Home » How to take body measurements for weight loss

How to take body measurements for weight loss

Learn how to take body measurements for weight loss with dietitian noah

Are you looking for a way to track your progress toward weight loss? Taking body measurements is one of the most effective ways to measure how well you are doing. Knowing when to take measurements and how to take them can help you stay on track with your goals. 

This blog post will cover what body measurements should be taken to track weight loss progress, such as weight, body fat percentage, progress pictures, blood/lab values, and physical measurements. 

We will also discuss the best time to take these measurements and provide tips on how they should be done correctly. 

Finally, we will discuss tracking our progress through these measurements to meet our desired goal quickly and effectively.

While this article was written by Noah Quezada RDN, a registered dietitian nutritionist, it is for information purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice. Before making any diet alterations, please consult an experienced healthcare provider about the best options!

What to measure and why 

What to measure and why. Tracking weight loss using body measurements should include, body weight, body fat percentage, body measurements, progress pictures and lab values.

Weight is only one metric to measure for weight loss. Therefore, it does not tell the whole story of your current situation. So it is essential to include other measurements as well. 

These measurements can include body fat percentage (BF%), the circumference of different areas, progress pictures, and blood/lab values.

Body Weight 

Your body weight represents the total mass of your body. It includes muscle, bones, fat, and other tissues making up the human body and water weight. 

While it is an important metric, there tends to be a lot of variability in the scale regarding weight. This is due to water retention, food intake, and waste output, which fluctuate daily. (1)

Body Fat Percentage

Body fat percentage is an important metric to measure as it will give you an accurate view of your body composition. It will tell you what percentage of your weight is composed of fat, muscle, and bone mass. (2)

When people refer to weight loss, they are generally referring to body fat loss. Therefore when tracking your weight loss, having an idea of the kind of weight you are losing is essential. 

Please note that this post contains affiliate links (clearly marked*). As an Amazon affiliate, if you click on one of the links, I may receive a commission, at no cost to you.

I use the Withings Body Cardio Scale*. For most people, the Renpho Smart Scale* is an affordable option. Both of which measure weight and body composition.   

Nokia Withings Wifi Smart Scale 
with Body Composition & Heart Rate is a great scale for body measurements and weight loss

Circumference Measurements

In addition to body weight and BF%, using circumferences measurements can help track progress. Measuring the circumference of your waist, hips, and other areas such as biceps & triceps can help you track body composition changes over time. 

These measurements are essential because they give you independent feedback on your progress. 

Take this as an example: When you weigh yourself after a week, the results may show no visible change. Though when measuring your body circumference and finding that it has decreased, you can be confident that progress is being made!

Progress pictures

Progress pictures can be an invaluable tool when tracking your weight loss progress. Because weight loss is a prolonged process, it can be tough to notice changes in yourself. 

Taking photos every week or two will help you identify and track changes that are not visible to the naked eye. 

When taking progress pictures, it is vital to ensure that the lighting, background, and clothing are consistent each time. This will ensure that any differences you see in the photos are related to physical changes. 

Blood/lab values 

Lastly, I like my clients to take blood and lab samples every six months to once per year. You can look at this as a peak under the hood. (3)

Ensuring that your lab values are improving, or at least not getting worse, is a great way to confirm that your diet and lifestyle changes are positively affecting your body. 

This data can also help you identify deficiencies or imbalances that may prevent you from reaching your goals. 

Ultimately, tracking your weight loss progress should include more than just a weekly weigh-in. Try and include body measurements, progress pictures, and lab values to view your progress comprehensively. 

When to take measurements 

While specific measurements, such as weight, are best taken daily for accurate results; others may only need to be measured once a month.

Now, let’s delve into the optimal times to track each measurement.

Morning

To get the most reliable results for your weight, body measurements, and fat percentages – not to mention progress pictures – you should take them in the morning. Doing so will provide consistent numbers every time!

Daily

The only measurement that you will see a change in from day to day is your weight. If you’re looking for an accurate picture of your progress, weigh yourself before eating or drinking anything in the morning.

I propose calculating the weekly average to ensure a more accurate weight estimate. All you have to do is add up all your weigh-ins and divide that sum by seven!

Weekly

Weekly progress pictures are a great way to monitor changes from week to week. Again another data point that will better understand your progress and changes. 

Bi-weekly 

Taking body measurements such as chest, waist, and hips bi-weekly will help you track changes in your body composition. If you have access to a tape measure, I suggest taking these measurements every two weeks. 

Monthly 

Tracking your body fat is easy with scales with a bioelectric impedance analysis. However, the reliability of these tests can be hit or miss due to hydration status. A monthly review of your body fat % can give you an idea of where you stand regarding body composition. 

How to take body measurements 

To take body measurements, use a tape measure and wrap it around the specific area. Make sure you’re not pulling too tight; keep the tape snug. 

Renpho offers a digital tape measure* that automatically tracks and records your measurements. 

Neck 

Wrap the tape measure around your neck around the middle portion. Again make sure you pull the measuring tape tight but not too tight. 

Neck Measurements For Weight loss

Bust/chest: 

Wrap the tape measure across the fullest part of your chest and around your back. Make sure the measuring tape is under your arms, and use your nipples as a landmark. 

Chest Measurements for weight loss

Waist: 

Taken above your hip bones and below your rib cage. Place the measuring tape 1-2 inches above your belly button as a landmark. 

Ensure the tape is pulled tight when measuring your waist without digging into your skin. Take a deep breath and relax before taking the measurement.

Waist Measurements for weight loss

Hips:

Wrap the tape measure around the widest part of your hips and buttocks. As a landmark, your measuring tape should be located right around your pubic area. 

Hip Measurements for weight loss

Arm: 

To measure your arms, first, locate the middle of your upper arm. This is the widest part of your biceps and triceps. Wrap the measuring tape around the area and pull tight enough to pull the 

Thigh measurements for weight loss

Thighs: 

Wrap the tape measure around the fullest part of each thigh – To keep your measurements consistent, I suggest you measure the middle of your thigh each time. 

Arm measurements for weight loss

Tracking your weight loss progress 

Let’s now discuss the best way to set off on this weight loss journey, how to measure progress along the way, and review your success at its conclusion.

Start

At the beginning of your weight loss journey, it is important to take your initial measurements, which include your first weigh-in, body fat percentage, body measurements, and progress pictures. 

Also, during this time, I suggest you talk to your medical provider to ensure that you are healthy enough to embark on this journey. During this appointment, ask your doctor for a full panel blood test. 

Throughout

As you move through your journey, it is essential to note and document changes in measurements. I recommend planning regular weigh-ins, progress pictures, and body fat % readings so that the development can be tracked over time.

This allows you to set up achievable goals for yourself and track the progress you have made. A great tip is to get a notebook or journal so that there is a visual representation of your journey. – Check out the weight loss journal I made specifically for this purpose. 

End

At the end of your journey, you’ll want to make sure that you document the final weight, body fat  %, and any other measurements you have taken along the way. 

Using these final measurements and comparing them to your initial ones can be a great way to see how far you have come and celebrate your success! 

Final Thoughts

Tracking your progress is a great way to stay motivated regarding weight loss. By setting measurable goals and tracking your results over time, you’ll know how much progress you have made and be motivated to keep going! 

I hope this guide has helped give you some insight into how to track your progress while on your weight loss journey. Good luck, and keep up the hard work! 

If you have any questions or need help along your journey, feel free to reach out to me – I am always here to support you in achieving your goals!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top
Index