Quick question about measuring body fat using calipers

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Hi all.

I've lost the weight and kept it off for 4+ years, and I'm happy with that. I work out 6-7 days a week (some days more than others, but I try to do something everyday). Since I've added body pump and cross training to my more cardio-based workouts, I've noticed more definition (which also makes me quite happy!).

But I'm unsure how to measure my body fat. I'm 52, have had 3 kids, breastfed all 3 for a total of 6 years (read, saggy boobs), and have been left with some loose skin on my stomach. That's really the only place, though. My arms and legs are well-defined, and my back is fine. Of course, the calipers say to measure body fat between my navel and pelvic bone (yes, the suprailliac). But that's where all the loose skin is!

I'm afraid I'm getting an unfairly low reading, since loose skin is, well, loose. I have some great muscles under the loose skin (thanks to Pilates!), but I'd like to know if I'm getting a somewhat accurate measure...

Thanks for any advice.

Replies

  • capaul42
    capaul42 Posts: 1,390 Member
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    Typically you measure several different points for more accuracy. I measure 3. Other 2 sites are back of upper arm and front of thigh. There are sites you can plug all your site measurements in and it will give you a BF% reading based on the averages
  • psuLemon
    psuLemon Posts: 38,413 MFP Moderator
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    This is a good site that i use. I tend to gravitate towards the 7 point Jackson/Pollack or the Perillo method. More sites tend to give a better understanding of total body fat levels.

    http://www.linear-software.com/online.html
  • debi_f
    debi_f Posts: 330 Member
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    Thank you so much! I'll check out the other sites, too.
  • debi_f
    debi_f Posts: 330 Member
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    Well...

    The number actually dropped! Ahhh! I think I must be doing something wrong. The suprailliac only measurement says 17.9, but using the multiple spot measurements dropped to 11.5.

    Maybe I should find a professional to help.
  • sgt1372
    sgt1372 Posts: 3,994 Member
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    Get a DXA scan or get weighed hydrostatically.
  • Azdak
    Azdak Posts: 8,281 Member
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    If you are female, you cannot measure yourself accurately with calipers. It's anatomically impossible since you need a triceps skinfold. Since you are measuring subcutaneous fat, loose skin is not that significant. But, again, you need a triceps skinfold so you would need to have someone do it for you.
  • debi_f
    debi_f Posts: 330 Member
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    Azdak wrote: »
    If you are female, you cannot measure yourself accurately with calipers. It's anatomically impossible since you need a triceps skinfold. Since you are measuring subcutaneous fat, loose skin is not that significant. But, again, you need a triceps skinfold so you would need to have someone do it for you.

    I had my husband take that measurement.
  • debi_f
    debi_f Posts: 330 Member
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    sgt1372 wrote: »
    Get a DXA scan or get weighed hydrostatically.

    I'm not sure how to go about doing that here (I live in the Netherlands), and I'm really just wondering if I'm getting a somewhat accurate reading.
  • psuLemon
    psuLemon Posts: 38,413 MFP Moderator
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    debi_f wrote: »
    sgt1372 wrote: »
    Get a DXA scan or get weighed hydrostatically.

    I'm not sure how to go about doing that here (I live in the Netherlands), and I'm really just wondering if I'm getting a somewhat accurate reading.

    Many universities, especially those with a nutrition/science program, have scans and in many cases offer scans at low cost to help pay for the machine and give students experience.