The most common means to track our progress when losing weight or maintaining it is to jump on the scales but at times the scales doesn’t move which can be very depressing if that’s all you are focusing on. But weight loss is more than just what the scales say (more on this topic in another post). Looking at other body measures can be a good way to assess your progress especially if you are exercising.
The waist circumference measurement is a good one to do regardless. Measuring your waist circumference is a simple check to tell how much body fat you have and where it is placed around your body. It is an indicator of the level of internal fat deposits, which coat the heart, kidneys, liver and pancreas. Larger waist circumferences increase the risk of chronic diseases. Aim for a waist circumference of less than 94cm for men and less than 80cm for women.
Where to do measurements?
Here are some places you can measure and where to measure:
1. Upper Arm: measured from the top of the shoulder to the bottom of the elbow and find the halfway point, this is where your measure around the arm.
2. Bust: Place the measuring tape across the fullest part of the bust and measure around the whole body not including the arms.
3. Abdomen: measured at the level of your belly button. Men are measured here for the waist circumference.
4. Waist: measured at the narrowest point above your belly button, it should be between the bottom of your ribs and the top of your hip bone.
5. Hips: Place the measuring tape across the widest part of your hips/buttocks and measure all the way around while keeping the tape parallel to the floor.
6. Thigh: measured at the fullest part of your thigh. (record how many centremetres this is from the top of your knee bone so you measure at the same spot each time)
• Record where you’ve measured so that you will measure at the same place each time e.g. the centremetres to the halfway point between your elbow and shoulder
• Keep the tape measure straight and not twisted
• Allows measure in the same manner e.g. if you measure on the bare skin the first time, do the same at other times.
• Avoid sucking your stomach in or pulling too tight on the tape measure as this can give false readings
• Certain things can effect measurements e.g. if your are retaining fluid, that time of the month or if you’re not having regular bowel movements so take these into consideration when reviewing progress.