Although you may not enjoy stepping on the scale or pulling out the measuring tape, tracking your body's measurements keeps you informed about your health. Unintentional weight or body measurement changes might even be a sign of problems such as infection, cancer, diabetes or depression. If you're following a weight loss program, there may be times when you don't lose weight, but do lose inches as you lose fat and gain muscle. In these cases, tracking your measurements can encourage you even on weeks when you don't lose an ounce. For accuracy, take your weight and measurements correctly and consistently.
Place your bathroom scale on a floor with an even and level surface. Remove your clothes and step on the scale. Record the number on the scale in your notebook, then step off.
Stand straight with your abdomen relaxed; you should still be undressed. Take the measuring tape and hold one end at your navel. Keeping hold of the end at your navel, wrap the measuring tape around your waist. Exhale and check once again that you aren't holding in your stomach before reading the measuring tape. Record the number as your waist measurement.
Stand straight with your feet together -- you should still be undressed. Look in the mirror to assess where your hips are fullest; this point is generally about midway down the hip area, but not on everyone. Wrap the measuring tape around your hips where you have determined they are the fullest. Read the measuring tape and record the number as your hip measurement.
Stand straight. Your lower body may be dressed, but you should not be wearing a top or bra. Wrap the measuring tape around your bust line where your breasts are fullest; this is generally across the nipple area for both men and women, but may not be on everyone. Read the measuring tape and record the number as your chest measurement.
Measure and weigh yourself once a week. Aim to take your measurements at the same time and on the same day each week for the most accurate tracking. If you see any drastic or unexpected changes in your readings over time, see your doctor.
- The best time of day to weigh and measure yourself is first thing in the morning after you have urinated. If this isn't possible, take your measurements at the same time of day on the same day of the week.
- When measuring yourself with the measuring tape, the tape should fit snugly against the surface of your skin. It should not press into the skin at any point.
- When wrapped around you, the measuring tape should be parallel with the floor, not askew.
- When measuring your chest, you'll get the best results if both arms are at your side. You may need a friend to help you. If this isn't possible, aim to take the measurement with your arms in the same position every time for the most accurate results.
- Other areas of the body, such as upper arm or thigh, can also be tracked. When doing the measurements, measure at the same point each time.