A healthy body fat percentage has more to do with looking the way you want to look than you may have given it credit. If, in your weight loss attempts, you always find yourself focusing on the scales, you are missing the most important ingredient to achieving the look you want – learn why.

First, a short explanation of what makes body fat percentage such an important factor in your weight loss efforts: though many people are not aware, what helps you succeed in losing weight and keeping it off is losing fat and increasing lean muscle mass.

When someone is on a fad or extreme kind of diet and lose weight fast, they are most often losing lean muscle mass along with the fat. This is why, when they stop the diet, they gain everything back very quickly, sometimes more than they lost.

When you keep track of your body fat percentage, the results will tell you whether you are losing lean muscle mass as well as fat. You can then react to these results by changing the way you are reaching your target weight loss goals.

So what is a healthy Body Fat Percentage for you?

This changes as whether you are a man or a woman. Percentages too high can cause the risk of heart disease and other health problems. When beginning a weight loss program most people who are out of shape find themselves in the range of 30%-40%. This requires improvement.

An acceptable body fat percentage for woman is around 21%-25% and for men 15-19%. For many people when they begin their weight loss plans, that means they have a lot of work to do. Reducing body fat percentage can be more difficult than losing pounds.

Fad diets won’t help you here. Stick to a healthy well balanced, long term diet, increase your workouts and, most importantly, remain consistent. Unlike losing pounds, a healthy body fat percentage won’t be attained after a few short weeks of extreme dieting.