So, last night in the comments, RG said, "Renee, please just take your calipers out and tell us your body fat. It doesn't take more than 5 minutes. I'm betting it's up to 19%"
To which I wrote a fabulous response about how I'm happy with the way I look and the numbers just don't matter anymore, blah, blah, blah...
Faithful readers probably know exactly what happened next. I woke up this morning and went running for the calipers like a lab rat crossing an electric floor for a Froot Loop. :-D
For the five people who care, the average of three 3-site caliper tests was 18.2%, the Tanita scale (fully hydrated on "athlete" mode) says 20.5%, and the mOron hand held (fully hydrated, doesn't have an "athlete" mode) says 22.8%. Since my vague notion of a goal was 18-22%, I would say I'm right in there somewhere.
Interesting tidbit, I once had Leigh Peele and her amazing body fat analyzing eyeballs give me her best guess on my percentage of body fat in various photos that I had a caliper reading to go with. In every case, my self-inflicted caliper readings were about 1-3% lower than her expert guess, which was a relief because it means my readings are at least consistent and close, maybe a little optimistic but not like completely delusional.
So, RG, your 19% guess is probably right on. It's funny how my ideal floats. Lately it's sort of a girly-but-fit look, definitely smaller, lighter, and less ripped in terms of veins, striations and muscle size. Speaking of which, did you guys see the post/comments on Leigh's blog about Bulky Muscles and Female Training? Those survey results blew my mind. Jessica Biel and Hillary Swank are not what I would consider big scary muscle chicks! And I had to watch the video clip twice to figure out which group of women were the "amazons." They all looked the same to me.
I also went back and read a good rant by Josh Hillis about How Thin Is Too Thin. I seem to remember that the first time I read it two years ago, it made me madder than hell. Now, I can't recall exactly why I got so bent. These days, I tend to agree with his 18-23% range for everyday happiness. I also agree that most women can't see it. If they're 18%, they want to be 17%, and if they're 17%, they want to be 15%, and if they're 15%, they still don't like their thighs.