Body Fat Challenge

Is My Body Fat Healthy?
Body fat can be a tricky element of health, as it is affected by so many factors in life: diet, sleep, exercise, stress, and genetics can all play a role. Use this chart to determine whether your body fat is in a healthy range.

Body Fat Categories
5% - 10%
8% - 15%
11% - 14%
16% - 23%
15%  - 20%
24% - 30%
21% - 24%
31% - 36%

How Fast Can I Reduce Body Fat?
The benefits of a strong body are almost endless! Strong muscles make it easier to do every day activities like lifting groceries from the car, maintain balance when carrying heavy loads, and avoid injury. Strong muscles are at a lower risk for osteoporosis, help reduce blood pressure, burn more calories at rest, and plus they look great!

Adults lose between five and seven pounds of muscle every decade after age 20, so strength training is important at every age!

What Foods Are Best for Reducing Fat?
Protein and fiber are powerhouses for making your body into a well-oiled machine. Fish, chicken, and other white meats are standard protein choices, but protein is also found in eggs, beans, and even vegetables! Whole grains, berries, brown rice, and beans pack fiber to keep you full and regulate your blood sugar.

Yes, you also need to eat fat to burn fat! Olive oil, nuts, nut butters, and avocados are excellent sources of healthy fat. But, watch the portions. These friendly foods add up fast!

To reduce your body fat, start eating clean: whole, unprocessed foods found around the perimeter of the grocery store. Convenience foods, fast food, and restaurant meals also pack a heavy dose of calories and sodium. Plan and prep meals in advance for week day lunches, and keep a food journal to become more aware of portion distortion.

How Many Calories Do I Need?
The number of calories you need each day is a combination of your basal metabolic rate (BMR) and your daily activity (exercise plus just moving around). A formula called the Harris Benefit Equation is an accurate way to find these numbers.

Click here to use an interactive tool to determine your basal metabolic rate.

Or, grab a calculator to find your basal metabolic rate using the formula below.

1. First, determine your Basal Metabolic Rate.
Women: BMR = 655 + (4.35 x weight in lbs) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.7 x age in years)
Men: BMR = 66 + (6.23 X weight in lbs) + (12.7 x height in inches) – 6.8 X age in years)

Example for a 5’4” 140-lb woman:     
655 + (4.35 x 140) + (4.7 x 64) – (4.7 x 34)
            655 + 609 + 301 – 150 = 1,415 calories burned AT REST

2. Now, multiply by your activity level.
·       Sedentary: multiply BMR x 1.2
·       Light activity (1-3 days per week): BMR x 1.375
·       Moderately active (3-5 days per week): BMR x 1.55
·       Very active (hard activity 6-7 day per week): BMR x 1.725
·       Extra active (training for a sport full time): BMR x 1.9

Example for a 5’4” 140-lb woman who runs 5x/week and does strength training:
1,415 calories burned AT REST x 1.725 = 2,440 calories burned

How can I lose weight?
A 3,500 calorie deficit is needed to lose one pound. This can be done either through calorie reduction or activity increase. A combination of the two will be the easiest to manage.

To lose 1 lb each week, you need an average deficit of 500 calories per day (7 days x 500 calories = 3500/1 lb). Using the calculator above, a reduction to1,940 per day is needed assuming a burn of 2,440 every single day through daily activities and exercise.  This needs to be adjusted depending on intensity levels and rest days. 

To find your calorie goal for a 1-lb per week weight loss, use the calculator above to find your daily average burn and subtract 500.  To lose 2 lbs, subtract 1000.  Be aware that eating less than 1,500 calories per day is not recommended for energy, health, and exercise sustainability.

How can I make sure I don’t gain it back?
Permanent weight loss is the result of permanent lifestyle changes!  Develop and sustain habits that will help you maintain your weight loss by adopting healthier eating patterns and getting regular, vigorous exercise.  Diets are temporary – for permanent change, change permanently!

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