Body Composition Scale and Setting a Goal Weight

Hello everyone! After 10+ years of refusing to own or look at a scale out of fear of the numbers, I bought one of those scales with electrodes that supposedly estimate your body composition. Now, I am aware that these scales may be VERY inaccurate when it comes to those estimations, but I am trying to set a realistic goal.

So, according to online "ideal weight" calculators, a 30 year old female with a height of 5' 6" would be around 130 lbs. However, my scale estimates my "non-fat weight" as 144 lbs. If this estimation is accurate, reaching my ideal weight would mean losing muscle, bone mass, organs, etc.

I don't want to lose muscle mass and I want my goal to be realistic and healthy. How much stock should I put into both the calculators for ideal weight and the scale's readings? Any other tips for setting a realistic goal?

Current weight: 253 lbs
Starting weight: 263 lbs
Height: 5' 6'
Age: 30
Female

Replies

  • jemhh
    jemhh Posts: 14,264 Member
    Those scales have such a wide variance that they are useless. 5%+ in either direction. They are not even useful for watching changes over time.

    Realistically, you need to lose 100 lbs to be at a healthy weight. Aim for that or a shorter term goal and don't worry about what you end up doing after that.
  • sijomial
    sijomial Posts: 19,811 Member
    Some of those scales can be good enough to be reasonable - some are completely hopeless.
    Unfortunately you aren't going to know where on that range your ones lie so I wouldn't use suspect data to base decisions on.

    Agree with jemhh that it's too early to set a final target. Set an interim one and reassess when you are closer.

    There's not one single ideal weight for a certain height, it's a pretty wide range.
  • gogetemrogue
    gogetemrogue Posts: 80 Member
    jemhh wrote: »
    Realistically, you need to lose 100 lbs to be at a healthy weight. Aim for that or a shorter term goal and don't worry about what you end up doing after that.

    The goal weight I currently have in MFP is 150 lbs, so that would be about 100 lbs lost.

    Even knowing that the body comp scale is feeding me bull, 130 lbs seems very low for my body type. I wasn't even done going through puberty the last time I weighed that little! Even when I was thin I was always very curvy but muscular, which at the time I resented because my friends were all smaller.
  • TavistockToad
    TavistockToad Posts: 35,720 Member
    Hello everyone! After 10+ years of refusing to own or look at a scale out of fear of the numbers, I bought one of those scales with electrodes that supposedly estimate your body composition. Now, I am aware that these scales may be VERY inaccurate when it comes to those estimations, but I am trying to set a realistic goal.

    So, according to online "ideal weight" calculators, a 30 year old female with a height of 5' 6" would be around 130 lbs. However, my scale estimates my "non-fat weight" as 144 lbs. If this estimation is accurate, reaching my ideal weight would mean losing muscle, bone mass, organs, etc.

    I don't want to lose muscle mass and I want my goal to be realistic and healthy. How much stock should I put into both the calculators for ideal weight and the scale's readings? Any other tips for setting a realistic goal?

    Current weight: 253 lbs
    Starting weight: 263 lbs
    Height: 5' 6'
    Age: 30
    Female

    i would start by aiming to get to the top of a healthy BMI, which is around 160lbs, and then go from there.
  • Azdak
    Azdak Posts: 8,281 Member
    Agree with the others. At this point in your journey, even thinking about a “goal weight” is premature. Your body is going to reshape itself if you lose that weight, in ways that you cannot predict. It’s not even about the scale—even if you did DEXA or hydrostatic weighing, the results would have very little value.

    If you follow an appropriate program—appropriate deficit, combo of aerobic and strength training, hitting your protein macros—you really don’t have to worry about muscle mass either. Focus on doing what you can do now, put your energy into being consistent, and the rest will take care of itself. Once you get to 170-180, you can start thinking about a “goal weight”.
  • gogetemrogue
    gogetemrogue Posts: 80 Member
    thecharon wrote: »
    A food scale is a much more valuable investment. Take that fancy weight scale back, get a cheaper one, and get a food scale.

    The scale wasn't very expensive, and has an app I can upload my weight to for tracking trends. Is there a particular reason why I can't just ignore the features that are bunk? Does having useless electrodes make it less accurate at measuring mass?

    I have a food scale already, thanks.
  • tinkerbellang83
    tinkerbellang83 Posts: 9,043 Member
    thecharon wrote: »
    A food scale is a much more valuable investment. Take that fancy weight scale back, get a cheaper one, and get a food scale.

    The scale wasn't very expensive, and has an app I can upload my weight to for tracking trends. Is there a particular reason why I can't just ignore the features that are bunk? Does having useless electrodes make it less accurate at measuring mass?

    I have a food scale already, thanks.

    You can track your trend weight free on Libra or Happy Scale.
  • ladyhusker39
    ladyhusker39 Posts: 1,406 Member
    edited December 2017
    Wow! You went from completely avoiding a scale to jumping way in the deep end with all kinds of overwhelming data that's giving your hypothetical results wayyyyy down the road.

    Of course you're freaked out.
  • gogetemrogue
    gogetemrogue Posts: 80 Member
    Wow! You went from completely avoiding a scale to jumping way in the deep end with all kinds of overwhelming data that's giving your hypothetical results wayyyyy down the road.

