I used to test people’s body composition (body fat test) frequently. I quit doing this a long time ago, unless it is requested. I felt it pushed people in the direction of unhealthy eating behaviors, like deprivation for example. Depriving yourself of treats or foods you enjoy is the wrong way to approach weight loss. After a period of deprivation, you will binge and just make lifestyle change more difficult. Anyway, if someone knew a body fat test was approaching they would eat super healthy, thinking it would impact the test. Wrong.
If I were ever to surprise someone with a body composition test, they immediately would say “Oh, last night I met friends and had a glass of wine!” A body composition test is more of a measurement of what you have eaten the past weeks or even months. The past weeks and months is your lifestyle and this determines if you are fat….not what you ate last night.
I recommend people trying to lose weight to keep a food journal so that they can look at a full week in one glimpse. Then take a highlighter and mark all the foods that are unhealthy or questionable. If you see lots of highlighted items, work on knocking this number down. Unfortunately, it is extremely rare for me to find someone who has an accurate understanding of what is healthy or questionable. Most people have misconceptions, which explains the all to common “I am eating healthy and not losing weight”.
So back to body fat testing. It can be a great tool, especially if you are strength training, as it will show the changes to your body fat levels, as well as lean muscle mass. If you struggle with eating behaviors, or if this form of testing makes you self-conscious, I would stay away from it. Instead, use how your clothes fit and how you feel. After all, the main goal is health and feeling great right?