I’m worried about one of the results
Ok, don’t panic. The first step is not to ignore it and hope it goes away. It could be a mistake and it could be something that you can get quick and easy treatment for. The only thing guaranteed not to fix it is ignoring it. Make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible.
My BMI is high, but I don’t think I’m fat
Then there’s every chance that you are not fat. BMI is notoriously a poor measurement for body-builders, the elderly and various other groups. This is primarily because BMI can’t tell whether your weight is lean muscle mass or fat. It also can’t tell WHERE on your body your fat is deposited.
So why do we use it? Because it’s simple to understand and for the majority of people it will give them a rough idea of where they are and where they should be. Take it with a pinch of low-sodium salt alternative.
How can I get an accurate reading of my body fat?
There are three main ways – with callipers, with a body fat measuring device or by getting a full body scan, like a DEXA scan. All of these options will vary in accuracy. Ultimately, the best thing is to accept that most methods of sampling body fat are flawed but that used long-term with other methods (such as photographs of your body) they can provide a general picture of how much body fat you have and where it is stored.
What is my BMR and TDEE?
Your BMR is your Basal Metabolic Rate and TDEE is your Total Daily Energy Expenditure. Your BMR is an estimate of the energy you use up simply by being alive. Your TDEE is an estimate of the energy you burn up by being alive and by moving around. It’s essential that you note that these are estimates.
To get a precise TDEE you need to go and live in a laboratory and measure it more precisely (some people actually do this). Ours is based on a well-known and widely-used calculation but it’s as inaccurate, as all calculators are.
The CICO (Calories In/Calories Out) theory of weight loss is that once you’ve got your TDEE you knock five hundred calories off each day (or more if you want to lose weight quicker) and over a week you aim to fall 3,500 calories short, which should equate to you losing a pound.
We cannot stress strongly enough that this works in theory, but sometimes not in practice! If you’re finding that you’ve knocked 3,500 calories off your TDEE for two weeks and the scales aren’t moving then try bringing the TDEE down 500 calories, maybe the estimate for you was too high. Or go and live in the lab and get a more accurate reading – it’s your call…