When you're trying to lose weight and get healthy, there are a ton of ways you can measure your progress - some more helpful than others. And believe it or not, the scale isn't one of the most helpful, and neither is your BMI. One of the best and most accurate ways to keep track of your progress is to measure yourself. That's right, break out the tape measure and start taking notes. Wondering where to start? Here's what to measure when losing weight:
- Upper Arm. Measure the half-way point between your elbow and your shoulder - the "meatiest" part of your arm.
- Chest. Men are more likely to want to see change in this area, but women too will notice a decrease in chest size as they lose weight. Measure around the fullest part of your chest, and remember to keep the tape measure parallel to the floor.
- Waist. Not only should you take measurements at your abdomen, but you should also measure your natural waist. Your natural waist is much higher and should be slimmest part of your torso, directly beneath your rib cage.
- Abdomen. Many people at all stages of life carry weight in the abdomen area. Measure around your body with the tape over your belly button to get the most accurate measurement.
- Hips. Women tend to carry more weight in their hips than men, but both can measure this area to track success. Make sure you're measuring around the widest part of your buttock and hip area.
- Thighs. Even if you don't generally carry a lot of weight in your thighs, you should be able to see a difference in your thigh measurements as you get closer to your weight loss goals. When measuring your thighs, look for the thickest part of your upper leg - it should be about halfway between your crotch and your knee.
- Calves. Similar to your upper arm, measure around the meatiest part of your calf muscle. As you lose weight and tone up you'll see a significant difference here.
Body Fat Percentage
As you work out and lose weight, you'll be getting stronger and building muscle, too. Your muscles will make you look more fit and trim, but they can actually make you weigh more on the scales or affect your BMI.
Regardless of what the scale says, gaining muscle is a good thing. So instead of hopping on the scale, you can tell how much fat you're losing and how much muscle you're building by measuring your body fat percentage. A sports club or gym should have the necessary tools you need to measure this. You can ask a personal trainer to help you get the most accurate measurement.
A great way to track progress is to start a chart with all your current measurements and regularly update it as you continue to eat healthily and exercise. You'll be able to tell how well your weight loss program is working, and when you need to step it up or break through a plateau. But most important, having a record of how your hard work is paying off is a great motivator to get back out there and keep going strong!