As of today, I weigh 126 pounds and have 28% Body Fat. As you can seeĀ  from the chart below, I am in the “Average” range. People with small frames (who are thin) but have high percentages of body fat are often referred to as “Skinny Fat.” You can’t get so caught up in the numbers on the scale that you lose lean muscle instead of fat.

HERE is a great forum that explains how to calculate your weight loss goals based on lowering your body fat. KEEP IN MIND, you must FIRST calculate your body fat before you can calculate your weight loss using this formula. Check out this online BODY FAT CALCULATOR.

The chart below from the American Council on Exercise (ACE) is one of the most commonly used body fat charts. As you can see, women have a higher body fat percentage relative to men for a given level. Women have more fat because of physiological differences such as hormones, breasts, and sexual organs. In addition, women need a higher amount of body fat for ovulation.

Percent Body Fat Norms for Men and Women

Description Women Men
Essential Fat 10-13% 2-5%
Athletes 14-20% 6-13%
Fitness 21-24% 14-17%
Acceptable 25-31% 18-24%
Obesity >32% >25%
*Source: ACE Lifestyle & Weight Management Coach Manual