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Nutrition & Dieting/BMI Vs Body Fat Percentage

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Question
Hi! :) I am wondering, what is the best mthod to know when you need to lose weight? I hear body mass index isn't the best way but not sure of body fat percentage? I'm 4'11, 114 pounds, body fat percentage is 24% I think last time I checked. Is it better to go with body fat percentage than checking your body mass index?

Answer
Hi Kelly -
BMI is what the insurance industry uses but as it was hi-jacked by the pharmaceutical company - it's not at all reliable, nor is it accurate if you have a lot of muscle.  % body fat is a more accurate measure - but the only % body fat measure that is truly accurate is when it's calculated hydrostatically which is terribly expensive and not very easy to find.  You don't say how old you are, whether you are a female or male - so I'm going to send you a link to a few articles that I think might help you:

Your optimal body
Fit or Fat

And if you are a woman - please remember that at times like puberty, pregnancy and menopause you need a vastly higher percentage body fat than usual.  

Nutrition & Dieting

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Cari Corbet-Owen

Expertise

I'd love to answer your questions about how to lose weight naturally --without diets, diet products and diet programs. I love to answer your questions about: intuitive eating, turning exercise into fun (instead of a chore) and how to improve your body image even before you reach some or other magical figure on a scale. Please note, that as I'm a psychologist and not a dietician, I don't answer any questions related to nutrition.

Experience

I'm a Clinical Psychologist who has researched diets and dieting and what works and what doesn't (in medical and psychological journals) for almost 2 decades. I'm the author of two books: The Mind over Fatter Program and The Joy-Filled Body: Eat! Play! Love and Live! I have written numerous articles spoken at psychological conferences, lead workshops internationally and been on TV and radio. I was a childhood dieter at 11, anorexic by 15, a frantic yo-yo dieter for 20 years before discovering that STOPPING dieting was the answer. My URL: www.ditch-diets-live-light.com

Organizations
Have been the consulting psychologist to the South African Nutrition Experts Panel, and am on the experts panel for Shape Magazine, South African Journal of Natural Medicine and the South African Journal of Psychology.

Publications
Shape, Readers Digest, Men's Health, Glamor, South African Journal of Natural Medicine, O magazine and many many others.

Education/Credentials
Clinical Psychologist

Awards and Honors
Been nominated for 2006 and 2007 as South African business women of the year in the Health category for starting The Mind over Fatter movement. Had an excerpt of my 2nd book selected by O Magazine (South Africa) which appeared in their December 2007 edition.

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