    Of course you're freaked out.

    I'm not freaked out. I just want an answer for people when they ask me what my goal is and not sound like a total idiot or like someone who is fooling themselves. Probably going to get questions from family over the holidays, especially since I'm asking for fitness gear for Christmas. When I was just intermittent fasting for a few months before I bought my scale I got asked if I lost weight by my sister's mother and was like ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

    I'm not a jump in head first type of person. I'm making lifestyle changes slowly.
  • jemhh
    jemhh Posts: 14,264 Member
    jemhh wrote: »
    Realistically, you need to lose 100 lbs to be at a healthy weight. Aim for that or a shorter term goal and don't worry about what you end up doing after that.

    The goal weight I currently have in MFP is 150 lbs, so that would be about 100 lbs lost.

    Even knowing that the body comp scale is feeding me bull, 130 lbs seems very low for my body type. I wasn't even done going through puberty the last time I weighed that little! Even when I was thin I was always very curvy but muscular, which at the time I resented because my friends were all smaller.

    Forget 130. Nobody is saying that you must be 130.
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 29,508 Member
    jemhh wrote: »
    Realistically, you need to lose 100 lbs to be at a healthy weight. Aim for that or a shorter term goal and don't worry about what you end up doing after that.

    The goal weight I currently have in MFP is 150 lbs, so that would be about 100 lbs lost.

    Even knowing that the body comp scale is feeding me bull, 130 lbs seems very low for my body type. I wasn't even done going through puberty the last time I weighed that little! Even when I was thin I was always very curvy but muscular, which at the time I resented because my friends were all smaller.

    Body shape/type really matters. I completely agree with those saying not to fret about it, and just tell people you're aiming for a healthy weight. If your relatives totally need a number, give them the middle of the normal BMI range for 5'6", which would be around 135. They'll never know the difference. ;)

    For yourself? You sound like a level-headed person. You'll know the answer when you get close, based on how you feel/look. Trust yourself! :)
  • nowine4me
    nowine4me Posts: 3,985 Member
    Here’s the bottom line....when you lose 100#, part of that will be fat, part will be muscle. Make your diet (food intake/nutrition) your first priority, DO cardio for your heart and lift weights to maintain muscle. Worry about composition down the road.
  • Adc7225
    Adc7225 Posts: 1,319 Member
    From personal experience 1) I would not share my goal weight with anyone, I did with someone I thought would be super supported by and it didn't work out that way! 2) You may find yourself incredibly happy at a number you never imagined you could be happy with.

    I had a real heart to heart with my doctor and we came up with a goal weight for me of 170 - a 43 year old, 5'2" with thick hips and thighs :) I decided on 144 (cause my friend made me feel bad about 170 :'( ), at 146 I looked pretty bad and settled in the 155 range. This was with diet and exercise, so it would have been different with just diet alone but it will be different for you. Now at 49, things have changed so it will never be a clear cut numbers game. So shoot for health and happiness and being the best you that you can be!!!
  • bonitatica
    bonitatica Posts: 34 Member
    You’re inspiring girl! I’ve been where you’re at and it threw me for a loop. I had to fail many times but was finally able to lose almost 80lbs . I changed my eating habits. Monitored my portions (without counting calories)
  • anyWendy
    anyWendy Posts: 97 Member
    Agree with others that there is no need to share a specific goal weight with others. Also think it's very reasonable to say some version of "My goal is to get to a healthy weight, that I can maintain."

    You can define healthy by BMI, or by what feels healthy to you. Absolutely set mini goals along the way and celebrate those successes!
  • tomteboda
    tomteboda Posts: 2,171 Member
    When I started out, I couldn't really even wrap my head about how overweight I was. I knew I'd be healthier at 190 than at 270 and I'd been 190 as an adult. So I started there. But my goal was my business, I didn't share it with anyone I knew.

    I decided I could drop to 185, then 175,165, and now I'm maintaining at a previously unimaginable 155. I didn't need a body scale to determine that I had more weight I could safely lose. It was obvious in the mirror as I got thinner.
  • ercarroll311
    ercarroll311 Posts: 295 Member
    You’ll absolutely lose muscle, that’s part of weight loss. You can’t just choose to lose fat only (I wish!). In addition to muscle, you’ll have less blood volume, water weight, fat, etc. The scale is probably inaccurate, but even if it were accurate, you’d have to consider those things.

    I agree with pretty much everyone that it’s a bit premature to really know what your goal weight is, but it’s not too early to set a first goal. I liked to look at each 10 I lost as an achievement, but my first goal was 130 (I’m 3 inches shorter than you), and then 125, 120, and 115. I got to 115 and decided it was a bit smaller than I wanted to be, so I added muscle through weight lifting.

    Basically, you can set a realistic goal you know you want to achieve (maybe lose 100 lbs), then reevaluate from there. I had no idea what my body would really be like at these weights I hadn’t seen since junior high, so it would’ve been hard to predict where to land and what it would look/feel like.

    And forget feeling like you need to have a set goal to tell people at Christmas. They’ll always have comments about that goal, or at least many will, and their opinions aren’t what matter. If your goal is to reach a healthy weight at a reasonable pace, that should be enough for anyone.

    Good luck!