a picture of a woman's feet standing on a body fat percentage scaleBelieve it or not, your home scale may be lying to you. It’s essential to weight loss to weigh yourself regularly, but for those who also count on the body fat percentage count on a home scale, the whole story may not come from the home scale alone.

Take the Body Fat Scale’s Accuracy as a Guideline Only

Body fat percentage scales use bioelectrical impedance to create an educated guess about the amount of body fat you have. Fat is unable to conduct electricity as well as muscle does because of its lower water content, so the electrical signal sent through your body meets with resistance when it hits fat. At home scales measure this resistance and calculate body fat percentage based on your height, weight, age, and gender.

For the most part, foot scales tend to underestimate rather than overestimate body fat (according to Obesity Facts, 2008). In people with athletic physiques, the scales tend to overestimate body fat. Even if estimates aren’t entirely accurate, however, you can still use the data to help inform your diet and exercise decisions.

Keeping regular track of changes in your body fat will still allow you to use your initial measurement as a benchmark and compare your improvement against it. Though the information will be relative to your initial measurement, you’ll still be able to track whether you’re making significant progress or not.

But it’s still best to use the data only as a guideline. Because inaccuracies may become more pronounced as you approach new fitness levels, you’ll need to continually set new benchmarks. You must also not allow your measurements to affect your motivation; if you feel like you’re not making progress on your body fat percentage, it may be time to go get an accurate reading using more traditional methods.

What Are My Other Options?

There are a couple of ways you can get more accurate results than those provided by a home body fat percentage scale.

  • Measuring Your BMI – Supplement your body fat percentage measurement with a BMI measurement as well. You can use the two sets of data to determine just how close you are to a healthy weight and body fat volume.
  • Get a Professional Measurement – Universities, gyms, hospitals, and sports medicine clinics all provide body fat percentage measurement services using various tools for affordable prices.

It’s certainly worth your time and money to get a professional reading on your body fat percentage if you’re feeling doubtful of your progress. There will still be variations in results depending on the skill level of the tester, but you’re sure to get more accurate results by letting someone else take your body fat percentage measurement for you.

Check out some of Diet Doc’s success stories to see how our customers have battled body fat percentage successfully!