wrote about the importance of sleep and 2 fantastic books on this topic: Sleep Smarter and Why We Sleep.
6. Intermittent fasting is a useful practice my friends have used to decrease their body fat. I have to confess that I have not (yet?) done intermittent fasting, but my many of my friends have and they say it is transformative. A good overview of how intermittent fasting works is at this link. A buddy of mine recently lost a lot of body fat by using a system called Belly Proof, which might be helpful to you. If anyone reading this has tried intermittent fasting and has additional tips, please do share in the Comments section below.
7. Developing your character is more important than physical training. Why should we worry about our body fat percentage and try to stay healthy? Well, I believe so that we can love and serve others in our lives with as much energy and for as many years as possible. Yet, let us not forget from 1 Timothy 4:8 that developing a godly character is infinitely more important than simply being physically healthy: "For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come."
I hope the 7 tips above are encouraging for you as we embark on this new year! Perhaps you will join me on a journey to decrease body fat in 2021? I will report back on this blog in January 2022 about how 2021 goes for me.
p.s. The purpose of this blog is to encourage you to live a more disciplined life, by God's Grace. I'd be honored if you'd subscribe to my blog's emails to alert you of new blog posts at: www.mikepritchard.com/subscribe.html